Palace of Culture and Science sunset

Big in Poland

The biggest (highest) building in Warsaw and Poland is Pałac Kultury i Nauki (Palace of Culture and Science). It’s abbreviated as PKiN (also with the pronunciation of “Pekin” which is “Beijing” in Polish) or Pałac (Palace) among other nicknames.


PKiN has a difficult history – it’s a gift from Soviet Union in 1950s. It’s previous name was Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science. After the Second World War, which left Warsaw a ruin, some of the well preserved buildings were demolished for the sake of building the Palace. For some people it’s enough that it was from Stalin to hate this building and demand to demolish it. But it won’t happen. Now it’s protected by law. There are also people who don’t care for the origins and are fond of it as a part of Warsaw and her symbol. There are people like me for whom PKiN is part of their lives and lovely childhood memories – we were going there for extra activities, for concerts, shows or other events (like the former Warsaw Book Fair).


It’s a mix of Socialist Classicism and Polish historicism inspired by USA art deco skyscrapers.


Palace of Culture and Science is in the city centre. It’s close to Metro Centrum stop – which is a hub for the daily public transport, including M1 underground line, and close to Dworzec Centralny (Central Station). At night the stop between Dworzec Centralny and Złote Tarasy (shopping mall) is a hub for over 90% of all night buses. The address is Plac Defilad 1 (Military Parade Square) which also tells a bit about the Palace’s history and uses.


Concerts, cinema, theatres, museums, cultural activities, bar, college. There is also the viewing terrace at “30 floor” called Trzydziestka (30.) which lets you see Warsaw during the day and night (the latter is only possible during summer). The official website of Place of Culture and Science unfortunately offers only a little information in comparison with the Polish version.

Remember! In Poland we have “ground floor” – counted as 0 and called “parter“. In some lifts you can find 0 or P button – it’s for the ground floor.

PKiN is 60 this year so you can count on special events (already running) for the whole summer. If you have seen Indian action film Kick, you already know where is the Palace and how it looks like, but I still recommend seeing it with your own eyes.

What you might not know is that when it was built Palace of Culture and Science looked quite different. Two years ago old photos of PKiN made into the news of major media.

Palace of Culture and Science Gallery

It’s probably my most photographed building in Warsaw. These are just few of the photos I made through years- from December 2010 to June 2015. June 2015 photos were made especially for the Photo101 course.

PS. In case you wonder. Yes, I’m a fan of Alphaville and I like their Big in Japan song. I’m also Forever Young despite being older than the single. 😉


  1. Looks like a lovely place to visit, I hope to get to Poland one day.

  2. […] will continue in May in two other cities. Warsaw festival is held in Kinoteka cinema, located in Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i […]

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