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Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw

Before my trip to Warsaw, I said to myself there’s one building I really want to see during my short stay there and it’s the famous Palace of Culture and Science.

The Palace was a gift from the Soviet Union to the Polish people constructed from 1952 to 1955 and was originally called the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science. The building is designed by Lev Rudnev and the Soviet style really shows. He also designed the Moscow State University and other Soviet buildings with similar architecture can be found all over Eastern Europe, for instance in Bucharest or Prague. I’m going to Prague next month so I’ll have to keep an eye open for that! Note that Stalin died in 1953 and because of the negative connotation Stalin’s name was ultimately removed. Many older people in Poland still don’t like the building because it reminds them of Soviet times. The tower is a whopping 237m high and that makes it Poland’s highest structure.

Nowadays multiple offices are housing inside. If you’d like to visit the interior of Poland’s most iconic building, there’s only one way to do so: a guided tour. I did the tour with the guys from CREATours. Very friendly people! We were in a small group of around 10 people and that turned out to be ideal. In my opinion guided tours are not boring at all, definitely not this one! It’s not the most beautiful building on the inside but it’s the story that made it interesting. We had a beautiful young Polish girl as a host who was very responsive to any questions we had. She really knew a lot of cool facts about the building. The great thing about this tour is our guide had an iPad with her, so she could show pictures of how the different rooms looked in the past. Great addition to the tour!

I’m not gonna spoil anything in case you’d like to visit, but what’s cool is the symmetry of the building, some halls are identical to others. Some rooms are abandoned while other rooms are still in use, for example by the city council.

I was only a tiny bit disappointed that we couldn’t access the olympic swimming pool and the congress hall that’s inside the building. The former is only accessible for athletes and the latter is currently undergoing a major renovation! So if you plan on going next year or so, it’ll probably be implemented in the tour. The Rolling Stones played a legendary concert there in 1967. Afterwards our group could access the viewing platform for stunning views of the city, the Vistula river and its surroundings. I didn’t realize this part of Poland is so flat! I actually had the same view from my hotel room but I didn’t mind at all, it was a great opportunity to take some pictures of my hotel from high above 🙂

I really liked the visit and would recommend it to anyone! Thanks again CREATours!

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