Wawel Castle is located in Krakow, Poland.
Wawel Castle History
A large rectangular hall with 24 columns was built in the early 13th
century (later destroyed in the 13th–14th centuries).
In the mid-14th century Kasimir III built a new Gothic castle in the
form of separate buildings grouped around an irregularly shaped courtyard.
Towards the end of the 14th century the defences were strengthened
with such structures as the Danish Tower; Vladislav II added a residential wing - the Gothic
Pavilion - and in 1394 summoned artists from Vilnius to paint the bedchambers.
The most important period in the Wawel castle’s development
began under the future Sigismund I, who commissioned Franciscus Italus to rebuild the west wing
and north wing at the beginning of the 16th century.
An oriel window produced to Italus’s design survives on the second floor
facing the courtyard; it is flanked by Composite pilasters decorated with panoplies and has a
frieze featuring heraldic devices.
The Wawel Castle was greatly
expanded and transformed into a Renaissance residence from 1507 by Franciscus Italus, Benedikt
and Bartolomeo Berrecci, who succeeded one another and were assisted by numerous artists and
craftsmen, mainly from Poland, Italy and Germany.
The building took the form of four three-storey wings and a curtain wall
surrounding a large, five-sided courtyard. Magnificent three-storey columned galleries were
built around the courtyard in this period. The very high top storey has double-height columns
that support the architrave and the steep roof, with its very deep eaves.
The interior decoration of the period includes a unique series of 194 male
and female heads carved from 1531 to 1535 by Sebastian Tauerbach of Wrocław and installed in
the compartments of the coffered ceiling in the Deputies’ Hall.
Following two serious fires in 1595 Sigismund III commissioned
Giovanni Trevano to supervise a thorough early Baroque remodelling.
This included the building of the Senators’ Staircase
(1599–1602) and the addition of new portals and fireplaces, such as the splendid fireplace of
1600 in the Hall of the Birds, which was carved by Ambrogio Meazi in coloured marble and
features Corinthian columns supporting a cornice and heraldic devices. Externally, towers were
constructed at the north-east and north-west corners.
In 1684 the court painter Jan Tricius was put in charge of the
restoration of the castle’s decaying paintings and the building itself was restored at John
Sobieski’s instigation, but from 1702 it was again badly damaged by the Swedes when they used
it as a military hospital.
Occupation by Russian, Prussian and Austrian armies occurred
intermittently until 1905, when an extensive restoration programme that continued into the late
20th century was begun. Between the two world wars the castle was a presidential residence;
after 1920 (except 1939–45) it also functioned as a museum.
Wawel Castle Visitor Information
To get information about opening hours and tickets visit the
official website or you can use this contact details email: firstname.lastname@example.org (+48 12) 422 51
55/ext. 219 or (+ 48 12) 422 16 97; fax: 422 64 64
Wawel Castle is located in the city
of Kracow, Poland at the following address: Wawel 5, 31-000 Kraków, Poland.
See the map bellow to get help with directions
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