Juliana, the queen of the Netherlands, when she saw the Palace of Culture said „small, but tasteful”. A bit controversial opinion for a building 230 meters (750 feet) high, made of 40 millions of bricks and 28 thousands m2 (almost 7,000 acres!) of marble. Nicknamed „Stalin’s gift” once symbolised Soviet oppression in post-war Poland. Today, it dominates Warsaw’s horizon and like an Indian totem can be visible from almost every part of the city. After years Soviet architecture seems to be overscaled: people criticise its pushy style designed to preach „the only rightful ideology”, but at the same time it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions in Warsaw. During our walk we will try to find out to what extent communist authorities managed to build ideal socialist capital not only in the urban way but also in the pursue to change the society.
We will start next to the Charles de Gaulle monument which stands in front of the former Polish Communist Party headquarters. Then we will walk through Ministerial District to see impressive building of Ministry of Agriculture which looks entirely like a palace moved from ancient Rome. We will also see Marszałkowska Housing District, a shining example of residential area for „new socialist man”, decorated with typical Soviet motifs like huge statues of workers, miners, bricklayers and other heroes of everyday life. Finally we will get to Palace of Culture and Science, the main symbol of communist era and still the highest building in Poland.
During this tour you will:
Visit the Constitution Square, where most of the communist demonstrations including Labour Day Marches took place
Discover the variety of ways how to use architecture for propaganda purposes
Understand how one man was able to lay 61 000 bricks a day
See a forgotten VIP balcony of First Secretaries of Polish Communist Party
- Interested in having a bird’s-eye view of Warsaw? Add a visit to the Palace of Culture viewing terrace for 20 PLN per person
- Fancy a Polish meal on the tour? Just tell us and we will have a bite in “Bar Mleczny”, “milk bar”, the most popular type of a bar during the Communism.