A candidate for ugliest Polish place has got to be the outskirts of Raszyn near Warsaw. It would be difficult finding a worse aesthetic nightmare in the whole of Europe. Not only are the small architectural monsters by the side of the road pointless, artless and haphazard, but everything swims in a swamp of hideous billboards, banners and hoardings. Putting up these billboards is pointless because it is impossible to read anything amid the chaos. Polish people are constantly violating their public space and since the most precious elements of the cityscape cannot be protected, what possibility is their for the suburbs? Raszyn is a pathological caricature of how impotent the public authorities are in Poland. In Wisła, the city where the world-famous ski jumper Adam Małysz grew up, a mix of architectural monsters prevails, from grotesque nouveaux-riches villas to gaudy advertisements. While in Raszyn the billboards stretch out over the dull Mazovian Plain, in Wisła the horrid hoardings rip through the spectacular mountain landscape. The Silesian Beskidy could be as beautiful and charming as the most quaint parts of the Czech, Hungarian, German, or perhaps even French and Swiss countryside. Why are Poles so set on ruining their own countryside? Poles realise that something is wrong. According to a TNS Polska survey, 82 percent of people think that advertisements should be banned in historical places. On the other hand, outdoor advertising bothers only 9 percent of Polish respondents. What they find most irritating is: litter (59 percent), dog faeces (47 percent), graffiti (44 percent), and dilapidated buildings (43 percent). However, there is hope because citizens seem to have some idea of how their cities should look and how they should not look.
- Roots of Polish Hospitality (newzar.wordpress.com)
- Polish playwright Mrozek buried in Krakow (bigstory.ap.org)
- Pokłosie in US Cinemas (newzar.wordpress.com)