Royal Castle, Warsaw
View from the Castle Square
|Construction started||1598, 1971|
10 – 13 September 1944
|Client||Sigismund III Vasa|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Matteo Castelli, G. B. Trevano, Gaetano Chiaveri|
|Official name||Historic Centre|
The Royal Castle in Warsaw (Polish: Zamek Królewski w Warszawie) is a royal residence that formerly served throughout the centuries as the official home of Polish monarchs. It is situated in Castle Square, at the entrance to the Warsaw Old Town. The personal offices of the king and the administrative offices of the royal court were located in the Castle from the 16th century until the final partition of Poland in 1795.
Initially, the fortified complex served as the residence of the Masovian dukes. In the early 1600s, it was designated to replace Wawel Castle in Kraków as the seat of the King, Parliament (Chamber of Deputies and Senate), and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The medieval Gothic structure was remodelled into Italian mannerism by architects Matteo Castelli and Giovanni Battista Trevano. The Baroque easternmost wing was designed by Gaetano Chiaveri and completed in 1747.
The Royal Castle witnessed many notable events in Poland's history; the Constitution of 3 May 1791, first of its type in Europe and the world's second-oldest codified national constitution, was drafted here by the Four-Year Parliament. Following Poland's loss of sovereignty, the castle was redesigned for the needs of the Imperial Russian and later German administration during the course of World War I. Under the Second Polish Republic (1918–1939), it was the seat of the Polish head of state and president.
The Second World War brought complete destruction to the building; in September 1939 it was targeted and ignited by Luftwaffe fighter aircraft, and then detonated by the Nazis after the failed Warsaw Uprising in 1944. In 1965, the surviving wall fragments, cellars, the adjacent Copper-Roof Palace and the Kubicki Arcades were registered as historical monuments. Reconstruction was carried out in the years 1971–1984. In 1980, the Royal Castle and the Old Town became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, it serves as a museum annually visited by over 500,000 people, and one of Warsaw's most recognizable landmarks.
Castle in the Middle Ages
In 1339 the Papal Legate in Warsaw heard a case brought by the King of Poland, Casimir III the Great, against the German Teutonic Order. He claimed that they had illegally seized a slice of Polish territory — Pomerania and Kuyavia regions. The documents in this case are the earliest written testimony to the existence of Warsaw. At that time a fortified town surrounded by earthen and wooden ramparts, and situated where the Royal Castle now stands, it was the seat of Trojden, Duke of Masovia. At the end of the 13th century, during the Duke Conrad's rule, the wooden-earthen gord called "Small Manor" (Latin: Curia Minor) was erected. The next duke, Casimir I, decided to build the Great Tower (Latin: Turris Magna), possibly one of the first brick building in Warsaw.
In the middle of the 14th century the Castle Tower was built and its remains up to the first storey have survived to this day. During the reign over Masovia by Duke Janusz I the Elder, the Curia Maior (Big Manor) was erected between 1407 and 1410. Its facade, which was still standing in 1944, was knocked down by the Germans, but has been rebuilt since then. The character of the new residence and its size (47.5 m/14.5 m) decided the change of the buildings status, and from 1414 it functioned as a Prince Manor.
When the Masovia region was incorporated in the Kingdom of Poland in 1526, the edifice, which until then had been the Castle of the Dukes of Masovia, became one of the royal residences. From 1548 onwards Queen Bona Sforza resided in it with her daughters Izabela, who became Queen of Hungary, Catherine, later to become Queen of Sweden, and Anna Jagiellon, later Queen of Poland. In 1556–1557 and in 1564 the King of Poland, Sigismund II Augustus, convened royal parliaments in Warsaw. They met in the Castle. Following the Lublin Union (1569), by which the Polish Crown and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – were united as a single country, Warsaw Castle was regularly the place where the parliament of the Two-Nations State met. In 1569–1572 King Sigismund II Augustus started alterations in the Castle, the architects being Giovanni Battista di Quadro and Giacopo Pario.
The Curia Maior was altered so as provide a meeting place for the Parliament, with premises for the Chamber of Deputies (Sejm – delegates of the gentry) on the ground floor (the Old Chamber of Deputies), and the Senate Chamber (where the Senators debated in the presence of the King) on the first floor. This was one of the first attempts in Europe to create a building that would be used solely for parliamentary purposes. The parliamentary character of the Curia Maior is stressed by the paintings of the facade – the coats-of-arms of Poland, of Lithuania, and of the various regions from which the delegates were elected. A new Renaissance—style building, known as the "Royal House", was erected next to the Curia Maior. The king resided there when the parliament was in session.
Vasa period and the Deluge
The next alterations to the Castle were made in the reign of Sigismund III, who transferred the royal residence from Cracow to Warsaw. In 1598–1619 the Castle was enlarged. Giovanni Trevano was in charge of the reconstruction. His plans were probably amended by the Venetian architect Vincenzo Scamozzi.
Between 1601–1603 Giacomo Rodondo finished the new northern wing. From 1602 Paolo del Corte was doing stonework. Later after 1614, when Matteo Castelli took the lead, the western wing was built (from today's Plac Zamkowy side) as chancelleries and a marshals office. The southern wing was built at the end. In that way five-wings in a mannerist-early baroque style were built. In 1619 the New Royal Tower (Latin: Nova Turris Regia) also called Sigismund's Tower was finished. It was 60 meters high and was placed in the middle of a newly built west castle 90 meters in length. At the top of the tower, a clock with gilded hands and copper face was placed. The new tower's spire was 13 meters high and had glided knobs and a copper flag at the top.
The Polish king Sigismund III and his successors of the Vasa dynasty — Władysław IV Vasa and John II Casimir Vasa — collected many rich works of art in the castle, such as oriental fabrics, tapestries, and numerous paintings by such famous artists as Titian, Veronese, Jacopo, Leandro Bassano, Tintoretto, Palma il Giovane, Antonio Vassilacchi, Tommaso Dolabella, Guercino, Guido Reni, Joseph Heintz, Bartholomeus Spranger, Roelant Savery, Rembrandt, Pieter Soutman, Peter Danckerts de Rij, Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Daniel Seghers, Georg Daniel Schultz and sculptures by Giambologna, Giovanni Francesco Susini and Adriaen de Vries. These splendid works of art were either destroyed or plundered during the invasions of Poland by Sweden and Germans of Brandenburg during (The Deluge, in 1655–1657). The Swedes and Germans took all the priceless pictures, furniture, tapestries, the royal library, the crown archive, numerous sculptures, whole floors and royal flags. In the castle they had a military Lazareth field hospital, which additionally contributed to the devastation of the buildings. A few months later armies destroyed the rest, plundering most of the copper elements and tearing up the rest of castle's floor.
The majority of the preserved castle furnishings from the Vasa period found their place in the collection of the Visitationist Monastery in Warsaw as donations from the last Vasa, John II Casimir and his wife Marie Louise Gonzaga.
In 1628 the first Polish opera – Galatea, was staged at the Castle. The great opera hall (double-storied, over 50m long), which existed at the Royal Castle, was demolished by Swedes and Germans and rebuilt in the 1660s by King John II Casimir.
Late Baroque period
In 1657 the reconstruction of the castle started, under the Italian architect Izydor Affait's guidance. Because of the lack of money the following Polish king, Michael I Korybut did not decide on radical rebuilding, just limiting himself to rebuilding destroyed buildings. Because of bad conditions of the residence he had to move to Ujazdów Castle in 1669. Until 1696 when the next Polish king, John III Sobieski died, no serious works were done. They only limited work to current inspections of the building's condition. Sessions of Parliament continued to be held in the castle, as well as various State occasions, such as when the Hohenzollern Dukes of Prussia paid homage to the Kings of Poland and occasions when the king received the ambassadors of foreign countries.
After choosing Augustus II in an election in 1697, the castle again began to deteriorate. A new conflict with the King of Sweden, Charles XII significantly limited the king's budget. Despite problems, in 1698 Augustus II commissioned a residence reconstruction project. In 1700 it was done by Johann Friedrich Karcher, who came from abroad. On 25 May 1702 the Swedes re-seized the Royal Castle in Warsaw, creating a hospital with 500 beds, and into The Chamber of Deputies and ministers' rooms, they placed a stable. During the Polish army's siege in 1704 the castle was retaken. However, it was soon retaken once more by Sweden's army. In 1707, by virtue of the peace treaty between Augustus II and Charles XII of Sweden, Russian allied troops entered Warsaw, and Tsar Peter I of Russia settled in the castle. After two months, Russian forces were removed from Warsaw, taking with them works of art from the castle, including Tommaso Dolabella's pictures, which included two that were very important for Russians: The Defense of Smolensk and Russian Tsar Vasili IV compelled to kneel before Polish King Sigismund III of Poland. The Władysław's Opera Hall was completely devastated and was never restored.
The reconstruction according to Karcher's plans began from 1713–1715. In 1717 the Parliament Hall was completely rebuilt. It was used to serve the Saxon rulers as a coronation hall. During the following years, between 1722–1723, the other castle halls were converted-under the direction of architect Joachim Daniel von Jauch, the new Senate Chamber was built, and all the furnishings moved from the old to the new location, including among others: 60 Polish provincial emblems, panelling, mouldings and lesene. On 31 May 1732, a fire broke out in the castle destroying the west elevation and part of the Sigismund's Tower and the exterior façade sculptures, known as armature.
The next reconstruction project of the Royal Castle appeared after Augustus III took to the Polish throne in 1733. New plans, which were formed in 1734 and developed in 1737 by architect Gaetano Chiaveri, saw among other things, the reconstruction of the castle's façade on the Vistula side in the rococo style, which was meant to form a new so called Saxon elevation and also the conversion of the north-east part with the Altana Tower, where it was planned for 3 two-storey avant-corps (risalto) to be built on. The reconstruction work according to these plans was carried out with various intensity between 1740 and 1752. During the period of 1740–1747 the façade on the Vistula side was reconstructed in the late baroque style (architects: Gaetano Chiaveri, Carl Friedrich Pöppelmann, Jan Krzysztof Knöffel). One of the best sculptors who did work on the castle in this period was Jan Jerzy Plersch, who made the royal decorative frames, mouldings and statues called the Famous Figures, which held the royal crowns on the top of the middle risalto, of the Saxon elevation, on the Vistula side. The last reconstruction work of this period was finished by late 1763, after the death of Augustus III, when Plersch made the last sculptures and frames with province emblems for the Parliament Hall.
The Stanisław II Augustus period
The most splendid period in the history of the Castle was during the rule of Stanisław II Augustus (1764–1795). This monarch collected exquisite works of art, many of which have survived to this day. He recruited first-rate architects such as Jakub Fontana, Merlini, Kamsetzer, and Kubicki, to work on the castle, as well as splendid painters such as Marcello Bacciarelli, Bernardo Bellotto (otherwise known as Canaletto), Franciszek Smuglewicz, Kazimierz Wojniakowski, and Jean-Baptiste Pillement and eminent sculptors such as André le Brun and Jakub Monaldi, and famous French artists such as the architect Victor Louis. The total reconstruction of the castle planned by the king did not come to fruition, but the interior was changed to the neoclassical style – although this, known in Poland as the Stanisław Augustus style, was rather different from neo—classicism in the rest of Europe.
During 1766–1785 on the basis of Jakub Fontana's plans, the southern wing of the castle, which was burnt on 15 December 1767 was rebuilt (2 destroyed floors, a new elevation on the south side with three avant-corps or risalti, the division of the façade by lesene and pilasters with Ionic capitals). Between 1774 and 1777 the monarch's private apartments were furnished. They consisted of the Prospect Room (with landscapes by Canaletto), the Chapel, the Audience Chamber, and the Bedchamber, while between 1779 and 1786 the Senate Apartments were completed, consisting of the Ballroom, the Knights Hall, the Throne Room, the Marble Room, and the Conference Chamber. These rooms contained pictures and sculptures depicting great events in Poland's history, as well as portraits of Polish kings, generals, statesmen and scholars (including Copernicus and Adam Naruszewicz). In 1777, a gilded bronze altar presented to king Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski by Pope Clement XIV, was installed in the new Chapel of the Royal Castle, so-called Saxon Chapel (today's concert hall). The Castle also housed the rich royal collections including 3200 pictures, classical statues, about 100 000 graphics, in addition to medals, coins, and a fine library, to house which a separate building was erected in 1780–1784. The new library building housed many books, gems, drawings, coins, maps and plans belonging to the monarch. The Royal Library's book collection amounted to 16 000 volumes of various works, 25,525 drawings, 44,842 etchings in 726 bound volumes, overall a number of 70,000 etchings—fancy dress balls were also held in this hall.
Up until 1786 Stanisław II Augustus tried a few times to change the outside decor of the Castle and to build an architectural castle square, he was not however successful in carrying out these plans.
During this period, the Castle was the place where the ideas of the Polish Enlightenment first flourished. The king held "Thursday lunches" at the Castle, for scientists, scholars, writers and artists. This was where the idea for the National Education Commission; one of the first secular Ministries of Education in Europe, was mooted. The Castle was the place where the first proposals were made for a Knights' School, and for a national theatre. It was in the Senate Chamber in the Castle that what was known as the "Great Sejm" (Great Parliament) passed the famous Polish Constitution of 3 May, 1791. During the ceremony the King was carried out to the nearby church of St. John. In honour of this occasion a marble plaque with Ignacy Krasicki's text written on it was set into the wall of the Castle.
In partitioned Poland and the Second Republic
Between 19–20 December 1806 and 1–30 January 1807, Napoleon Bonaparte, the French emperor, spent his time at the Castle. Here in 1807 he made the decision to form a Warsaw duchy, which was to be ruled by the Saxon prince Frederick August I, using the Royal castle as his residence. Prince Józef Poniatowski, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army and Marshal of France, resided in the Copper-Roof Palace joined to the Castle. After the creation of the constitutional Kingdom of Poland (1815) its parliaments met here at the Castle. As Kings of Poland, the Russian Tsars Alexander I and Nicholas I also resided in the castle when they stayed in Warsaw. During the November Uprising, on 25 January 1831, the Sejm debating in the castle dethroned Tsar of Russia, Nicholas I as Polish king.
In 1836, after abolishing the division into voivodeships in the Congress Poland, they were replaced by the guberniyas. During that time, the Royal Castle became the residence of the Tsar's governor Ivan Paskievich. Paskievich charged Ludvik Corio – a Russian Colonel and architect – with designing new elevations and facades (the west, south and east parts). However, Russian authorities were not satisfied with the new designs and Corio was told to prepare another design – one that would refer to Kubicki's solutions (and his co-workers Lelewel and Thomas). Finally, Corio rebuilt all the elevations and facades in the neoclassical style, but the Saxon Elevation was left the same. After the death of Paskievich in 1856, all the next governors resided in the Royal Castle's Chamberlain's Room. The Russian officials occupied rooms on both floors of the west and north wings of the castle. The governors were heavily guarded by the Russian army. Unfortunately, the living space that was assigned to these soldiers was the Parliamentary Hall, Library and barracks under the Castle. As a result, these were left devastated.
After the January Uprising in 1863, the Russian army totally destroyed the Royal garden on the Vistula side (which was transformed into the military parade square), building a few barracks made of brick for stables and Cossacks' barracks. In 1862–1863 some maintenance work was done in the Royal Castle under the supervision of Jerzy Orłowicz, Ludwik Gosławski and Potolov. In 1890 the Saxon Elevation was rebuilt under the supervision of a builder January Kiślański, when the arcades of both viewing galleries, dating back to the August III period, were deformed. The last repair works, which cost 28 000 rubles, during the reign of Russia, were in 1902 in the rooms which had been occupied by the Russian army.
During the First World War it was the residence of the German military governor. After Poland regained her independence in 1918, the Castle became the residence of the President of Poland. It was lovingly restored under the guidance of Kazimierz Skórewicz (1920–1928) and Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz (until 1939). Under the terms of the Peace Treaty signed with Soviet Russia at Riga in 1920, works of art and other precious things, including all the castle furnishings, which had been taken away to Russia, were brought back to Poland. As a result, it was possible to restore the historic rooms to their appearance in the reign of Stanisław II Augustus.
During World War II
On 17 September 1939, the Castle was shelled by German artillery. The roof and the turrets were destroyed by fire (they were partly restored by the Castle's staff, but later deliberately removed by the Germans). The ceiling of the Ballroom collapsed, resulting in the destruction of Bacciarelli's ceiling fresco The Creation of the World and other rooms were slightly damaged. But immediately after the seizure of Warsaw by the Germans, their occupation troops set to demolish the castle. The more valuable objects, even including the central heating and ventilation installations, were dismantled and taken away to Germany.
On 4 October 1939 in Berlin, Adolf Hitler issued the order to blow up the Royal Castle. On 10 October 1939, special German units, under the supervision of history and art experts (Dr. Dagobert Frey, an art historian at the University of Breslau; Gustaw Barth, the director of museums in Breslau, and Dr. Joseph Mühlmann, an art historian from Vienna) started to demount floor, marbles, sculptures and stone elements such as fireplaces or moulds. The artefacts were taken to Germany or stored in Kraków's warehouses. Many of them were also seized by various Nazi dignitaries who resided in Warsaw. The Castle was totally emptied. Disobeying German orders, despite the danger of being shot, Polish museum staff and experts in art restoration managed to save many of the works of art from the castle, as well as fragments of the stucco-work, the parquet floors, the wood panelling, and more which were later used in the reconstruction. The great service done to Poland by Professor Stanisław Lorentz, in leading this campaign to save the castle's treasures, is well known. Wehrmacht sappers then bored tens of thousands of holes for dynamite charges in the stripped walls.
In 1944, after the collapse of the Warsaw Uprising, when hostilities had already ceased, the Germans blew up the Castle's demolished walls. Leveling the Royal Castle was only a part of a larger plan – the Pabst Plan – the goal of which was to build a monumental Community Hall (ger. Volkshalle) or an equally sizable Congress Hall of NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party – ger. Parteivolkshalle) in the Royal Castle's place and to replace the Sigismund's Column with the Germania Monument.
A pile of rubble, surmounted by only two fragments of walls, was all that was left of the six-hundred-year-old edifice. On one of these fragments part of the stucco decoration remained, this was a cartouche with the royal version of the motto of the Order of the White Eagle — "PRO FIDE, LEGE ET REGE" (for Faith, Law, and King).
Immediately after the end of war in 1945, work started on rescuing the surviving fragments of the castle's walls, foundations, and cellars as well as the fire-blackened walls of the Copper-Roof Palace and the Royal Library building, from further destruction. In 1949 the Polish Parliament passed a bill to rebuild the Castle as a monument to Polish history and culture. Meanwhile, special architectural designing offices, under Jan Dąbrowski, Piotr Biegański and Jan Zachwatowicz, drew up blueprints for restoring the framework of the building and furnishing the historical rooms. The decision to start work was postponed several times, but was finally taken on 20 January 1971. A Civic Committee was set up. Amid universal applause it was decided to rebuild the castle from voluntary contributions. Both, in Poland and abroad fund-raising committees were set up.
By May 1975 the Fund had already reached the 500 million złotys. By the same date more than a thousand valuable works of art had been given to the Castle by numerous Poles resident both in Poland and abroad. Official representatives of other countries have likewise presented to the Castle works of art of great artistic and historic value.
The Castle today
The imposing façade, built of brick, is 90 metres (300 ft) long and faces the Castle Square. At each end of the façade stands a square tower with a bulbous spire. The Sigismund's Tower is located in the centre of the main façade, flanked on both sides by the castle. This huge clock tower (60 metres (200 ft) in height) designed in the sixteenth century, has always been a symbol of the Polish capital and source of inspiration for the architects of other buildings in Warsaw. 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 also held in the Royal Castle.
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.
- The Jagiellonian Rooms
These 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 Lithuania that reigned in some Central European countries between the 14th and 16th century. In 2011 the Jagiellonian Rooms were re-arranged to house the modern Gallery of Painting, Sculpture and Decorative Arts.
- The Houses of Parliament
From the 16th century onwards, Polish democracy started here. In 1573, amendments to the constitution of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth were written here, with great religious tolerance. Also, during the Deluge in 1652, the liberum veto was established in these rooms, although not carried out until 1669. In 1791, the May Constitution, Europe's first modern codified national constitution as well as the second-oldest national constitution in the world, was drafted here. The decorations in the room are replicas of the originals by Giovanni Battista di Quadro.
- The Royal Apartments
In these apartments, King Stanisław Augustus Poniatowski lived. They consist of the Canaletto room, in which several painted views of Warsaw are on display. These were not painted by Canaletto, but rather by his nephew, Bernardo Bellotto also called il Canaletto. Jean-Baptiste Pillement worked between 1765–1767 on one of his largest projects, the wallpaper. Domenico Merlini designed the adjacent Royal Chapel in 1776. Nowadays, the heart of Tadeusz Kościuszko is kept here in an urn. The Audience Rooms are also designed by Merlini, with four paintings by Marcello Bacciarelli on display. Andrzej Grzybowski took care of the restoration of the room, that included many original pieces.
- Lanckoroński Collection
In 1994 Countess Karolina Lanckorońska donated 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) both originally in the Stanisław Augustus Poniatowski collection.
In December 2018, the Castle acquired a violin created by Antonio Stradivari in 1685. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence, the instrument was officially given the name Polonia. The virtuoso violinist Jerzy Wawrowski is the only person who is allowed to play on the instrument.
In December 2018, a painting by Marcello Bacciarelli titled Portrait of Jerzy Mniszech with Daughter Elizabeth and Kiopek (1795), which was considered missing, was returned to the Castle's collections.
Portrait of Charles I Stuart, Anthony van Dyck, ca.1638
Adam and Eve, Lucas Cranach the Elder, ca. 1528
Saint John the Baptist, Joos van Cleve, ca.1540
Portrait of George III of the United Kingdom in Parliament Robes, Thomas Gainsborough, 1785
Portrait of Pélagie Sapieżyna-Potocka, Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, 1794
Country Doctor, David Teniers the Younger, second half of 17th century
Portrait of Pope Pius VI, Pompeo Batoni, ca.1780
Queen Constance of Austria, Jakob Troschel, 1624
Ceremonial sword of the Saint Stanislaw's Order, 1764
The Copper-Roof Palace has since 1989 been a branch of the Royal Castle Museum. The palace is contiguous with Warsaw's Royal Castle, and down a slope from the Castle Square and Old Town. It was originally a patrician house of Wawrzyniec Reffus, it was built 1651–1656. After 1657 destruction by the army of George II Rákóczi, it was completely remodeled in 1698–1701 for Jerzy Dominik Lubomirski.
Lubomirski expanded the palace by building a southern wing, perpendicular to the rest of structure, and also expanded the western elevation. Shortly after its construction the palace became known as Palais Martin, after Lubomirski's grandson. In 1720 the palace was rebuilt with an addition of a second northern wing. Additionally the interior was decorated with rococo paintings. After 1777 the palace passed into ownership of Poland's last king, Stanisław II Augustus, who hired the architect Domenico Merlini to once again redesign the inside rooms of the palace and join the library wing of the Royal Castle to it. The king then made a present of the redecorated place to his nephew Prince Józef Poniatowski The younger Poniatowski was a successful commander in the 1794 Kościuszko Uprising, and later one of Napoleon Bonaparte's marshals. Under his ownership the palace became a center of Warsaw's high class social scene. When Warsaw became part of Kingdom of Prussia after the Third Partition of Poland the buildings became the headquarters for the Prussian Ministry of War.
Currently the palace is a museum hosting, inter alia, a permanent exhibition of oriental carpets and other oriental decorative art, donated to the museum by Mrs. Teresa Sahakian. The collection comprises 579 items, 562 of which are textiles.
- On 24 May 1829 in the Royal Castle's Senator's Hall, Nicholas I of Russia was crowned King of Poland.
- On 5 November 1916, the Act of 5 November was announced in the Grand Hall.
- On 23 April 1935, the April Constitution was signed in the Knight Hall.
- Stanisław Augustus 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 aquamarine sceptre.
- The insignia of presidential power are also stored in the Castle- the stamp of the President, the Jack of the President of the Republic of Poland and national documents, which Ryszard Kaczorowski gave to Lech Wałęsa on 22 December 1990.
- Many of the Polish legends are connected with the Royal Castle. According to one of them in 1569 the King Sigismund Augustus, who was in mourning after death of his beloved wife Barbara Radziwiłł, asked the renowned sorcerer Master Twardowski to evoke her ghost. The experiment was successful with support of a magic mirror, which today is kept in the Węgrów Cathedral. Despite that some people suspected that it was not the Queen's ghost but closely resembling her king's mistress Barbara Giżanka and the whole event was set up by Giżanka's accomplice Mikołaj Mniszech, king's chamberlain.
- The Royal Castle in Warsaw is one of the official members of the Association of European Royal Residences.
- In 2014, the National Bank of Poland issued a 5 zloty coin in a series called "Discover Poland" depicting the Royal Castle in Warsaw.
In 1979, the historic Gateway Theatre in the Jefferson Park community area of Chicago was purchased by the Copernicus Foundation with 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 remodelled and a Neo-Baroque clock tower was added to give it the resemblance of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. It is a visual tribute to Chicago's large Polish populace, the largest such presence outside of the Republic of Poland.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Royal Castle Warsaw.|
- "History of Royal Castle – official website". 16 May 2010.
- "Sale Sejmowe". zamek-krolewski.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 18 July 2008.
- "Zamek Królewski w Warszawie – Pomnik Historii i Kultury Narodowej". zamek-krolewski.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 22 July 2008.
- Ewa Suchodolska. "Zamek książąt mazowieckich (ok. 1300 – 1526)". zamek-krolewski.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 10 March 2013.
Znaczenie Warszawy potwierdzają wystawiane tam dokumenty, jak również świadectwo wysłanników papieskich. W 1339 r. postrzegają oni tu ważny, a zarazem bezpieczny ośrodek, w którym książę często przebywa ze swym dworem i sprawuje sądy. (...) Na początku XV w. Janusz I rozpoczął w Warszawie budowę okazałego domu książęcego (nazywanego w dokumentach Curia Maior lub Curia ducalis) co tłumaczy się jako Dwór Wielki (książęcy) lub Dom Duży.
- Marek Wrede. "Zamek Jagiellonów i pierwszych królów elekcyjnych (1526–1586)". zamek-krolewski.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 24 March 2013.
(...) w 1526 roku miała miejsce druga, dużo ważniejsza królewska wizyta w Warszawie. Do miasta, w drodze z Gdańska do Krakowa, zjechał z licznym orszakiem Zygmunt I. Objął w posiadanie Zamek i całą mazowiecką dzielnicę jako spadek po bezpotomnie zmarłych piastowskich lennikach (...) Po śmierci króla Zygmunta I w 1548 roku Bona przeniosła się na stałe na Mazowsze. (...) Włoski architekt Giovanni Battista Quadro z Lugano (twórca renesansowego ratusza poznańskiego), współpracujący początkowo z Jacopem Pario z Bisone, przekształcił średniowieczne zabudowania zamkowe (...) Rozbudowano dawną rezydencję książęcą – Dwór Wielki przekształcając ją w gmach sejmowy. (...) Od północy dobudowano posadowiony na wysokiej piwnicy Nowy Dom Królewski z zewnętrzną okrągłą klatką "wschodów kręconych". (...) Lubelski sejm 1569 roku wyznaczył Warszawę i Zamek na stałe miejsce obrad sejmu zjednoczonej Rzeczypospolitej.
- Peter K. Gessner (15 September 1993). "Warsaw's Glorious Royal Castle". info-poland.buffalo.edu. Archived from the original on 26 November 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
Later, King Zygmunt August held meetings of the Polish parliament there. In 1569, after the Union of Poland and Lithuania, Warsaw, conveniently equidistant from Krakow and Vilno, the two capitals, became the permanent location for such meetings which took place at the Zamek. (...) The King's architect at the start of this period was Jakub Fontana (1710–1773). (...) Above the line of the Royal paintings, against a background of trophies, hang Bacciarelli's portraits of 10 Polish men of note (Copernicus, Hodkiewicz, Cromerus ... ) (...) On 3 May 1791 the Sejm enacted a new constitution in the Senate Chamber (4), the first one to be enacted in Europe and one proclaiming equality.
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Król w swej nie ukończonej jeszcze, północnej rezydencji zamieszkał na jesieni w 1611 roku. Od tego czasu Warszawa – centrum parlamentarne oraz siedziba króla i centralnych urzędów. (...) Twórcami jej byli włoscy architekci: Giovanni Trevano, Giacomo Rodondo, Paolo de la Corte oraz Mateo Castello. (...) W skrzydle południowym powstał przed rokiem 1637 zespół sal z głęboką sceną i widownią wyposażonych w instrumentarium pozwalające wystawiać przedstawienia w bogatej barokowej scenografii. (...) Wiosnę 1656 roku administracja szwedzka rozpoczęła planową grabież i dewastację. Wywożono wszystkie cenne rzeczy – obrazy, rzeźby, meble także marmurowe posadzki, kominki i fontanny ogrodowe. Wnętrza zamkowe używane jako lazarety i stajnie zostały kompletnie zdewastowane. Trzy okupacje (tym ostatnia siedmiogrodzka) położyły kres wspaniałości wazowskiej rezydencji.
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