In the past 100 years or so, Katowice -- a relatively prosperous industrial city without a very long history -- has served as a kind of laboratory for modern architects working in whatever style was in fashion at the time. The city has two undeniable architectural masterpieces, one from the crazy retro-futuristic 1960s and the other from the more staid, functional 1930s. Other modern styles abound: everything from pieces of Art Nouveau to Art Deco, from postwar Socialist-Realist to the sort of kitschy "Communist" style that came to dominate much of Polish design in the 1960s and '70s. Just take a walk and look around.

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