[ Aug.2016 ] During our stay in Warsaw we signed up for the ‘Communism Tour’.
We learned a lot about events and people’s life during the communist era visiting related places.
A 40 year old guide called Mariusz and a pretty yellow minibus of the same age came and picked us up.
The bus did not have the air conditioner and instead there was a small electric fan.
Mariusz was very enthusiastic and taught us many things which we could not remember all.
First, we went to the Palace of Culture and Science, the symbol of the communist era.
It is a huge building but they built it in only two years and it was completed in 1955.
It is an example of Stalinist Architecture.
In fact we saw a very similar one in Riga in Latvia recently.
Mariusz told us that the design of these buildings were copies of the Empire State Building in New York.
We went into the building and headed towards the theatre inside.
Around the theatre there were statues of different races, which shows that under the communist spirit, everyone is equal.
There was one which looked like a woman from North Korea.
In this theatre, the Rolling Stones performed in 1967.
Their fee was paid in zloty, the Polish currency, but in those days zloty could not be exchanged.
So Stones bought a truck full of vodka to take home.
The people in Poland apparently appreciated these bottles as ‘Rolling Stones’ vodka’ .
So Rolling Stones worked for nothing, but of course the benefit of advertising they received was huge.
During the communist era, religion was oppressed in many countries and many churches were destroyed, for example, we learned in Slovakia that those who went to church were demoted.
But in Poland, people were known as devout, so the government thought that if they blasphemed, people would riot.
Therefore religion was not oppressed quite so much and people could go to church, though party members could not.
By the way, the building of then headquarters of communist party now houses a Ferrari shop.