The Palace of Culture and Science is the tallest building in Poland and the eighth tallest building in the European Union. It is 231 metres tall, which includes a 43-metre high spire.
The building was originally known as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science, but in the wake of destalinization the dedication to Stalin was revoked. The building was conceived as a 'gift from the Soviet people to the Polish nation', and was completed in 1955. The structure was built in three years according to the design of the Soviet architect Lev Rudnev. Architecturally, it is a mix of Stalinist architecture, also known as Socialist Classicism, and Polish historicism inspired by American art deco skyscrapers. Currently it is the headquarters of many companies and public institutions, such as cinemas, theaters, libraries, sports clubs, universities, scientific institutions and authorities of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
The tower was constructed, using Soviet plans, almost entirely by 3500 workers from the Soviet Union, of whom 16 died in accidents during the construction.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.