London may have Madame Tussauds with its queues and pricey entry fees, but Kielce in Poland has Aleja Slaw, the public park lined with sculptures of the stars.
Sometimes translated as Celebrity Alley, the series of famous people immortalised here was commissioned by Kielce council via a range of local artists. The heads are an unusual mix, with famous Poles alongside seemingly random western musicians and actors, such as John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe.
We’ve picked around 30 here for your browsing pleasure, but there are plenty more to see when you visit Kielce.
The extremely influential author of Heart of Darkness, famously the basis of Francis Ford Coppola’s film Apocalypse Now, was Polish-born but spent most of his life in England.
The biggest name in Pop Art had Lemko roots, connecting him with the Carpathian region that begins at the southern end of Poland.
This Polish woman was the most iconic artist associated with the Art Deco movement, and Lempicka’s paintings grace galleries and museums around the world. Young Lady with Gloves, shown here, encapsulates her famous style:
The slapstick humour of Charlie Chaplin was obviously very popular in Poland as well as the rest of the world.
The Belorussian-French-Russian modernist artist was famous for stained glass windows as well as paintings, with his windows on display in churches in France, Germany, Israel, Switzerland and the UK.
These windows can be found in the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Reims.
Big in the 60s and 70s, Niemen was an influential and supremely groovy Polish singer with an absolute belter of a voice and glorious facial hair:
The Aleja Slaw depiction of Dali seems to have captured his penchant for drama and surrealism.
One of the great Russian composers of the 20th century. His works line the background of half the films you’ve seen:
Little known outside his native Poland, Witkiewicz was one of the country’s most famous painters:
Piaf was probably the most famous French singer of all time:
The Prague-born novelist whose famous depictions of nightmarish bureaucracy in novels such as The Trial make him the go-to author for anybody sick of modern life.
Commonly thought of as Poland’s counterpart to James Dean, Cybulski was a gifted actor who tragically fell under a train in Wroclaw station when he was just 39 years old.
Here’s a clip of him dancing at a really odd ball in the 1965 film Salto:
Gershwin was the composer who best captured what New York felt like at the start of the 20th century:
The Swedish film director was famous for moody existentialist think-pieces.
Whenever you see the grim reaper depicted in black and white these days, it’s usually a nod to Bergman:
Irish novelist, famous for changing literature forever through his word-melding, moral-offending and subconscious-tickling novels Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake.
An extremely influential Russian composer, Stravinsky’s most famous work was probably 1913’s The Rite of Spring:
Dunikowski was an important Polish sculptor who was also an Auschwitz survivor, a subject that would proliferate throughout his post-war output.
Hendrix was possibly the greatest guitarist of all time, so obviously they needed a statue of him in Kielce.
Krzysztof Kamil Baczynski
Baczynski was a Polish Jew who died during the Jewish Uprising in Warsaw in 1944.
He was only 23 years old but his poetry had already become remarkably influential, capturing what life was like under occupation while still retaining passion and hope.
You can read some translations of his works here.
Proust was arguably the most significant French writer at the turn of the 20th century with his epic seven-part work In Search of Lost Time leaving his competition in awe.
In compositions such as Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev made some supremely catchy classical music – not a phrase you can apply to most musicians.
Among the Russian composer’s many famous works, Dance of the Knights is our favourite:
The world’s most famous blonde bombshell is now a bronze bombshell in Kielce.
Kieslowski was a multi-award-winning director who made films in both French and Polish.
The Three Colours trilogy is his best-known work:
The Russian author of The Master and Margarita had created one of the best satires on life under communism, still beloved my many today and often turned into theatrical spectacles.
We’re not sure what Picasso would make of the sculpture of him here in Kielce.
The science-fiction writer’s most famous work is Solaris, but all of Lem’s books have affected all later writers who deal in the fantastic.
Even the blockbuster videogame series Sim City found its initial ideas in one of his short stories, The Seventh Sally.
Classical composer Penderecki is one of the only residents on Aleja Slaw that is still alive today in 2014.
His works feature in many films such as The Shining, The Exorcist and Shutter Island. We guarantee you have heard the spine-shivering Polymorphia before:
The German novelist’s most famous books were Death in Venice and Dr Faustus. Mann won the Nobel prize for literature in 1929 for Buddenbrooks.
Hasior was a Polish sculptor and set designer known for his bizarre creations. There is a museum dedicated to him in the popular mountain resort of Zakopane
The only Beatle the Kielce authorities saw fit to recreate as a sculpture. Nobody tell Paul.