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National Treasure
May 31, 2012   
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Built specially for Euro 2012, Warsaw’s National Stadium is the centerpiece of the country’s drive to prepare for the European soccer championships. The venue seats more than 58,000 spectators. It is the most modern sporting and entertainment facility in Warsaw, the biggest and most expensive soccer stadium in Poland and a source of national pride.

During the championships the National Stadium will host three group-stage matches, including the opening match between Poland and Greece, preceded by official ceremonies, as well as one quarterfinal and one semifinal.

Designed by a Polish-German consortium, the stadium cost nearly zl.2 billion to build. Construction commenced in May 2008 and was to have been completed in 2011, well before the Euro 2012 championship, but the facility did not open until February this year.

After the tournament, the stadium will be used for major entertainment events, concerts and gala functions, conferences and exhibitions.

The shape and facade of the stadium resembles a wicker basket with the Polish red-and-white national colors. The facility offers 130,000 square meters of usable space, including locker rooms and rooms for sporting teams, a fan club and shops, restaurants and food stalls, bars, fitness clubs and a conference and office center, as well as a multi-faith chapel. There is a two-level underground car parking garage for 1,800 vehicles.

The site occupied by the National Stadium has an interesting history. Previously the area hosted the dilapidated 10th Anniversary Stadium, build in 1955 to commemorate 10 years of communism in Poland, and builders had to remove tons of rubble from the site before they could go ahead with their construction project.

Jolanta Wolska
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