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The geographical core and political centre of Poland since 1611, Warsaw will doubtless shock the first-time visitor with its bleak postwar architecture. Yet amid the drabness you will find architectural attractions, such as historic Old Town, rebuilt brick by brick after the war according to old prints, photographs, and paintings. Also impressive is the wedding cake-like Palace of Culture and Science, Stalin's early 1950s gift to the city. Warsaw also has lovely churches and monasteries and interesting monuments and museums, and it bustles with activity during the summer—with theatre, book, jazz, and classical music festivals.