The Tallest Building in Kraków is "Szkieletor," He-Man's Nemesis

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Photo circa 2008 courtesy of Joanna J., used by Creative Commons license.

In 1975, construction began on a high-rise building in the center of Kraków, Poland. The massive structure (planned to be 24 stories high) was to be the headquarters for the Polish Federation of Engineering Associations (aka Naczelna Organizacja Techniczna, or "NOT"). After the skeleton of the building was completed, political and economic unrest hit Poland and the project was halted. 37 years later, the unfinished shell still stands 302 feet high, making it the tallest building in the city. Residents call it Szkieletor, after Skeletor, the skeletal villain from the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoons.

In 2005, a project was announced that hoped to add flesh to Szkieletor, as seen in this concept art. Unfortunately, the project has not made significant progress (some reports say it's mired in a legal battle over land ownership), and the unfinished building abides as a skeletal reminder of Communist Poland. Today, you can see Szkieletor on Google Maps (switch to satellite view and zoom in for details); at the time the aerial photos were taken it was displaying an ad for Polskie Linie Lotnicze, also known as LOT Polish Airlines. Interestingly, Google also has Street View images for the area, showing Szkieletor partially hidden behind a tree, rising in the midst of an otherwise normal neighborhood.

Today, Szkieletor is used to display giant ads, as in this photo showing banners for H&M and Madagascar 2:

Szkieletor advertising
Photo circa 2009 courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

By the Power of Grayskull, Have You Seen Szkieletor?

Speak up, readers from Kraków! I'm curious what the local perspective is on this building -- do people want to see it completed, torn down, or what?

You can also read more about Szkieletor's history and efforts to revive it form the Krakow Post. (You can also read more about Skeletor and the question of what's up with his neck from Wiki Grayskull.)

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June 25, 2012 - 7:13am
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