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The Royal Łazienki Park

A right royal tour

Poland is a country with more than a thousand years of history, rich traditions and great cultural heritage. The historical legacy in the form of numerous castles and palaces, often pearls of architecture, is our national treasure. Among several thousand of such structures, spread across all regions, you will find unique places to visit almost in every corner of Poland.

Royal residences, which hark back to the times of a strong and powerful Poland, ruled by kings, have a particular importance. Take a tour of the homes of Polish crowned heads, and you will find masterpieces of art, stylish furniture, paintings by European and Polish artists and sculptures adorning castle and palace interiors.

It makes good sense to start visiting the royal residences in Warsaw, because that is where - in the capital - you will find three of them:

The Royal Castle – a carefully reconstructed monument

It's a true phenomenon! Completely destroyed during the Second World War, it was rebuilt thanks to the voluntary contributions of the entire Polish nation. Together with the Old Town, it was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.

The residence was built in the 15th century. Until 1526, it was the seat of Mazovian princes, and then it became royal property. After King Sigismund III moved the capital to Warsaw, the castle was remodelled in the style of early Baroque and became the seat of the king and the court. It was within its walls that the Polish constitution, known as the 3rd May Constitution, was adopted in 1791. In the 1830s, the castle was used by the viceroys of the Kingdom of Poland. During this period, the castle was rebuilt in a Neoclassicist style. In 1926-1939, the castle was the seat of the Presidents of the Republic of Poland. During the Nazi siege in September 1939, it was bombarded and burned down. The reconstruction took place only at the beginning of the 1970s. A five-wing building with a characteristic clock tower, the castle was styled as an early Baroque residence.

These days it is home to a museum, with paintings of such masters as Rembrandt and Canaletto, who was the court painter of the last king of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski. A major renovation was carried out in the adjacent Kubicki Arcades, which was the only part of the castle to have survived wartime destruction. After the November Uprising in 1831, the Arcades served as a stable and then a garage. Nowadays, they are a popular venue for exhibitions, events and receptions.

The Royal Łazienki Park – a romantic spot for art lovers

It is the most beautiful park of the capital, and at the same time one of Europe's largest garden complexes. The 76 hectare palace-and-park complex is a symbolic legacy of the last king of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski - a politician, reformer, philosopher as well as an eager sponsor and collector of art.

Numerous buildings, bridges, gazebos and statues were built in the park, such as: the Palace on the Isle, the Myślewicki Palace, the White Pavilion, the Old Orangery and the Amphitheatre.

A favourite destination for walks among the locals, the Łazienki also serves as a museum and a venue for various events. During the summer season, many groups of tourists enjoy free piano concerts, which have been held for half a century at the foot of Frederic Chopin monument.

The King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów – Warsaw’s Baroque pearl

This historic residence was built for King Jan III Sobieski in the late 17th century and enlarged by its successive owners. It combines the tradition of the Polish manor with the rural Italian villa and the French palace.

In 1805, at the initiative of the then owner, Stanisław Kostka Potocki, one of the first public museums in Poland was created in part of the palace.

At present, the Wilanów palace-and-park complex is home to the Museum of King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów. The palace interiors with its original design and rich furnishings represent three art periods. It also has a large number of Polish portraits as well as works of painting, sculpture and goldsmithing in its collection. Surrounding the palace is a two-level garden, arranged in a variety of styles. The palace park is a French geometric park dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, and a part of the park above the pond was arranged as an English landscape garden. Sculptures, fountains and small park architecture embellish the whole setup.

In search of unique royal residences, let us move from the present capital of Poland to the former one, i.e. Kraków, and visit the Wawel Hill.

  • The Royal Castle – a carefully reconstructed monument
    The Royal Castle – a carefully reconstructed monument
  • The Royal Castle – a carefully reconstructed monument
    The Royal Castle – a carefully reconstructed monument
  • The Royal Łazienki Park – a romantic spot for art lovers
    The Royal Łazienki Park – a romantic spot for art lovers
  • The Royal Łazienki Park – a romantic spot for art lovers
    The Royal Łazienki Park – a romantic spot for art lovers
  • The King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów – Warsaw’s Baroque pearl
    The King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów – Warsaw’s Baroque pearl
  • The King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów – Warsaw’s Baroque pearl
    The King Jan III's Palace at Wilanów – Warsaw’s Baroque pearl
  • Wawel Royal Castle – the pantheon of kings and national heroes
    Wawel Royal Castle – the pantheon of kings and national heroes
  • Wawel Royal Castle – the pantheon of kings and national heroes
    Wawel Royal Castle – the pantheon of kings and national heroes

Wawel Royal Castle – the pantheon of kings and national heroes

It is one of the most recognisable castles in Poland and Europe. It is also a national and cultural symbol of Polish identity. Together with the Old Town, the Wawel Hill, and the Kazimierz and Stradom districts, it has been listed as one of the first 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (since 1978).

Founded in the first half of the 11th century, the former pre-Romanesque complex got its characteristic Gothic look in the 14th century. Until the end of the 16th century, it was the residence of kings. Today, seventeen of them are buried in the cellars of the old Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus.

The heart of the cultural capital of Poland is now a museum with more than 70 exhibition rooms. The permanent exhibition includes representative and private royal chambers, a treasury and an armoury.

These are the most important royal residences in Poland. Let them inspire you to visit others, learn about their history and admire art in every form.

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