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Jubilee show explores Warsaw's largest communist landmark

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 13.05.2015 17:05
An exhibition opened at Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science on Wednesday, marking sixty years since the 1955 completion of the skyscraper.
The Palace of Culture and Science. Photo: PAP/Marcin ObaraThe Palace of Culture and Science. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

Originally named in honour of Joseph Stalin, the building was a gift from the Soviet Union to Poland after a Moscow-backed communist regime was installed in Poland following World War II.

Designed by Soviet architect Lev Rudnev, the palace is similar in style to his main campus building for Moscow University, but the Warsaw edifice includes some decorative elements inspired by Polish Renaissance architecture. Work finished on 22 July 1955.

The anniversary show includes architectural models, furniture, audio devices, uniforms, key rings and all manner of vintage paraphernilia once used in the building.

Uniform once sported by a lift attendant. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

At 231 metres, the edifice is still one of the tallest buildings in the EU, although there were calls to have it pulled down after the fall of the communist regime in 1989.

Although the Congress Hall hosted numerous party meetings during the communist era, the hall also saw some more unlikely events, including concerts by rock groups Procol Harum and The Rolling Stones.

The 1967 back-to-back concerts by the Stones have been likened to “a UFO landing in the centre of the grey communist reality.” (nh)

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