Monday, December 27, 2010
Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw
The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw is the tallest building in Poland. 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and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki imienia Józefa Stalina), but in the wake of destalinization the dedication to Stalin was revoked; Stalin's name was removed from the interior lobby and one of the building's sculptures.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. As the city's most visible landmark, the building was controversial from its inception. Many Poles initially hated the building because they considered it to be a symbol of Soviet domination, and at least some of that negative feeling persists until today. Some have also argued that, regardless of its political connotations, the building destroyed the aesthetic balance of the old city and imposed dissonance with other buildings.The inhabitants of Warsaw still commonly use nicknames to refer to the palace, notably Pekin (Beijing in Polish, because of its abbreviated name PKiN (Pałac Kultury i Nauki), Pajac ("clown", a word that sounds close to Pałac), Stalin's syringe or even the Russian Wedding Cake. The terrace on the 30th floor, at 114 metres, is a well-known tourist attraction with a panoramic view of the city. An old joke held that the best views of Warsaw were available from the building: it was the only place in the city from where it could not be seen (a claim originally made by the French writer Guy de Maupassant about the Eiffel Tower).