Former royal residence and seat of the government, the
Royal Castle of Warsaw is situated between the Vistula escarpment and the Old
There is evidence of early 14th-century timber and brick buildings on the
site, and towards the end of that century Janusz I, Duke of Mazovia (1374–1429), built a
splendid Gothic residence, the Curia Maior.
The decoration of its red-brick façade shows links with the architecture of
the Teutonic Order. The Ducal Cellar, the largest secular interior of the period to survive in
Warsaw, also belongs to this phase.
Royal Castle of Warsaw History
In 1529 the Duchy of Mazovia was incorporated into
the Polish kingdom, and the castle began to be used by the Polish kings. Its enlargement was
begun in 1569 under the direction of Giovanni Battista Quadro and
Giacomo Parri, for Sigismund II Jagiellon.
Following the establishment of Warsaw as capital by Sigismund III
Vasa, the castle underwent major changes and became the centre of political and cultural life
in Poland and one of the most magnificent residences in Europe.
The north, west and south wings were added (1600–1619), forming a
pentagon with a courtyard. The work was begun by Giacomo Rotondo and completed by Matteo
Castelli, who designed the elevations in an early Roman Baroque style. He also added some north
European features, noticeable, for example, in the form of the tower cupolas. The residence was
typically urban in character and linked architecturally with the town.
The next important enlargement of the Royal Castle of
Warsaw was undertaken by Augustus II and Augustus III. During the latter’s
reign (1733–1763), Antonio Solari completed the late Baroque façade overlooking the Vistula,
considered one of the major architectural achievements in Poland in the first half of the 18th
From 1764 the castle was greatly altered through the patronage of
Stanisław II Augustus Poniatowski. The King’s private apartments and the staterooms were
reconstructed in 1765–1786.
The interior decoration is in the so-called ‘Stanisław II style’,
characterized by a harmonious integration of architectural features with free-standing
sculpture and large paintings. The most notable examples are the Old Audience Chamber, the
Knights’ Hall and the Great Hall or Ballroom , all with particularly harmonious colour
In September 1939 the building was seriously damaged, but the greatest
works of art and a large part of the interior decoration (including fireplaces, stuccowork,
panelling, floors etc.) were saved and later replaced.
The castle was blown up in November 1944, shortly after the Warsaw
Uprising. The decision to reconstruct it was made in January 1971 and designs based on archival
and photographic material were drawn up by Jan Bogusławski.
Structural work was finished in July 1974, and the whole building was
complete by August 1984, although work on the Ballroom continued until July 1988. The
reconstruction of Warsaw Royal Castle is considered one of the greatest
achievements of conservation in the late 20th century.
Royal Castle of
Royal Castle of Warsaw address
is: Plac Zamkowy 4, Warszawa, Poland. Get help with directions using
the map provided bellow:
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