Wroclaw

Iglica

The iconic steel spire was erected on the Centennial Hall exhibition grounds in 1948 as part of the propagandic ‘Recovered Territories Exhibition.’ Meant to symbolise the soaring achievements of the country’s newly acquired western territories since they were ‘returned’ to Communist Poland, like many of the Party’s ideas, this one quickly went wrong. Originally 106 metres, Iglica’s peak was adorned with a spinning contraption of mirrors which would create a dazzling ‘umbrella of light’ at night. The apparatus was ominously struck by lightning only hours after completion with much of it crashing to the ground in dazzling catastrophe; the remaining dangling bits posed quite a hazard to the expected thousands who would attend the exhibition. To the rescue came two college students who were part of a climbing club and volunteered to dismantle the top of the structure for free after the military proved unable to sort the situation due to the inclement weather. Scaling the Iglica took 24 hours and 15 minutes, dismantling it another six, but the boys succeeded in becoming heroes of the enormous media spectacle. In 1964, the spire was reduced by 10 metres for safety reasons. During Martial Law, another daredevil climbed the tower and attached a Solidarity flag to its zenith. In 2016 it was taken down temporarily for renovations, and a routine measurement yielded a surprise - over 5 metres of the spire had inexplicably gone missing (or the communist team mismeasured the amount they were cutting in '64). Today the (officially 90.3m tall) ugly ribbed structure continues to stand outside Centennial Hall and is probably one of the tallest pieces of useless bolted metal in the world.

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