For centuries, Warsaw was the home of Polish rulers. Learn about the Warsaw of their times and visit elegant palaces and gardens, in particular the impressive residences on the Royal Route: the Royal Castle, Royal Łazienki Park and Wilanów Palace.
In the Royal Castle, the seat of Polish rulers from the 16th century, you will see valuable exhibits, including royal insignia, royal thrones and paintings by Rembrandt, Canaletto and Matejko. Towering above Castle Square is a column commemorating King Sigismund III Vasa, which is the oldest secular monument in Warsaw and the first column of a lay person erected in modern Europe. Head towards the Vistula River to rest in the two-level castle gardens with elements of garden art from different periods.
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Krasiński Palace and Garden
Krasiński Palace is the most illustrious Baroque residence of the aristocracy. It was built at the end of the 18th century, and the surrounding garden is a great place for a walk. There you will find beautiful alleys and flower beds, a fountain as well as places to relax or to have a game of chess. Look out for the restored Baroque entrance gate from Bohaterów Getta (Heroes of the Ghetto) street.
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This is the largest of Warsaw’s palaces. Built in the 17th century, it had various functions: from a place of public gatherings, balls and theatre performances to the seat of state authorities. At the beginning of the 19th century, Napoleon Bonaparte was here, as well as eight-year-old Fryderyk Chopin, who gave his first concert in the palace. Currently, the building is home to Poland’s president. The entrance to the palace is guarded by a statue of Prince Józef Poniatowski and four stone lions.
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Piłsudski square and Saxon Garden
The vast square was the courtyard of the Saxon Palace, erected in the 18th century, the residence of the kings Augustus II the Strong and Augustus III. Only a fragment of the middle part survived the World War II. It is in that place that soldiers perform an honour guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Just behind it is the Saxon Garden – the first public city garden in Poland. Look out for the beautiful Baroque sculptures, the 19th-century sundial and the fountain that was created as part of the first water supply network in the city.
Kazimierzowski Palace is located on the campus of the University of Warsaw. Picturesquely located on the edge of the Vistula embankment, the building initially served as a royal villa in the suburbs. The kings John II Casimir and John III Sobieski with his wife Marie Casimire resided there as well as kings from the Saxon dynasty. However, King Stanisław Augustus Poniatowski transformed the property into a university for young nobles and gave it the name of the Knights School. In the years 1817-1831, the building was home to the Warsaw Lyceum, which Fryderyk Chopin attended.
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The construction of Ujazdowski Castle was started in the 17th century by King Sigismund III Vasa, who made it his summer residence. It now houses the Centre for Contemporary Art. Check out exhibitions of artists from Poland and abroad, and take part in theatre, music and literary events.
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Royal Łazienki Museum
In the park in Łazienki you will find an orangery, an amphitheatre and a Chinese garden. It is worth visiting the classicist Palace on the Island, which holds paintings from the collection of King Stanisław August Poniatowski. If you’re in Warsaw in the summer, take part in the famous Sunday Chopin Concerts at the Fryderyk Chopin monument.
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Museum of King John III’s Palace in Wilanów
The Baroque pearl of Warsaw, called the ‘Polish Versailles’, was the summer residence of King John III Sobieski and his beloved wife Marie Casimire, often called ‘Marysieńka’. The palace is above all an attractive museum of interiors from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries along with the Polish Portrait Gallery. The palace gardens are ideal for walkers, runners and families. If you visit Wilanów park in the winter, look at the amazing illuminations, which will make you feel like you are in a royal court.
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