Palace of Culture and Science (Polish: Pałac Kultury i Nauki) in Warsaw is just a 30-minute walk from the Royal Castle. The Palace was built in 3 years by 3,500 Russian workers as a gift from Joseph Stalin. Since it was finished in 1955 is has been the tallest building in Poland, its spire reaches 237 metres and the viewing terrace on the 30 floor (114m.) allows you to admire Warsaw from above. The Palace of Culture and Science has 3288 rooms, including Congress Hall which seats 3,000 people and a swimming pool. In year 2000 a second-largest tower clock in Europe was added to the building. Each of its 4 faces has 6 metres in diameter.
The Palace of Culture and Science was built by Soviet builders for 1,175 days. The originator of the construction was Józef Stalin, and its designer was the Soviet architect Lew Rudniew. Hundreds of workers from the USSR came to the capital. On May 1, 1952, the first Soviet excavators went into action. The pouring of the foundations has started on July 21.
About 3.5 thousand people participated in the construction. Soviet workers lived in a housing estate built especially for them. During construction, 16 Russians died in accidents at work.
July 21, 1955 punctually at 16, USSR Ambassador Panteleimon Ponomarienko and Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Poland Józef Cyrankiewicz, sitting at the table in front of the main entrance to the Palace of Culture and Science, signed a protocol of handing over the Palace of Culture and Science named after Józef Stalin. On July 22, the Palace was made available to the entire Polish society. Józef Cyrankiewicz, cutting the ribbon, announced that the Palace had started to radiate over Warsaw. The gilded scissors used to cut the ribbon by Cyrankiewicz are still in the palace collections. On the first day of opening, the Palace was visited by 20 thousand people.
For years, every visitor to Warsaw had to visit the Palace of Culture and Science. He was visited by, among others Nikita Khrushchev, Shah of Iran Reza Pahlavi, Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh and North Korean leader Kim Il-sung. The palace has always been closely guarded, and at first the security guards were not even allowed to tell where and why they were working.
On New Year's Eve 2000, the Millennium Clock (its four dials are 6.2 meters in diameter) was unveiled on the 42nd floor of the Palace. At the time of installation, it was the highest tower clock in the world. Currently, it ranks fourth (higher tower clocks: Abraj Al-Bait in Mecca, Al Yaqoub Tower in Dubai and NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building in Tokyo). The replica of the clock is located in the main hall of the Palace in front of the entrance. In 2006, the Miss World 2006 final was held in the Congress Hall.
Currently, the palace is the seat of many companies and public institutions, such as cinemas (Kinoteka), theaters (Dramatyczny, Lalka, Studio, 6th floor), museums (Techniki, Evolution), bookstores, scientific institutions (Collegium Civitas), cafe (Cafe Kulturalna), a branch of the post office number 1. There is also 16 auditoriums, restaurants and exhibition halls. Various types of fairs are organized here, formerly incl. also book fairs and tourist fairs. The Palace has the largest conference and entertainment hall in Poland for 3000 people, the so-called Kongresowa Hall, and a sports center, the so-called Youth Palace, with gyms and a swimming pool (renovated in 2013). The Palace of Culture and Science is also one of the seats of the city hall. On the spire of the building there is a radio and television broadcasting station (RTCN), which has been used to this day since 1956, currently broadcasting 5 digital television multiplexes with a total number of 34 channels, 23 radio stations and 8 digital radio programs.
The Palace of Culture and Science has 42 floors, the total height of which is 167.68 meters. The last several dozen meters is a tower with the base dimensions of 41 meters by 41 meters and a height of 40 meters. The whole building is crowned with a spire, the top of which is located at a height of 230.68 meters. Thanks to this, the Palace is the tallest building in Warsaw and Poland. The length of the building along Marszałkowska Street is 254 meters, and along Aleje Jerozolimskie - 212 meters, which gives an area of 66,600 m2 of the base area. The Palace of Culture and Science has a total of 3,288 rooms with a total area of approximately 123,000 square meters. The volume of the entire facility is 817,000 cubic meters, which gives it the second place in Warsaw - since 2012, the National Stadium took the palm of priority for the Palace, with a total cubic capacity of over 1 million cubic meters.
On the lower façades of the palace, there are socialist realist sculptures that symbolize a different field of science, art, technology or culture, e.g. a youth with a volume of classics, a komsomolka, an archer or a native of Central Asia. In front of the main entrance there is a stone honorary stand from which the first secretaries of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party greeted the participants of the May Day parades.
In the vicinity of the Palace of Culture and Science, there are many sculptures and small architecture objects. All objects are of a socialist realist character, made by Soviet sculptors (except for the two monuments at the entrance) of artificial stone (also apart from the two monuments at the entrance, which are made of granite).
In summer, the vicinity of the palace becomes the arena of numerous concerts, theater and film shows. In winter, a great place for skating enthusiasts thanks to the free ice rink with a skate rental. At night, the building is beautifully illuminated, and additional illuminations are set on special occasions.
In February 2007, the Palace of Culture and Science was entered into the register of monuments.