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Wilanow Palace, Warsaw, Poland

If you want to write fairy tales, or be inspired to create cartoons in the style of Disney movies about princesses, then you just need to visit Wilanów Palace (Pałac w Wilanowie) in Warsaw.

History of Wilanów palace began in 1677 when Polish king Jan III Sobieski decided to build a residence in a small village - near Warsaw. Originally the palace was called Villa Nova, but with time the name changed to Wilanów. The small village also has changed over time – Warsaw expanded, swallowed the village and surrounded the palace complex. Today, the entire district where the palace is located is called Wilanów.

The building was constructed from 1677 to 1698 by Augustyn Locci, who built a modest one-story estate building at first. But after a few years the king decided to turn the estate into a summer residence. For this purpose masters from all over Europe were invited. The result of their work is stunning with its luxury and beauty to our days.

The Palace represents a mix of elements from Polish palace mansions with side towers, Italian country villas and French palaces with gardens and two oblong wings on the sides of the court. The building is richly decorated with busts and statues of Roman emperors and empresses, gods and goddesses.

After the death of Jan Sobieski palace had been under the control of different noble families. Each owner brought his own changes to the palace. For example Stanislaw Potocki opened a museum in the palace, which was one of the first public museums in Poland and operates to this day. Today the museum has two main parts. One of them represents a collection of Polish monarchs’ portraits, including a portrait of Potocki, made by famous Jacques-Louis David. The second part of the museum includes exposition of the royal apartments and rooms. Potocki also reconstructed the church of St. Anne (included in the complex) and built a family tomb.

The palace was looted repeatedly (in 1733 by Russian troops, by Germans during the First and Second World Wars) and then renovated. As a result, the architectural style of the building represents a mixture of elements from Western European architecture and Polish architectural traditions. However, despite all the changes made, the palace is considered as the pearl of the Polish Baroque and has distinct baroque characteristics.

By Anna Pambukhchyan,


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