Sunday, 10 May 2015

Stadion Narodowy, National Stadium of Poland - Non matchday visit

Unfortunately, during my recent short holiday in Warsaw, there were no midweek games scheduled to be played in the area. So the next best thing, certainly having never visited a stadium in Poland, was to visit the National Stadium of Poland on a non matchday.

The Stadion Narodowy, which was built on the site of the former National Stadium, was opened in 2011 and hosted several games during Euro 2012, and will host the Europa League final later this month, is about a half hour walk from Warsaw Old Town, from where the stadium's red and white exterior is clearly visible, with the design resembling a crown, and decorated with red and white. Below the stadium, there is a sandy beach alongside the River Wisla, and immediately surrounding the stadium there are plenty of a grassy and tree covered areas, and all in all, the stadium is very pleasing on the eye.

Not wishing to wait for an English language guided tour, I chose to go to the viewing point, located in the upper tier by the half way line, for 10 zloty (approximately £1.80), where one can roam around freely from the bottom to the top of the seating area, although the area permitted to roam around in is fairly narrow. The stadium features continuous, double tiered seating all around, with an apparently random sprinkling of red and grey seats, with the red spaces more dominant at the bottom and becoming more sparse the further up one looks. Above the centre circle is a vertical spire, with four big screens attached around the bottom, whilst a retractable roof can extend out from a circular section attached to the spire. One may remember that the Poland - England World Cup 2014 qualifier had to be delayed for 24 hours, after the Polish FA apparently forgot to close the roof in time (as it cannot be closed when it is raining) and sustained torrential rain rendered the pitch unplayable.

All in all, whilst I will never be a great fan of modern stadia, with little to distinguish them between one country and the next, at least this ground does have come individuality about it, has been well designed and is very easy on the eye.

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