The Warsaw Palace of Culture and Science is the tallest building in Warsaw and also in Poland. That 230.7m high structure was the gift of the Soviet people to Poland. However, Polish citizens have a love-hate relationship with it. Some Warsaw residents argue that the building should be demolished. And if you know that the citizens associate this building with the painful communist history, you would agree with them. Some, on the other hand, think that the building is a vital part of the city.
History of the Palace of Culture and Science
The founder of the idea of having a tall building in Warsaw built was none other than Jozef Stalin. That was the reason why the building was originally called the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science. But in the context of the destalinization, Stalin’s name was removed.
The designer of the construction was Lev Rudnev – Soviet Russian architect, who also has the design of the Seven Sisters in Moscow to his name. The architecture is very similar to the Main Building of Moscow State University. Originally it had to be 120m high. And eventually, the construction that took place between 1952 and 1955 was allowed to stop at 230m.
About 4000 Polish construction workers and the same amount of Russians worked on the project. Guest workers were offered accommodation in the Warsaw district of Jelonki. A residential area was built there with wooden houses and even a canteen, a cinema and a swimming pool.
All while the Polish citizens had to build the cities and villages after the war and the children in Warsaw played in the ruins because we must remember that about 80% of Warsaw was destroyed. The residential area was given an optimistic name, “Friendship.”
On March 7, 1953, two days after the death of Joseph Stalin, the Communist Council of Ministers in Poland decided to name the building after this leader. At the same time, it was decided to place a monument in front of the building. And even a contest was announced, which unfortunately did not yield satisfactory results. In the end, the monument was never made.
Nowadays, the building’s design is still the same as in the early days. The Palace of Culture and Science is encircled by monuments of national heroes. However, the prime function of it was the promotion of culture and science, and it still is.
Since its inception, the Palace of Culture has been the tallest building in Poland, with a height of 237 meters. The building was the symbol of the Soviet rule of Poland and therefore, not loved by the Poles. There were many noises to demolish the building; however, the demolition would be costly, and consequently, it was never carried out.
Resistance to the building has declined, as several skyscrapers have been built around it, and the Palace is less of an urban silhouette. In 2007, the building received protected status as a monument. In the building, you will find four theaters, four museums, a cinema, a few bars and cafes and even a swimming pool (although not open to the public)!
In 2000, four dials were hung, with a diameter of 6.3 meters. This makes the building the second tallest clock tower in the world.
Warsaw’s Palace of Culture – loved and hated by its inhabitants
What is the most beautiful place in Warsaw? The 30th floor of the Palace of Culture and Science, because from there you can not see the Palace of Culture – it was a joke in the Polish People’s Republic. It shows the mixed feelings of the Polish population about the Culture Palace, which is nowadays used as a tourist office, Palace and museum. There have been plans to demolish it because it was too reminiscent of communism.
Today, many companies are located in the Palace of Culture and Science. It is also the place in Warsaw where the tourist office is located. There is a panoramic terrace on the thirtieth floor.
Here you have a magnificent view over Warsaw. On a clear day, you can see for miles and pay special attention to a large number of parks in Warsaw. These can all be seen from the Warsaw Palace of Culture!
What not to miss when visiting the Palace of Culture and Science
One of the best things to do in Warsaw is visiting the panoramic terrace on the roof of the Palace of Culture and Science. You can always start your day with a cup of coffee in the cafe on the 30th floor as well. The building houses some museums, including the Technical museum, which can be found in the south wing.
An exciting visit for those who love to see the right artifacts of a technology. One of the other museums in the building is the Dollhouse Museum, where you can admire the collection of 130 historical dolls and accessories.
When you are not that into museums, but love to see the architecture and interior, you can book special trips through local tour operators on the website of the Palace.
Another option is to relax and see a movie in one of the theaters inside the building. They have a wide range of movies playing there, including movies with English subtitles.
The building is located in the middle of the city, making it hard to miss. It is easily accessible by public transport. Bus, tram, and metro all stop nearby. If you get off at the stop pl. Defilad, then you are just a few minutes walks from the Palace of Culture and Science.
Opening hours Palace of Culture and Science
The Palace of Culture and Science is open every day from 09:00 to 18:00.
In the summer months from June to August, even until 20:00.
Entrance fees to the panoramic terrace from € 5.00