Monday, October 04, 2010

The very best of the best of Warsaw #3

#3
Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki)
I have to admit that this one really surprised me, as almost everyone always complains about the Palace as being an eyesore (part of the reason for the name of my blog). It was a "gift" from the wonderful and benevolent Josef Stalin. When I say gift, I mean it was paid for by Poles, built by Russians who were housed in luxury at the expense of the Poles and made from Polish material. But Stalin did allow them to build a structure, of which there are 7 identical ones of varying sizes in Moscow, to Russian plans and ideas. It only took three years to build and at this point in time it is 187th tallest building in the world!
It goes even better by being the second tallest clock tower in the world!
I love the Palace, it always lets me know where I am when I get lost. It can be seen from most anywhere in Warsaw and I really don't think it is as ugly as many suggest. Also, it hosts many events, has a cinema, a night club and an observation deck. A deck I am still yet to visit! Some joke (like they do with the Eiffel Tower) that is has the best view of Warsaw, because you can't see the Palace of Culture from there.

Around the base are some fun communist statues like this one.
I really just wish they would make the surrounding square nicer, remove all the car parks, shut down the roads around it and install some cafes, restaurants, link the central station and the metro line by a tunnel and just pretty it up a little. They have removed a horrid market that was standing when I arrived and it will be replaced by a new Museum (of modern art) which looks great, so it shows some promise and progress for an other wise dead heart.
Even with this moaning, I still love the Palace and it looks great at night too!

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