Royal Castle in Warsaw
Royal Castle in Warsaw = Zamek Królewski w Warszawie. Begun as the Castle of the Dukes of Masovia. Restyled and enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries. Rebuilt in 1971-1984 after destruction in World War II. DSC_0964
Today was a free day in Warsaw before the tour officially began. Susan and I planned to explore the old town and visit Warsaw Castle. While the tour would later make a stop there, ti would not go inside the castle as we planned to do.
As is typical of European hotels, breakfast was a wide-ranging buffet mean to suit every taste and breakfast tradition. A difference in in Poland was all the delicious breads that were provided. Also, there were unique Polish breakfast items such as Salceson,
head cheese, Smalec
, a lard spread and Synka Mysliwska
, slices of smoked ham.
We took a taxi to the Old Town, Stare Miasto.
The cab left us off at Midowa and Krakowskie Przedmieście at the foot of old town square. Old town square is a pedestrian precinct. The two blocks from here to Warsaw castle is the "Royal Route". We walked up the street to the Royal Castle in Warsaw (Zamek Królewski w Warszawie
) and purchased our entrance tickets. The tour was self-guided.
The Royal Castle in Warsaw began as the castle of the Dukes of Masovia. It was restyled and enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries and replace
Sigismund's Column (Kolumna Zygmunta III Wazy) in Castle Square. "The column and statue commemorate King Sigismund III Vasa, who in 1596 had moved Poland's capital from Kraków to Warsaw". Installed in 1644, reconstructed in 1949. Palace Square - Plac Zamkowy. DSC_0207
Wawel Castle in Krakow as the seat of Poland's monarchs. The castle was the seat of the Russian governor during the period of partition, 1795-1918. The castle was completely destroyed during World War II. Photographs in the entrance show piles of rubble where the castle and Castle Square (Plac Zamkowy) are located. The castle was rebuilt in its in its 17th century appearance in 1971-1984. (Some decorative items had been rescued before the destruction.)
The interior tour first leads through the the Great Apartment with the Throne Room and then the Royal Apartments. In the Royal Apartments is the Canaletto Room, with a collection of Canaletto's paintings of Warsaw. (Lest you think he only painted Venice.) Canaletto's 22 views of Warsaw and the Royal Castle were invaluable in the postwar reconstruction of Old Town Warsaw. After the apartments is the Lanckorońska Collection, an art collection including two Rembrandts and portraits of Polish monarchs and nobility. There is also a large collection of Polish decorative arts. In the basement is the tiled and vaulted Deputies' Chamber. Outside in the courtyard are views of the towers of the castle.
Returning to Castle Square
Great Assembly Hall
During the reign of Stanislaus Augustus this room was used for state ceremonies. Royal Castle in Warsaw. The Great Apartment. IMG_5232
after touring the Royal Castle, we explored a bit of the old town. In one direction was St. John's Archcathedral. Built in the 14th century in Masovian Gothic style, its façade has a surprisingly modernist appearance. The Gothic exterior was embellished over the years, but the church was largely destroyed during World War II. The exterior was restored to its original Medieval appearance, but the interior is entirely modern. Adjacent is the Jesuit Church (Church of the Gracious Mother of God). This church was builtin the Polish Mannerist style and consecrated in 1627. It was also destroyed during World War II and rebuilt with the original late Renaissance façade but a modern interior.
Right across the street from the two church was Restauracja Zapiecek. It looked like a good choice for lunch, and it certainly was! We shared a pierogi sampler and I had Polish sour rye soup (Żurek
) and sausage. Żurek
soup was a major discovery for me and I ordered it whenever I could during our tour through Poland. After uch, we walked back along Krakowskie Przedmieście.
Returning to the hotel in the afternoon, I was up for a bit more exploration around the Frascati neighborhood.
Great Assembly Hall
During the reign of Stanislaus Augustus this room was used for state ceremonies. Royal Castle in Warsaw. The Great Apartment. IMG_5233p1
Heading east along Hoźa I arrived at Three Crosses Square (Plac Trzech Krzyży
). The square takes its name from three crosses, one atop St. Alexander's Church and two atop marble columns in the square. A statue of St. John of Nepomunk was added in 1752. St. Alexander's Church faces the square and dominates the view. Kościół św. Aleksandra
was built in the neoclassical style (after the Pantheon) and consecrated in 1826. Twin towers and a larger some were added in 1895. The church was largely destroyed during World War II. It was rebuilt in 1952 after the original, less elaborate, plan. I went in inside and found a compact round church with the altar in an apse. Turning north on Nowy Świat, I reached Aleje Jerozolimskie, a major thoroughfare with busy tram lines. Here, surprisingly, was Rondo Charles’a de Gaulle’a
, a roundabout named for Charles de Gaulle. A state of de Gaulle stands on one corner. It commemorates de Gaulle's assistance to Poland in 1919-1920 during the Polish Soviet War as a member of the French Military Mission to Poland. Another memorial here is the Monument to the Partisans. Nearby is the National Museum in Warsaw which would have have
Portrait of Casimir III the Great
Marble Room. Portrait of Casimir III the Great (Kazimierz III Wielki), King of Poland, 1333-1370. Royal Castle in Warsaw. The Great Apartment.
liked to visit, but time ran out.
At the Winestone restaurant that evening we met Monika, our guide for the Collette coach tour of Poland. Other members of the tour soon filtered in.
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