Warsaw

Palace of Culture & Science

  Pl. Defilad 1 ,   City Centre          (+48) 22 656 76 00     31 Aug 2022
For all the aggressive westernisation that has overcome Warsaw, the four decades of communism have yet to be completely erased from the face of Warsaw. You couldn’t miss this hulking giant of a landmark if you tried.

Originally commissioned by Stalin as a ‘gift from the Soviet people’ the 237 metre high structure actually takes its inspiration from the capitalist world, namely the Empire State Building, but, believe it or not, was specifically designed to include influences from all of Poland’s architectural styles. Stalin had sent a secret delegation to New York to learn both about the building and American construction methods, though the outbreak of WWII meant that it wasn’t until 1952 that his architects were able to commence putting their knowledge into practise. Lev Rudynev, the brains behind the equally monstrous Lomonosov University in Moscow, was put in charge of the design and set about making the building into one of the most notorious examples of Socialist Realist architecture in the world. Over 5,000 workers were ferried in from the Soviet states and housed in a purpose-built village in Jelonki, west Warsaw, where they were effectively cut off from the outside world. Working around the clock, it took them just three years to complete the Palace, which remained Poland's tallest building until 2021 (when it was eclipsed by nearby Varso Tower at 310m). In all 16 died during the construction, though despite the Olympian efforts of the labourers Stalin never lived to see his pet project completed.

Built using an estimated 40 million bricks and housing 3,288 rooms the Palace’s purpose was to serve as not just party headquarters but also ‘the people's castle’, with invitations to the annual New Year’s Eve Ball issued to the best workers in socialist Poland. Regardless of this the building became an object of hatred and the palace was seen as no more than a symbol of Russian hegemony. Viewed from a distance – apparently it can be spotted from 30km away – the palace appears a faceless monolith viewed closely intricate details appear. Under Stalin’s orders architects travelled around Poland’s key cultural sights, from Wawel to Zamość, observing Polish architectural traditions, hence the numerous crenellations, courtyards and motifs.

Once inside the ground floor becomes a maze of halls and corridors, with chambers named after Eastern icons – Yuri Gagarin, Marie Skłodowska-Curie (a communist sympathiser), etc. Brass chandeliers hang over clacking parquet flooring, secret lifts lie hidden around and allegorical socialist reliefs take inspiration from ancient mythology – it’s easy to imagine Bond snooping around planting listening devices.

Visiting the Palace of Culture & Science

The building boasts over 3,300 rooms most of which are conference facilities or offices. In addition, the building - particularly the massive ground floor - hosts several theatres, a cinema, numerous bars, restaurants and cafes, and a tourist information office, as well as the Museum of Technology and the Museum of Evolution. Visitors looking to explore the building beyond these public spaces can go on a guided tour of the interiors; tours are offered hourly in Polish between 11:00 and 15:00 (40/35zł), and in English at 16:00 (59zł); book tickets online in advance. Included with the guided tour is a trip to the open-air viewing terrace on the 30th floor (open 09:00-20:00), which in addition to the thrilling panoramic views of the centre of Warsaw, also hosts a cafe. You can skip the tour and go straight to the 30th-floor viewing terrace via an old-style lift complete with attendant; buy tickets (25/20zł) online or from the ground floor ticket office (entrance from ul. Marszałkowska).

Website

Social Links:

Amenities

Facilities for disabled

Metro

Centrum

Open

Open 10:00-19:00.
Viewing terrace open 09:00-20:00; terrace admission 25/20zł.

Events at this venue

Sunday Oct 9 12:00–19:00
Vege Festival

Associated Venues

Comments

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24.07.2016
Anna

Who is the idiot hypocrite that wrote this description? There is a lot of similar buildings in US which you are so proud of but just before this one was build in different political situation you have nothing constructive to say. It's just shows the author has 0 knowledge of the architecture and his description its pure effect of Western brainwash.
08.08.2014
Cathrine
Warsaw
I am from Canada and to me sure one of the best places that I saw i Warsaw . It is very interesting , magnificent , look a lot different from everything else and grand like a lot of American buildings.
23.05.2014
Kamil
Warsaw
Thomas - Palace Sightseeing is possible go to www.creatours.pl
14.03.2014
Thomas
Warsaw
what about palca sightseeing? Have you been there?!
29.12.2012
Jerry Meents

I have seen this pc of ugly Russian architecture.
07.04.2011
mackenzi

when's the best time to go?
13.11.2010
John Morgan

When the Palace of Culture was first opened, the people of Warsaw used to say you got the best view of Warsaw from the viewing gallery - because it was the only place in Warsaw from which you couldn't see it.
01.12.2007
gulle

Awesome
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