Royal Castle, Warsaw, Poland
Royal Castle in Warsaw (Zamek Królewski w Warszawie) stands on the Castle Square – on the line between architectural modernism and the Old Town of Warsaw. The palace served as the residence of Polish kings. It is the building where in 1791 constitution of Rzeczpospolita was signed, and where in 1829 Russian Emperor Nicholas I was crowned as the king of Poland.
The castle was built by the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund III in 1598-1618. Royal Castle is the main symbol of Polish independence. It is for this reason that the Nazi forces bombed and severely damaged the building in September 1939. However, employees of the castle, under the leadership of Professor Stanislaw Lorentz, risking their lives under German fire, managed to rescue part of the elements of the castle’s interior - paintings, statues, decorations, even the doors - all that was possible to move. In 1944, after the Warsaw Uprising, the Nazis completely mined and destroyed the building. During the next few decades, Polish intelligentsia and citizens demanded the reconstruction and revival of the castle from the Soviet leadership.
Reconstruction of the building began in 1971 and lasted until 1988 - under the leadership of Professor Jan Boguslawski. Reconstruction was fully funded thanks to the generosity of ordinary citizens. Originally the castle had the pentagonal form with an inner courtyard, and towered over the city, thanks to its 60 meter high tower, named after Sigismund III. Today’s reconstructed building almost looks like what castle was in the 17th century. The outside walls built from brown- orange bricks and don’t have impressive view. Facade of the palace is facing the Castle Square. In the center of the facade is located the Sigismund’s Tower. The building has spacious and richly decorated halls, where today paintings, coins and Oriental carpets are exhibited. Especially beautiful has the Assembly Hall, with its painted ceiling, as well as a modest but classic Throne hall.
The history of salvation of the castle’s inner elements and reconstruction of the building gives us reason to call this castle not only the symbol of independence, but also symbol of generosity and courage of the Polish people.
By Anna Pambukhchyan, www.building.am