Wawel Royal Castle

Wawel Royal Castle 400
Wawel Royal Castle
Photo by: Metaphox, Creative Commons

If you’re interested in castles, visit Wawel Royal Castle and take in its story, and its history.

Located in Krakow, Wawel Royal Castle was the center of Poland’s culture and politics until the 16th century. It started out as a small residence built by King Boleslaw Chrobry. Later, it was turned into a Gothic castle by King Kazimierz Weilki, but it burned down in 1499. King Zygmunt Stary then took over. In a span of 30 years, Italian architects built a magnificent Renaissance palace. The castle has managed to avoid further destruction and is preserved to this day. It is known for its beautiful arcaded courtyard, which has a rather impressive layout.

The castle was recovered by the Polish after the first World War and immediately began restoration until World War II. Restoration resumed after the war and the people were able to recover a good part of the castle’s earlier exterior and its interior decoration.

Like many other castles, Wawel Royal Castle is now a museum. Separated into five sections, each section requiring a different ticket, valid for a specific time of the day only. The sections include the State Rooms, the Royal Private Apartments and the Crown Treasury and Armory. There is a daily quota on the number of visitors in some sections, so arrive early if you want to see everything or call for reservations. There are certain periods throughout the year where individual visitors can take the tour free, but they have to have “free admission” tickets to get in. The castle is closed on New Year’s Day, the Easter weekend, November 1st and the 11th, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Random Fact:
A chunk from one of the castle’s columns was incorporated into the upper-left part of the Chicago Tribune Tower’s main entrance. It is a visual tribute to the Polish community in Chicago, which is the largest outside of Poland.

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