Unwanted gift from Stalin, Warsaw Palace of Culture turns 60

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tags: Stalin, Warsaw Palace of Culture



Thumbnail picture - "PKiN widziany z WFC" by Nnb - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.

Some Poles liken the skyscraper to an elephant in lace underpants. A famous poet dubbed it “the nightmare of a drunken baker.” And one joke goes that it provides the best view of Warsaw because you can’t see the building from inside.

Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science has been derided as an oppressive eyesore ever since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin built it as his personal gift to the city. Now —having survived persistent calls to tear it down — the building marks its 60th birthday on Wednesday as an enduring symbol of a city that has known waves of destruction.

Concerts, exhibitions and fireworks are to mark the anniversary of a building Warsaw residents have finally come to appreciate. Rising 42 floors, it remains Poland’s tallest building and it boasts over 350,000 visitors each year. A growing number of them are foreign tourists curious to explore the many corners of the massive Soviet-style edifice.




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