Wilanów Castle, Warsaw
Other names: Pałac Wilanowski (Wilanów Palace), Pałac w Wilanowie (Palace at Wilanów),
One of the most interesting places to visit during your stay in Warsaw, the Wilanów Palace is a summer residence of Jan III Sobieski, King of Poland during the period 1674-1696. Kingdom of Poland was during that time proud to be Rzeczpospolita (polish for ´Republic´), which seems like a contradiction in terms, but the fact was that kings were in Poland elected by Sejm (Parliament), a gathering of all noble men of the country, voting along a democratic principle of one man one vote. Mostly foreign princes were elected to the Polish throne, so Poland had kings who were Swedish, Hungarian, French and German. Sometimes though, as in case of Sobieski, a local aristocrat has been elected for a throne. Sobieski, who defended Europe against the Turkish invasion in 1683, has been very much a family man. His love letters to his wife Mary (Marysieńka), a French born aristocrat Marie d’Arquien, testify to it. Marysieńka gave birth to thirteen children of whom only four survived. Sobieski’s palace, which has been miraculously preserved through the centuries of cruel wars in Central Europe, with its park and canals behind, remains today a place to enjoy.
History: Wilanów takes its name from words in Italian´villa nuova´. A palace with the park near Warsaw, built like a miniature of Versailles, at the end of the XVII century by an Italian architect Agostino Lotti for the King of Poland Jan III Sobieski. Several times rebuilt and changed later by among others Michelangelo Palloni. Museum open to the public, established by Stanislaw Kostka Potocki in 1805. In private hands of Potocki family up to 1945. Now state owned.
The feel: Charming palace with the park and canals behind. Interesting interiors. Unfortunately in constant renovation of the facades and continuing archaeological excavations destroying the park. Still, a must during you visit to Warsaw.
Today: A state owned museum. Additionally, an interesting modern Poster Museum is located in the old stables of the Palace, to the right from the main gate.
Opening hours: daily (except Tuesdays) 9.00 - 16.00 (last visitors admitted at 15.00).
Closed: The Palace and all exhibitions are closed on January 1st, Easter Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Corpus Christi (1st Thursday following the 7th Sunday after Easter), November 11th, December 24th and 25th. The park is open every day.
Admission: the palace - admission + foreign language speaking guide: group ticket 135,-PLN (ca. € 35,- for the groups up to 5 visitors), individual ticket 25,-PLN(€ 6,25 p.visitor; groups from 6 up to 30 visitors). The park: adults 4,50- PLN(€ 1,15), reduced ticket (children up to 7 years old, school youth, students) 10.- PLN (€ 2,50), on Thursdays the admission to the park is free. Groups (up to 30 persons) should make bookings one month in advance.
How to get there: From the centre of Warsaw direction south, by busses 116, 117, 130, 139, 180, 519, 522, 704, 710.
Attractions: boat cruises on the canal behind the palace, screenings of films about art, music concerts, museum meetings for children.
Nearby cities: Pułtusk, Płock
Nearby castles: Royal Castle in Warsaw, Pułtusk Castle, Liw - Castle of the Mazovian Dukes
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