Learn how a strange unwanted building became a lasting symbol of a capital city.
In the first of our two-part series on Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science, our hosts discussed the post-war rebuilding of the savagely-destroyed Warsaw and the controversial origins of the palace’s construction.
In the concluding part of our series, our hosts dive deeper into the palace’s corridors and explore the massive impact it has had on Warsaw. For example, after initial deliberation, what was the palace actually used for? What did people think of this palace shortly after its creation? What do they think about it now? Above all, how has this palace, despite the controversy surrounding it, become a cultural icon for the city?
[00:37] Brief recap of our last episode, about post-war Warsaw and the palace’s construction.
[03:39] A guided audio tour through the palace itself.
[11:20] What did Polish people think about the palace?
[13:37] Why did people write letters to the palace and what did they write about?
[18:00] How did the palace become the focal point of public debate after the fall of communism?
[23:00] How has the palace come to be a lasting symbol of Warsaw?
- The Controversial Story of Stalin’s Palace in Warsaw / on Culture.pl
- Video: The Controversial Story of Stalin’s Palace / on Youtube
- How Warsaw Came Close to Never Being Rebuilt / on Culture.pl
- Palace of Culture and Science Website / official website
- Belly of the Beast: The Controversial Side of the Palace / on Calvertjournal.com
- An Interview with Czesław Bielecki / on Freedom Collection
Michał Murawski / for generously devoting his lunchtime to telling us about the social life of the palace. Michał is architecture and city anthropologist based at the Department of Russian, Queen Mary’s, University of London.
Maria Wojtysiak / for telling us about her childhood ties with the palace, and explaining why she decided to fight to put it on the list of Poland’s Objects of Cultural Heritage. Maria is a renowned architect and a member of numerous organisations that aim to preserve Warsaw’s historical buildings.
Czesław Bielecki / for sharing his ideas about turning the palace into a museum about communism. Czesław is an architect and political activist, a former political prisoner of the communist state, and a democratic dissident.
Creatours / for kindly giving us an in-depth tour of the palace and telling us all their entertaining stories about it.
The America Programme at the Adam Mickiewicz Institute / for inviting us to their conference about the palace and making the interview with Michał Murawski possible.
SFTEW Team: Wojciech Oleksiak, Adam Zulawski, Lea Berriault, John Beauchamp, Nitzan Reisner & Michael Keller