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There are countless reasons to fall in love with Warsaw

Socialist Realism in Warsaw

Between 1949-1956, the architects given the task of rebuilding Warsaw out of the rubble of the war were forced to use a new style of design: it had to be ‘socialist in content and national in form’. The architecture, called 'social realism', postulated a vision of the world with the ideological themes of Marxism – it had to be communicative in form, with optimism related to the topics of hard work, tradition and the worker's movement. The best examples of social realism are seen in Warsaw's buildings: for example, MDM and the Palace of Culture and Science are elaborately decorated with monumental sculptures depicting peasants, workers and labour leaders.


One of the first post-war housing estates in Warsaw, built between 1949-1956. Before the war the estate had houses, inhabited mainly by the Jewish population, but during the occupation, the Germans incorporated it into the Jewish Ghetto and after the collapse of the Ghetto Uprising, the entire area was leveled. The new, social realist settlement was established on the left-over pile of rubble. The design referred to the ‘British model’ of a garden-city, and there were 30,000 individual houses, as well as schools, nurseries, kindergartens and cinemas. Monumental gateways, many of which can be seen at the top of ul. Andersa, are characteristic for this type of ‘workers' paradise’.

Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki)

pl. Defilad 1
Information: tel. +48 22 656 76 00

It was given by Stalin as a ‘gift from the Soviet Union to Polish nation’, and it is the youngest monument in Warsaw, as it celebrated its 60th birthday in 2015. Despite its youth, it is the most characteristic (and the tallest) building in Warsaw, standing at 237 meters. In the Palace of Culture there are more than 3,000 rooms, and its unquestionable attraction is the terrace at the 30th floor, from which you can admire a magnificent panorama of the capital. At the top of the Palace of Culture there is a clock, unveiled in 2000, which is the highest clock tower in the world, and also the second largest in Europe: each of the clock's four dials have a diamter of six meters. Another interesting feature is that the tower has some unique inhabitants – not everyone knows that a migratory falcon has a nest there, and for a number of years, she has been laying eggs in the Palace tower. More information

Near the Palace of Culture and Science, at the intersection of Jerozolimskie Avenue and Marszałkowska Street (near the entrance to the underpass) there is a unique, seven-ton, granite column, called the 'Stone Guide'. The distances to various European capitals and some Polish cities are written on it; among the more elderly inhabitants of Warsaw, it was also known as the 'pillar of love' because it was a place where people met for dates.

Plac Defilad
Defilad Square (Plac Defilad)

Adjacent to the Palace of Culture and Science, it was built to host the propaganda speeches of the leaders of the People's Republic of Poland. At its moment of creation, the square was the largest such space in Europe. In its centre is a tribune adorned with the silhouette of an eagle, which during communist times was where the dignitaries oversaw patriotic marches and parades. After the constitutional changes in Poland, the square lost its importance and its surface size diminished, and there are now plans to re-develop the entire area. At the intersection of Marszalkowska and Świętokrzyska Streets, the Museum of Modern Art (Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej) and TR Theatre will be built, designed by New York studio Thomas Phifer and Partners.

Marszałkowska Housing District (MDM) (Marszałkowska Dzielnica Mieszkaniowa (MDM))

Built in 1951-1952, in an area that housed wealthy residents before the war. MDM includes the district of Konstytucji Square, Marszałkowska Street and Waryńskiego Street. The communist authorities created a large, self-sufficient settlement within the city centre intended primarily for a working class population. The construction of the settlement was also an opportunity for the obstruction and downsizing of the Church of the Holy Redeemer, which falls on the axis of Marszałkowska Street.

Plac Konstytucji
Konstytucji Square (Plac Konstytucji)

The main point of MDM. Its name was to commemorate the Stalinist Communist Constitution, adopted in 1952. The square was drawn at the axis of Marszalkowska Street, close to MDM. Due to the devastation of the war, many of the original houses were demolished and had to be rebuilt. The square is one of the world's largest examples of social realist planning - seven major traffic routes coincide here, and the space is often used for public gatherings and concerts. The most visible elements of the square are the characteristic, monumental lamp-posts.

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