In addition to being one of the only cities in the region to have retained its medieval layout and character, Gliwice – 'the yellow rose of Silesia' as we like to call it – is also the greenest city in an area famous for being about as lovely as a lump of coal. The corsage on the wrist of this blue collar beauty is Chopin Park and the Municipal Palm House. The history of the Palm House dates back to 1880 when a private conservatory of greenhouses was first built. Gradually transformed to house exotic non-native flora, the Palm House was made public and had already become a popular and widely marketed tourist attraction by the 1930s. The complex featured a 120 cubic metre heated pool – the first in Silesia – and was filled with water lillies, a high water mark for exotica at the time. A zoo was also added, featuring cold-blooded reptiles like alligators and anacondas, as well as red-bottomed baboons. Becoming a popular leisure and meeting point for locals, the Palm House successfully combined the character of a regal winter garden with an educational venue. Today the Palmerie is housed in one of the city’s most dazzling pieces of modern architecture, with an area of 2000 square metres over four pavilions focussed on different climatic conditions. Totalling some 5600 plants – some specimens of which are well over 100 years old – visitors can see tropical and subtropical plants, usuable plants and succulents from all over the world, in addition to an aviary and slimy-thinged aquariums and terrariums. The price of admission is a bargain, and if you get too humid, the cafe is a great place to cool off with great views of Chopin Park. Exceptional flora, put in your palm. Hooray for biodiversity.