- Royal Castle, Warsaw
Infobox Historic building
caption=The Royal Castle in Warsaw
Giovanni Battista Trevano
style=Baroque|The Royal Castle in Warsaw ( _pl. Zamek Królewski w Warszawie) is a
royal palaceand official residence of the Polish monarchs, located at the plac Zamkowyin Warsaw, at the entrance to the Old Town.
The personal offices of the king and the administrative offices of the Royal Court of Poland were located there from the 16th century until the
Partitions of Poland. In its long history the Royal Castle was repeatedly devastated and plundered by Swedish, Brandenburgian, German, and Russian armies.pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.dziedzictwo.pl/sources/muzea/waw/zamek-krolewski/zamekkw.html |title = Zamek Królewski w Warszawie (The Royal Castle in Warsaw) |work = www.dziedzictwo.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-18]
Constitution of May 3, 1791, Europe's first modern codified national constitution, as well as the second-oldest national constitution in the world, was drafted here by the Four-Year Sejm. [pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.zamek-krolewski.pl/?page=1080 |title = Sale Sejmowe |work = www.zamek-krolewski.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-18] In the 19th century, after the collapse of the November Uprising, it was used as an administrative center by the Tsar. Between 1926 and World War II the palace was the seat of the Polish president, Ignacy Mościcki. After the devastation of World War II it was rebuilt and reconstructed.
Today it is a historical and national monument, and is listed as a national museum. [pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.zamek-krolewski.pl/?page=1003 |title = Zamek Królewski w Warszawie - Pomnik Historii i Kultury Narodowej |work = www.zamek-krolewski.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-22]
At the end of 13th century, during the Duke's Conrad II of Mazovia reign, the wooden-earthen gord called Smaller Manor (
Latin: "Curia Minor") was built. The following duke, Casimir I, decided to build here the first brick building at the burg-city's area the Great Tower ( Latin: "Turris Magna"). Between 1407 and 1410, Janusz I of Warsawbuilt a storeyed gothic brick castle, called Bigger Manor (Latin: "Curia Maior"). From 1526 (when the last Masovian Dukes - Stanislaus I and Janusz III died) it became the Royal Residence.
Between 1548-1556 the castle was the residence of Queen
Bona Sforza, wife of Sigismund I the Old. The following Polish monarch, Sigismund II Augustus, between 1568–1572 was realizing building's reconstruction project, for example renaissance Royal House was added to the Bigger Manor, according to Giovanni's Battista di Quadro project. Jakub Parr, an architect from Silesia, was taking part in this works as well.
In 1595 king
Sigismund III Vasamade a decision about the castle's expansion to public functions. Reconstruction in the early Roman baroquestyle was done between 1598–1619. The Castle was enlarged, and given its present five-sided shape, with an imposing early baroque elevation facing the town, and a high tower known as the Sigismund's Tower.
At the time of the Deluge between 1655–1656 the Royal Castle in Warsaw was plundered. In 1656 during the Swedish and German siege of Warsaw a shot hit Sigismund's Tower spire, which caused it to break and destruct as it fell onto the castle's courtyard.pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.zamek-krolewski.pl/?page=1059 |title = Historia |work = www.zamek-krolewski.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-18]
Great Northern Warthe Castle suffered from Swedish occupation (they barricade at the castle and kept their horses in the operahall), German bombing from the Pragabank and Krakowskie Przedmieścieand several plundering by the Swedish, German and Russian troops (the Tsar Peter I of Russiatook to St. Petersburgall the paintings and other artefacts that preserved at the castle).
In the first half of the 18th century, when first
August IIand then August III, of the Wettin family from Saxony, were elected to the throne of Poland, there were several attempts at fargoing reconstruction of the castle, but these came to nothing. In 1737 on the restrictions of the Polish Parliament, the Italian architect Gaetano Chiaveridesigned a new wing facing the Vistula. It was built between 1741 and 1747, under the supervision of a polonised Italian, Antonio Solari. This was an excellent design, which harmonized extremely well with the older parts of the castle buildings.
During the reign of
Stanisław August Poniatowski, the last Polish monarch, from 1764 to the third partition of Poland in 1795, the Royal Castle went through a period of greatness. The allocated money from the royal budget as well as the patronage which the king granted artists and the education and artistic taste of the ruler himself allowed for one of the most interesting reconstruction projects of the castle. Quite a few projects were carried out, which were designed by, among others, French architect Victor Louis, Johann Christian Kamsetzer or Efraim Szreger. The baroque-classical interior was carried out on the basis of Jakub Fontana's and Dominico Merlini's projects. From 1773 the floor was thoroughly refurnished and the inside was decorated (D.Merlin and J.Ch.Kamsetzer's projects), for example new royal apartments, such as "The Royal Chapel", "The Knight Hall" (otherwise known as "The National Hall") and "The Ballroom" ("Great Assembly Hall") were built. The successful changes made by the King that took place inside the Castle had a very characteristic Polish identity and a high artistic level. Also a new building of the Royal Library was built form scratch, running along the right wing of the Copper-Roof Palace(included in 1776 to the group of castle buildings) measuring 56 × 9 meters.
On 3 May 1791, the 4-year
Sejmpassed a constitution at The Royal Castle in Warsaw.
Napoleonic Wars, the Castle was the residence of Fryderyk August, Duke of Warsaw and King of Saxony. After the collapse of the Polish Insurrection of 1830–1831, the Castle was the seat of the Governors of the Polish Kingdom.
Many reconstruction projects come from the 19th century and were the work of Polish architects, such as: Adam Idźkowski and
Jakub Kubicki. Idźkowski's project of 1843 planned a reconstruction of the Royal Castle using decorative forms borrowed from the gothic, renaissanceand empiric architecture. It planned the building of a 3rd floor with 7 different size towers, with attics decorated with eagles and antique statues. On the Zygmuntowska and Władysławowska towers the metal roof domes were meant to be removed and replaced with terraces, surrounded by balustrade. On the Vistulaside, on the Saxon elevation, Idźkowski planned to put up antique style reliefs, underneath the frieze of the 3 rysalits. And later, on the façade of the 3rd floor Corynthian pilasters. Horizontal rustic belts and iron balconies were meant to decorate both of the Royal Castle's elevation as well as the Copper-Roof Palace. This project, characteristic for its brave architectural forms, was the answer to the new trend of using historical forms in architecture (as opposed to Kubicki's project 20 years prior, stating moderation of forms based on past works of royal architects carrying out projects on the Royal Castle).
At the time of the next Polish national insurrection, in 1863, the square in front of the castle was the scene of patriotic demonstrations that ended in much bloodshed.
The restoration work began in 1915-1939, and accelerated after the end of World War I, when Poland regained its independence in 1918 following 123 year of
partitions. The establishments of the Peace of Rigain 1921 let Poland retrieve some of the Castle collection from the USSR(which the Russian authorities took to Russia). The 1920s conservation and reconstruction works ware supervised by an architect and conservator Kazimierz Skórewicz. In 1928, he was replaced by another architect, Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz. Since 1926 the Royal Castle was the Polish president's residence.
In September 1939 the Castle burnt after the German bombing. During Warsaw's occupation the Castle was plundered by the Germans. German scholars, including Professor
Dagobert Freyand Dr Joseph Mühlmann, took an active part in the work of destruction.en icon cite news |author = |url = http://www.castles.info/poland/royal-castle-warsaw/ |title = Royal Castle in Warsaw |work = www.castles.info |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-18] The National Museum was allowed to keep only a few pieces of equipment to describe the losses and secretly document them with photographs. An art historian – Stanislaw Lorentz – was the one who supervised this process. On Hitler's orders, the Castle was due to be blown up at the beginning of 1940. The bomb unit drilled a number of holes to put dynamitein [en icon cite news |author = Peter K. Gessner |url = http://info-poland.buffalo.edu/classroom/Zamek/zamek.html |title = Warsaw's Royal Castle and its destruction during the Second World War |work = University of Buffalo|publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-02-08] however, it was not (because of the protest of Italy) until after the Warsaw Uprisingwhen this order was carried out.
After its destruction in 1944 on German command orders [en icon cite news |author = |url = http://www.culture.pl/en/culture/artykuly/in_mu_zamek_warszawa |title = The Royal Castle in Warsaw |work = Culture.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-02-08] all that was left of the Castle was the ground floor, the lowest part of the Grodzka Tower and some remains of the Royal Library and Kubicki's Arcades. On 2 July 1949,
Sejmput forward a plan of the Castle's rebuilding. However, the project was unpromising, considering the budgetary stringency and differing priorities of the communist authorities. Nevertheless, the Grodzka Gate has been reconstructed from the stone blocks kept in the National Museum during the war. In 1964 the area surrounding the Castle was arranged and in 2 years later the Royal Castle's building has been rebuilt. On 20 January 1971, Sejm decided to restore the Castle again and created the Civil Committee of Rebuilding the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Building works supervised by an architect Jan Bogusławski, were financed in full with money coming from the Polish citizens. The reconstruction in its basic stage (restoration of the Castle to its state from before 1939) was completed in July 1974, however, the re-equipment (furnishings, paintings, works of art) and final works continued until 1988.
The Castle today
The imposing façade, built of
brickis 90 m long and faces the Castle Square.pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.zamkipolskie.com/wars/wars.html |title = Warszawa Zamek Królewski |work = www.zamkipolskie.com |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-22] At each end of the façade stands a square tower with a bulbous spire, such as found in Russia. The Sigismund's Tower is located in the centre of the main façade, flanked on both sides by the castle. According to some theories this immense tower (60 m high) is inspired by the towers of Smolensk.
Nowadays, the Castle serves as the Museum and is subordinated to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Many official visits and state meetings are held in the Royal Castle, too.Over 500 000 people visit the Royal Castle every year.
The interior consists of many different rooms, all painstakingly restored with as much original exhibits as possible after the destruction of the Second World War.
Jagiellonian RoomsThese rooms, which belonged to the residence of Sigismund Augustus, are now host to a number of portraits of the Jagiellon dynasty, a royal dynasty originating in Lithuaniathat reigned in some Central European countries between the 14th and 16th century. [pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.zamek-krolewski.pl/?page=1078 |title = Pokoje Dworskie |work = www.zamek-krolewski.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-18]
* The Houses of ParliamentFrom 16th century onwards, Polish
democracystarted here.pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.zamek-krolewski.pl/?page=1557 |title = Dawna Izba Poselska i sale sąsiednie |work = www.zamek-krolewski.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-18] In 1573, amendments to the constitution of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealthwere written here, with great religious tolerance. Also, during the Deluge in 1652, the liberum vetowas established in these rooms, although not carried out until 1669. In 1791, the May Constitution, Europe's first modern codified national constitutionas well as the second-oldest national constitution in the world, was drafted here.The decorations in the room are replica's of the originals by Giovanni Battista di Quadro.
* The Royal ApartmentsIn these apartments, king
Stanisław August Poniatowskilived. They consist of the Canalettoroom, in which several painted views of Warsaw are on display. These were not painted by Canaletto, but rather by his nephew, Bernardo Bellotto. Jean-Baptiste Pillementworked between 1765-1767 on one of his largest projects, the wallpaper. Domenico Merlinidesigned the adjacent Royal Chapel in 1776. Nowadays, the heart of Tadeusz Kościuszkois kept here in an urn. The Audience Rooms are also designed by Merlini, with four paintings by Marcello Bacciarellion display. Andrzej Grzybowskitook care of the restoration of the room, that included many original pieces.
* Lanckoroński CollectionIn 1994
Countess Karolina Lanckorońskadonated 37 pictures to the Royal Castle. Collection includes two paintings (portraits) by Rembrandt: "The Father of the Jewish Bride" (also known as "The Scholar at the Lectern") and "The Jewish Bride" (also known as "The Girl in a Picture Frame") [pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.zamek-krolewski.pl/?page=1088 |title = Galeria Lanckorońskich |work = www.zamek-krolewski.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-18] both originally in the Stanisław August Poniatowskicollection. [pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.zamek-krolewski.pl/?page=1433 |title = Historia dwóch obrazów |work = www.zamek-krolewski.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-18]
*On 24 May 1829 in the Royal Castle's Senator's Hall,
Nicholas I of Russiawas crowned King of Poland. [pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.replikiregaliowpl.com/to.html |title = Historia Repliki Polskich Insygniów Koronacyjnych |work = www.replikiregaliowpl.com |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-22] [pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.polskiedzieje.pl/art/73 |title = Insygnia koronacyjne Królów Polski (1025-2003)
work = www.polskiedzieje.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-22]
*On 5 November 1916, the
Act of November 5thwas announced in the Grand Hall. [pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://dziedzictwo.polska.pl/katalog/skarb,Akt_5_listopada_1916_roku,gid,116214,cid,180.htm?body=desc |title = Akt 5 listopada 1916 roku |work = dziedzictwo.polska.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = |accessdate = 2008-07-22]
*On 23 April 1935, the
April Constitutionwas signed in the "Knight Hall".
*Stanisław August Poniatowski's regalia are kept in the Royal Chapel. These are the
Order of the White Eagle, the ceremonial sword of the Saint Stanisław's Order and aquamarinesceptre.
*The insignia of the presidential power are also stored in the Castle- the stemp of the President, the Jack of the President od the Republic of Poland and national documents, which Ryszard Kaczorkowski gave to
Lech Wałęsaon 22 December 1990. [pl icon cite web |author = |url = http://www.prezydent.pl/x.node?id=1011848&eventId=500031 |title = Wydarzenie |work = www.prezydent.pl |publisher = |pages = |page = |date = 2004-11-02 |accessdate = 2008-07-22]
In 1979, the historic Gateway Theatre in the Jefferson Park community area of
Chicagowas purchased by the Copernicus Foundationwith the intention of converting it into the seat of the Polish Cultural and Civic Center. Because of the building's historical significance, its interior was kept intact while the exterior was remodeled and a Neo-Baroqueclock tower was added to give it the resemblance of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. ["Jefferson Park Historical Society". Newsletter - January 2005; Number 1 [http://www.jeffersonparkhistory.org/jphs_jan_2005.pdf www.jeffersonparkhistory.org] ]
# cite book | author = Lileyko Jerzy | coauthors = | title = Vademecum Zamku Warszawskiego | year = 1980 | editor = | pages = | chapter = | chapterurl = | publisher = | location =Warsaw | id = ISBN 83-22318-18-9 | url = | format = | accessdate =
# cite book | author = | coauthors = | title = Warszawa w latach 1526-1795 (Warsaw in 1526-1795) | year = 1984 | editor =
Stefan Kieniewicz| pages = | chapter = | chapterurl = | publisher = | location =Warsaw | id =ISBN 83-01033-23-1 | url = | format = | accessdate =
"The Old Chamber of Deputies"
"Great Assembly Hall"
* [http://www.zamek-krolewski.pl/ Royal Castle website]
* [http://www.zamek-krolewski-panoramy.art.pl/ VIRTUAL TOUR]
* [http://www.castles.info/poland/royal-castle-warsaw/ Castles.info - Royal Castle in Warsaw] - history and pictures.
* [http://www.warsaw-life.com/poland/royal-castle Warsaw Castle]
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