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The Warsaw Voice » Society » October 8, 2008
On the town
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Historic Stadium Dismantled
October 8, 2008   
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Amid the roar of pneumatic drills, the demolition of Warsaw's historic Dziesię- ciolecia Stadium officially started Sept. 24. A group of reporters ascended the terraces of the dilapidated structure to each take a turn at helping reduce the stadium to rubble. The facility originally arose on the rubble left over from the destruction of Warsaw that followed the 1944 uprising against the German occupation.

Dziesięciolecia means "10th anniversary" and the stadium is so named because it commemorated Poland's first 10 years of communist rule when it opened as the country's national stadium in 1955. Construction began August 1954 and gained momentum when Warsaw was chosen to host the fifth World Festival of Youth and Students, a communist promotional event still held in some socialist countries. Poland finished the stadium in a world-beating time of 11 months.

When communism bit the dust in 1989, the stadium took on a new persona as Europe's largest open-air market and was rebadged as "Jarmark Europa." It became home to over 5,000 registered traders and an indeterminate number of unregistered ones from all over the world. The stadium achieved international notoriety for pirated software and sundry contraband, including cigarettes, alcohol and weapons. Poland's Central Bureau of Investigation (CB¦) estimates its annual sales to have been zl.12 billion. Jarmark Europa was shut down Sept. 30 last year.

The Dziesięciolecia Stadium site is now going upmarket once more as Poland's new National Sports Center. The National Stadium at the center will be one of the venues of the Euro 2012 European soccer championships.

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