Warsaw’s city center, Poland

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Well, the “Palace of Culture” in the picture was a Stalin-era Soviet ‘gift’ to Poland, and is generally disliked for that reason. A Polish friend of mine joked the newer high-rises are part of a secret plan to hide it.

It’s not all ‘progress’ with flashy modern buildings either. See [this picture](http://i.imgur.com/pW1Yh.jpg) I took in Lodz, where you’ve got new high-rises right next to historic buildings in a rather sad state. Which IMO is an indicator of something screwy/cynical going on. If property values warrant high-rises in that location, it should be worth it to restore the old ones too. (Sadly, in a lot of places you have cynical landlords who’ll let a historic property decay just so they can get permission to tear it down and put up a new, bigger and thus more-profitable building – it happens in lots of places with lax oversight, and I suspect it’s what’s going on there, to some extent)

That said, it’s hardly all bad (e.g. Piotrkowska street in Lodz is mostly restored now) and things are improving. I agree with Kukul here though, Krakow is the nicest of the larger Polish cities I’ve been in. Its old town survived the war unscathed while Warsaw and Lodz were largely reduced to rubble, and has largely been restored from Communist-era neglect. (Perhaps not quite to the extent that, say, Prague has. But on the other hand, it’s also much further from being as much of a tourist-trap as Prague’s Old Town is)

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