Royal Castle of Warsaw

Royal Castle of Warsaw

Former royal residence and seat of the government, the Royal Castle of Warsaw is situated between the Vistula escarpment and the Old Town, Warsaw.

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

Royal Castle of Warsaw hill

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 the capital by Sigismund III Vasa, the castle underwent major changes and became the center of political and cultural life in Poland and one of the most magnificent residences in Europe.

Royal Castle of Warsaw night

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 century. Its

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.

Royal Castle of Warsaw square

The interior decoration is in the so-called ‘Stanisław II style’, characterized by harmonious integration of architectural features with free-standing sculpture and large paintings. The most notable examples are the Old Audience Chamber, the Knight’s Hall, and the Great Hall or Ballroom, all with particularly harmonious color schemes.

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, paneling, floors, etc.) were saved and later replaced.

Royal Castle of Warsaw interior

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 Warsaw Location

Royal Castle of Warsaw’s address is Plac Zamkowy 4, Warszawa, Poland. Get help with directions using the map provided below:

Royal Castle of Warsaw Map

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