Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw

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The Palace of Culture and Science (Polish: Pałac Kultury i Nauki, also abbreviated PKiN) in Warsaw is the tallest building in Poland, the eighth tallest building in the European Union. From 1955 to 1957 it was the tallest building in Europe. The building was originally known as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki imienia Józefa Stalina), but in the wake of destalinization the dedication to Stalin was revoked;[2] Stalin's name was removed from the interior lobby and one of the building's sculptures. It is now the 187th tallest building in the world.

Contents

History

Construction started in 1952 and lasted until 1955. A gift from the Soviet Union to the people of Poland, the tower was constructed, using Soviet plans, almost entirely by 3500 workers from the Soviet Union, of whom 16 died in accidents during the construction.[3] The Soviets were housed at a new suburban complex at Poland's expense, complete with its own cinema, food court, community centre and the swimming pool.[2][4] The architecture of the building is closely related to several similar skyscrapers built in the Soviet Union of the same era, most notably the Moscow State University. However, the main architect Lev Rudnev incorporated some Polish architectural details into the project by traveling around Poland and seeing the architecture.[3] The monumental walls are headed with pieces of masonry copied from renaissance houses and palaces of Kraków and Zamość.[3]

Shortly after opening, the building hosted the 5th World Festival of Youth and Students. Many visiting dignitaries toured the Palace, and it also hosted performances by notable international artists, such as a 1967 concert by the Rolling Stones, the first by a major western rock group behind the Iron Curtain.[5] In 1985, it hosted the historical Leonard Cohen concert, surrounded by many political expectations, which were avoided by Cohen in his prolonged introductions during the three-hour show.[6]

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