Blog Article / 30 March 2021
The most interesting skyscrapers in the Warsaw skyline
Did you know that Warsaw is one of the most metropolitan cities in Europe? Its impressive skyline of modern towers can compete with such cities as Frankfurt am Main, London, and Paris. Warsaw's skyscrapers are among the tallest on the continent! Below we present interesting facts about them, along with tips on how to find them while sightseeing in the Polish capital!
Palace of Culture and Science - 237 meters, 42 floors, built in 1955
It is one of the most representative buildings in Poland and the most recognizable one in the Warsaw skyline. Until recently, the Culture Palace held the crown of the highest building in Poland. It has been pushed to the second position by the Varso Tower. Initially, the height of the Palace was 230,68 meters. In 1994, an antenna bracket was added to the spire, which changed the height of the building to 237 meters. The Palace of Culture and Science is usually illuminated in grey, but it changes the color to mark special occasions (such as important anniversaries, holidays, or significant ongoing events). For example, on Valentine's day, the Palace is lit up in red. On international women’s day, it is colorful, like the bouquet of flowers, and on Christmas, it is green like a Christmas tree! On National Independence Day, the Palace turns into our national colors – white and red.
Over the years, the building was a venue for many important events, for example, concerts and recitals, Warsaw Beauty Pageants, numerous exhibitions and fairs (for example International Book Fairs), national celebrations, anniversaries, music festivals, fashion shows, film premieres (for example the famous Polish films "Nights and Days" in 1970 or "Academy of Mr. Kleks" in 1983), award galas and balls (for example on New Year's Eves or during carnival season). Many famous musicians performed in the Palace, for example, the Rolling Stones, Luciano Pavarotti, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, or Marlena Dietrich. Also, the Palace hosted world-famous figures, such as the astronaut Jurij Gagarin, Secretary-General of the United Nations U. Thant, the first woman-astronaut Walentyna Tiereszkowa, a famous model Naomi Campbell, Nobel laureate Gunter Grass, and David Copperfield.
Nowadays, the skyscraper houses, among others, the Museum of Technology with the Planetarium, cinema "Kinoteka", theatres (Teatr Dramatyczny and Teatr 6. Piętro), the Dollhouse Museum, and the Congress Hall. You can also get to the 30th floor and admire the beautiful panorama of Warsaw from the observation deck. The elevator ride takes only 19 seconds! Several suicide jumps took place from the viewing terrace, the first one in 1958. Eventually, bars were installed on the viewing platform to prevent from such tragic incidents.
Varso Tower – 310 meters, 53 floors, built in years 2016-2022
This massive skyscraper is located at the corner of two main arteries in Warsaw – John Paul II Avenue and Jerusalem Avenue. The construction of the complex started in December 2016 and is set to be finished at the beginning of 2022. However, the Varso Tower has already reached its target height, which means that it is officially the highest building in the European Union! In the whole of Europe, only Moscow and St. Petersburg have taller buildings. At an altitude of 230 meters, an observation deck will be open to the public. It will be located almost twice as high as the viewing terrace at the Palace of Culture and Science. It will be accessed by a glass elevator at a speed of 8 meters per second. Also, there will be a panoramic restaurant on the 46th floor. The building will be connected with the Warsaw Central Railway Station by the underground.
Warsaw Spire – 220 meters, 49 floors, built in 2016
On your way to the Warsaw Uprising Museum, you are sure to notice the third-tallest construction in the Polish capital. The Warsaw spire complex consists of 3 buildings – one skyscraper (220metres) and two lower buildings. The offices of various companies and organizations are located here. The good news is, Warsaw Spire complex is open to everyone. Plac Europejski is a green square located right behind the building. You can relax and have fun here all year round. In summer, film screenings are organized here, and in winter, there is ice-skating. Also, you can watch important sports events here, for example, World Cup. It is a great place to hang out with your friends and have a relaxing time in the middle of the concrete jungle. Also, many people come here to take a picture with the Kocham Warszawę (I love Warsaw) sign, which has already become ionic! You can easily get here from the city center, as the complex is located right at the Rondo Daszynskiego metro station (M2 line). This area in Wola borough is one of the fastest-growing business districts in Warsaw. Apart from the Warsaw Spire, you can see other skyscrapers here which were erected over the past couple of years: Warsaw Unit (read below), Skyliner, Generation Park, and others. So, if you want to feel the spirit of the metropolitan city, be sure to come to this modern district during your visit to Warsaw. We encourage you to do that on your way to the Warsaw Uprising Museum, as it is located just a few steps away.
Marriott (Centrum LIM)- 170 meters, 43 floors, built in 1989
The name of this skyscraper - "LIM Center" takes its origin from the first letters of 3 founding partners - LOT airlines, the Austrian construction company Ilbau GmbH and the Marriott International hotel chain. Although the largest part of the building is occupied by offices, it is mostly known for the 5-star Marriott hotel. The building is divided into 3 parts: the lower floors with Marriott reception and shopping area, office area between 6th and 20th floor, and hotel area above the offices. On the first two floors, you can find a shopping gallery with around 40 shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as LOT ticket offices.
The hotel area consists of 523 rooms, 16 meeting halls, a fitness center, sauna, and swimming pool, as well as several restaurants, among others the popular Panorama Sky Bar located on the 40th floor, from which the guests can admire the breathtaking panorama of Warsaw. On the top, 43rd floor there is a spacious and luxurious presidential suite. It hosted several presidents of the United States - Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Also, one of the most famous guests staying at the suite was Michael Jackson, who arrived here for his concert in 1996. The building is connected by an underground passage with the Warsaw Central Railway Station.
Warsaw Unit - 202 meters, 46 floors, built in 2021
This skyscraper is located in the commercial district of Warsaw around Rondo Daszynskiego. It is one of the newest towers in the Warsaw skyline. It was voted "the best skyscraper in Warsaw" by the international jury of European Property Awards. In 2022 the Skyfall Warsaw will open on the top floor of the building. It is a platform with a glass floor that tilts out of the building by 15 degrees, offering visitors an unforgettable experience with panoramic views. It is the only attraction of this kind in Europe - similar platforms can be visited, for example, in Chicago (the famous Skydeck).
Atlas Tower - 112 meters, 28 floors, built in 1999
This skyscraper is commonly known as Millennium Plaza, because of its main tenant - Millennium Bank. It is popular with tourists thanks to the Invisible Exhibition - a unique, interactive museum where you "watch" the exhibits in complete darkness, using only the senses of hearing, touch and smell. Inside, you are accompanied by blind or visually impaired guides. There is also a restaurant called DIFFERENT, where you can have dinner in darkness. You do not know what you are served, which adds more fun to the experience - you need to guess the meals with the help of your senses. In addition, there is a trendy nightclub Level 27 located on the 27th floor of the building with a great view of Warsaw downtown. The Atlas Tower is located at Artur Zawisza Square and you can easily reach it from the city center by tram or bus in less than 5 minutes!
Złota 44 – 192 meters, 54 floors, built in 2013
Contrary to other skyscrapers, this one is mostly a residential building with 287 luxurious apartments. In fact, it was erected as the tallest residential building in the European Union! It is located in the downtown - right next to the Zlote Tarasy shopping mall. The residents of this impressive skyscraper can enjoy a private spa center, fitness club, indoor golf simulator, swimming pool, a viewing terrace with jacuzzi, and even a cinema! This kind of luxury in the heart of Warsaw costs a fortune - average prices in the building are PLN 28,000 per square meter. The most famous apartment owner at Zlota 44 is Polish football player Robert Lewandowski.
Spectrum Tower - 122 meters, 32 floors, built in 2003
The skyscraper is located at Twarda street, close to Rondo ONZ. It is sometimes referred to as Twarda Tower. Interestingly, there is a heliport on the roof of the building, as a result of fire safety requirements. On two floors of the building (28th and 32nd), there is a fancy nightclub - the View. It was created on the base of the best New York clubs located on the roofs of skyscrapers, the so-called "rooftops". Inside the View, you will find interiors inspired by the best Manhattan night spots. This is a top-notch venue in the capital - you can pay up to 2000PLN for a table! The club has an impressive viewing terrace for its guests - from 122 meters, you can admire Warsaw at night in all its glory!
InterContinental Warszawa – 164 meters, 45 floors, built in 2003
Located a few steps away from Warsaw Central Railway Station and Zlote Tarasy shopping mall, the building is the tallest hotel in Poland. The 5-star Intercontinental has over 400 rooms, several conference halls, two restaurants, a bar, and a café, as well as a spa & wellness center. The building's pride is a swimming pool located on the 43rd floor at an altitude of 150 m!
Prudential - 66 meters, 17 floors, built in 1934
Although nowadays it is not one of the tallest buildings in Warsaw, Prudential is still worth a mention. It was the first skyscraper built in the Polish capital. It was erected five years before World War 2 at Powstancow Warszawy Square. The building was originally the seat of the English "Prudential Insurance Company". There was also a residential area with small but luxurious apartments. Prudential was the tallest skyscraper in Poland and one of the tallest in Europe before the war. It remained the tallest building in Poland until 1955 when the Palace of Culture and Science was erected. Prudential was an important site during Warsaw Uprising and today is it a major point of World War 2 guided tours. The building was seized by the insurgents, who shelled the main post office from its windows. On August 28th, 1944, the Germans shelled this part of the city with heavy mortars. One of the missiles hit the structure of the building directly - it was then that one of the most famous photos from the Uprising was taken right after the explosion, showing the skyscraper shrouded in a huge cloud of black smoke. However, it did not collapse, which was interpreted as a symbol of the city's resistance.
After the war, Prudential was rebuilt in a socialist-realist style. Hotel Warszawa was opened here in 1954 and operated until 2002. Then, the building was being renovated for several years, with the plan to restore its pre-war esthetics. It was deprived of socialist-realist details, and the decorations from the 1950s were removed from the representative interiors. The hotel was reopened in 2018 and is now one of the most luxurious ones in Warsaw.
Author: Monika Kwiecień AB Poland Travel
Posted on: 30th March 2021
fot. Andrzej Iwanczuk-Reporter
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