William and Mary Law School

The Palace of Culture and Science

This is Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science, easily the most recognizable and prominent part of the city's skyline. 

PKiN

Poles have kind of mixed feelings about the palace. For a hint as to why, the original name of the structure was "The Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science." The way Poles here tell it, Russia wanted to give their comrades in Poland a gift. The USSR offered to build either the Palace of Culture and Science or a state-of-the-art underground railroad system that would unite the far-flung neighborhoods of Warsaw. The Poles overwhelmingly voted for the metro; Russia built the Joseph Stalin Palace of etc., etc. Hence the lingering bitterness

Needless to say, once communism was given the boot, the city went to work scrubbing Stalin's likeness from the place. Now this guy guards the entrance, though if you look closely, you can still see hints of a moustache ...

the artist formerly known as Stalin

Still, it's a cool building, so I coughed up the $8 to ride to the top to catch the view. This is Warsaw from 30 stories up:

pan-o-rama

And this is me, 30 floors up. For posterity. 

selfie

Oddly enough, once you're up there, you can take advantage of Poland's postal service. You know, in case you get to the top and suddenly remember that kielbasa bill that's due tomorrow. 

poczta polska

Seriously ... what?