Saturday, 1 March 2014

Royal Castle of Warsaw

I believe that I have taken you more than once to the Old Town in Warsaw. But it seems that I have never taken you inside the Royal Castle.

Big mistake of mine! I am still on my way - let's keep it as a surprise but I am flying back to Asia now. I have however found out that Mike is still in Warsaw and he has agreed to be your tour guide around this amazing place. So enjoy and see you next week!
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Hello everybody, it's Mike again. Since I am back to Warsaw and the weather is nice, I decided to take a walk in the Old Town, down the city walls.

On the other side of this paved road there is a moat that is more or less the limit of the Old Town of Warsaw in the strict sense, as approved by UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site.

The Royal Castle stands, no surprise, on the Castle square, walled by nice residential buildings.

Next to the castle there is a tunnel that leads to one of the bridges over the Vistula river.

The reason why the castle and the various buildings around it are so special is that they were all destroyed by bombs during World War II. Here you can spot the difference.

Its reconstruction started in 1971 and lasted almost fifteen years. Today, we can again admire the castle in its full beauty.

Let's take the gate just below the clock and enter the inner courtyard.

As you have probably guessed, in the old days the castle used to be a royal residence. Today it is a museum that houses the remainings of the past glory. Unfortunately many pieces of art were lost during centuries, stolen or destroyed during many wars endured by the castle. The last one was of course the worst one. Still, you can admire the Brussels tapestries dating from the middle of the sixteenth century.

The candelabras and chandeliers are not always authentic - in some cases only a small part was rescued from bombs and thieves. But you can get an idea of what the place looked like a few centuries ago.

The paintings on the ceilings are of course reproduced recently. No walls remained after the bombing.

Also the paintings and the sculptures are not in all cases historical, at least not entirely. But the employees of the castle back in 1939 made miracles to save whatever they could.

Obviously in a royal castle the most important part is the place where the kings lived. You can see a reconstruction of the royal dining room ...

... and the royal bedroom.

Here comes the chapel ...

... and the gambling room. Great floor, isn't it?

I was however most impressed by the royal thrones. I actually found four of them. But maybe there are some more, who knows? This one is in the Old Audience Chamber. I think it is the most modest of all.

This one in the Council Chamber, a place where the Permanent Council were held. It was a kind of government, with the king as prime minister.

Then comes the Senate Chamber, where of course the Senate or the upper chamber of the parliament was meeting.

And since the king was leading such meetings he needed yet another throne.

I was a bit surprised to find out that the lower chamber of the parliament, the Deputies' Chamber, was also having its room in the castle. But no throne this time. And the banks did not seem very comfortable. Maybe it is a good idea in the end that could speed up the legislative process.

Finally comes the Throne Room. The white eagle is the national symbol of Poland. they were embroidered with silver thread.

In the basement of the castle you can watch some installations and exhibitions about the history of the building and its reconstruction. You can also see what has remained of the original walls. Not so much unfortunately.

But remember the shape the place had in 1945.

I hope that you have enjoyed this little tour. We can leave the castle by the side porch and take a nice walk around the old town - in the back you can spot the Sigismung Column, commemorating Sigismund III Vasa, the king who has turned Warsaw into the capital city of Poland.

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Thanks Mike! See you next week my friends for another exciting trip.

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