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Visit Wawel Royal Castle

Wawel Castle is one of the famous monuments of Krakow, as well as a well-known landmark of Poland. As the Polish castle complexes go, the Wawel is large and significant. This protected fortification, which includes a castle and a cathedral, overlooks the Vistula River on a raised rock. 

Like a lot of other castles in Eastern Europe, the place to build this construction was discovered by the first inhabitants of this region as a site that could offer critical defensive advantages. With the Vistula on one side and the rising climb, which gives a perfect panorama of the surroundings, the dwellers of Wawel Hill could see the intrusions before they arrived, and were able to perfectly defend themselves due to the advantages of the river.

Similarly to other strongholds in Poland and Europe, Wawel Castle consists of constructions from different ages, and the initial buildings were replaced by more durable, beautifying structures. Indications suggest that Wawel Hill was inhabitable since the 7th century, and since then Polish rulers resided there and the whole country was run from the Castle. These rulers were making changes in the Wawel Castle complex to suit shifting styles and their own tastes. When Poland was able to restore the Wawel Castle, damaged or impaired constructions were finally able to go back to the glorious look they used to have.

Foreigners who regularly invaded Poland did not like the castle. After the Great Northern War, the Swedes burned it down, and the Austrians looted it and turned it into barracks. Then they decided to rebuild the castle into a fortress. But in 1905 the Poles bought the Wawel from the Austrian Empire and began the restoration.

For example, up till now, 30 original famous Wawel heads sculptures have survived, which Adolf Shyshko-Bogush returned to the reconstructed castle halls. Besides, the conservative cherished the idea of ​​filling the unoccupied space of the ceiling with modern sculptures, which were commissioned by Wawel in 1925-1929 carved by one of the leading Polish sculptors Xawery Dunikowski. The artist decided to create portraits of prominent Polish personalities for the Village Hall - for example, Adam Mickiewicz or Frederic Chopin. Meanwhile, the castle management changed the concept of reconstruction of the Wawel Renaissance halls and did not place Dunikowski's sculptures in the cassettes.

In the largest hall of the Wawel, the Senate, were held sessions of the Senate, important court celebrations, as well as theatrical performances and balls. Its walls are decorated with arras from the collection of Sigismund Augustus (son of Sigismund the Old) based on Old Testament stories. Arras, or tapestry - fabrics for wall decoration, the Polish name of which comes from the French city of Arras, which specializes in the production of such luxury items. They played both a decorative and practical role - insulated the castle. These fabrics were one of the greatest treasures of Sigismund Augustus, and after his death replenished the state treasury. Tapestries were incredibly expensive primarily because of the price of the material from which they were made, including gold threads. As a result of a month's work by a qualified artist, half a square meter of tapestry was produced. The collection of Sigismund Augustus numbered about 160 arras, some of which were huge (136 of them have survived in Polish collections). The collection of arras, created by order of the last of the Jagiellonian, lasted almost ten years.

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