Royal Castle in Warsaw
Other names: Castle of Warsaw, Zamek Warszawski, Zamek Królewski w Warszawie
A castle, built as a residence for the King of Poland, Sigmund III, who descending from the Swedish Vasa dynasty, had a pretense to rule Sweden, therefore moved the capital north from Krakow, the traditional capital of Poland. Italian architects built the castle. Until today, this mixture of Polish grand gesture, Italian style and Swedish soberness, despite all the contradictions in terms, is clearly visible in the castle’s structure. During the WWII, Germans have methodically destroyed the Royal Castle. Now the castle is fully rebuilt with an effort of many Poles in the country and abroad.
History: Royal Castle was built in the years 1589-1619 for the King Sigmund III Vasa, from the Swedish dynasty of Vasa, ruling Poland at the time. Italian architects Giovanni Trevano, Giacomo Rodondo, Paolo del Corte, Mateo Castelli incorporated the old gothic castle of the Mazovian Princes into a new early baroque structure, imposing itself upon the bank of the river Vistula. Royal Castle was further rebuilt by the Kings - August III Strong from the Saxon dynasty and Stanislaw August Poniatowski in the 18th century. The castle has been in the 18th century the seat of both chambers of Polish parliament – Sejm. It is also here, that during the November Uprising, in 1831 Polish Sejm removed Tsar of Russia Nicholas I from the Polish throne. Russians rebuilt the castle in the years afterwards, demolishing Sejm halls, trying to uproot all traces of Polish democracy. After the 1918 in the independent Poland the President of the country had an office at the castle. Germans have destroyed the Royal Castle in Warsaw during the WW II. First it was bombed in September of 1939, just to terrorize the population. The castle went on fire then, and the fire-fighters action has been difficult, because of the repeated actions of the German air force. Despite the fact that there were no military installation at the castle or in its neighbourhood, and the building has not been defended in any way, German planes have repeatedly bombed the Royal Castle. Because of these bombings, the castle’s roof went on fire and the castle sustained severe damage. In the years after, during the German occupation, the reconstruction was forbidden and the Royal Castle had been partly demolished on German command orders. Finally, in November of 1944, after the Warsaw uprising against the German occupiers, the Royal Castle, like many other important buildings in Warsaw, has been methodically dynamited, so nothing would be left of it. The Castle has been rebuilt in the years 1971-1988 as a national monument of Polish history and culture. Interiors were meticulously restored using the preserved ruin fragments and the old documents as examples of the original state.
The feel: An important museum about the rich and dramatic history of Poland. Very interesting inside. If you are in Warsaw, not to be missed.
Today: An important museum, a monument of Polish Culture and Heritage, an active cultural center.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 9.50 – 17.00. On Sundays, 10.50 – 17.00. Please note: last visitors will be admitted one hour before closing time.
Closed: Mondays, 25th of December, 1st of January.
How to get there: in Warsaw, by bus or tram (there are at least ten lines going there) on Aleja Solidarności direction Most Śląsko-Dąbrowski bridge over Vistula, or coming from Praga district via this bridge, stops: Plac Zamkowy 02 and Plac Zamkowy 04; or by Krakowskie Przedmieście by bus - stop: Miodowa 02.
Facilities and attractions:
Nearby cities: Pułtusk, Łódź, Płock.
Nearby castles: Zamek Ujazdowski w Warszawie, Pałac w Wilanowie
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