L-7, ul. Katowicka 10, Chorzów, www.stadionslaski.pl
Following the firestorm of destruction unleashed by WWII, post-war Poland resembled a giant brickyard as the nation set about rebuilding itself. 1950 saw the decision undertaken to build the Silesia Stadium (Stadion Śląski) in Chorzów as part of the Park of Culture & Recreation, and Julian Brzuchowski got the job of designing the social realist monstrosity. Construction began in 1951 with many keen patriots volunteering to work on the project for free. Despite this, it still took a government outlay of 1.5 million złoty – a staggering amount at the time – to complete it. The opening match was scheduled against East Germany on July 22nd, 1956 and designated ‘Rebirth of Poland Day’, a new communist holiday celebrating liberation from Nazi occupation. Festivities included a parade and an honourary flyover by three fighter planes, however the Germans naturally ruined the day with a 2-0 win.
With an official capacity of 87,000, crowds regularly exceeded that figure thanks to plenty of standing room and in 1963 a record 120,000 squeezed in to watch visiting FK Austria Wien take on Górnik Zabrze. In 1993 Stadion Śląski became the official home of the Polish national team, thanks to the sorry state of the national stadium in Warsaw. Although for safety reasons capacity was reduced to 47,246, this remained the largest stadium in Poland, hosting speedway championships and other events, including massive concerts by bands like U2, ACDC, Iron Maiden and The Rolling Stones.