Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lucky Pole 1945
Lucky Pole Today

The monument you see both in the 1940’s and today is KingSigismund’s Column. It was built in honor of the man who made Warsaw the Capitol of Poland (Remember it used to be Krakow). In was erected in 1664. During WWII it collapsed during bombardment, and was rebuild (like the entire city) in a different site. Poles consider it a lucky pole (tee hee!!) and touch it for the luck to rub off.

Another big tourist site is  The Palace of Culture and Science looks suspiciously similar to the Empire State Building in New York City. It does indeed, because the  Palace was modeled after it. This is the tallest building in Poland, and can be seen up to 20 miles away. It consists of over 3200 rooms, and was to be the “people’s building.” Needless to say, Poles hate it, relating it to Communism and wanted to destroy it. Interestingly, the building is owned by the President of Warsaw..therefore protected.

Interesting story about building this: Stalin commissioned this building and (the building is “socialist realist architecture) and used 40 million bricks. Over 5 thousand workers were sent from Russia, and housed in a village just outside the city limits. This village was built just for this reason and did not allow any worker any contact with the outside world. Because they worked 24 hours a day, it took only three years to complete (16 people died). Stalin died before it was completed. It was a pet project of his.


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