Wawel castle (Zamek Królewski na Wawelu), there is evidence that for many centuries Krakow was the center of the Polish state. Today visit the ancient Royal residence – a fascinating journey into the depths of Polish history, in times both of prosperity and of decline.
The Royal castle is located on Wawel Hill (Wzgórzu Wawelskim) is a limestone hill which rises on the left Bank of the Vistula, in the heart of Krakow. From the VII century in the vicinity of the Wawel began to settle Slavs, and during the reign of the first historical rulers of Poland from the Piast dynasty (Piastów), here was one of the main residences of the monarchs. This Royal residence Wawel castle was only at the beginning of the fourteenth century, immediately after his coronation and settlement on the Wawel Vladislav Łokietka (Łokietka).
On the mountain, then a Cathedral was built in the Gothic style, and the place of wooden and earthen ramparts, built thick walls, and the castle became even more upset. The heyday of the castle occurred in the reign of the jagiellonians (Jagiellonów), especially the last Scion of Sigismund III Old (Zygmunta Starego III) and Sigismund Augustus (Zygmunta Augusta). Captured by the development of the Renaissance in Western Europe, the kings sought to put his residence this modern look. Brought from Italy to Krakow Franciszek masters and Bartolomeo Berecci, altered Gothic building in a beautiful Palace in the Renaissance style with a spacious, arcade courtyard,which gave a representative view of the whole building.
Since the beginning of the XVII century, immediately after the transfer of the capital from Krakow to Warsaw, the importance of the Castle on the Wawel castle has changed a lot. The Palace all the time suffered from numerous fires, and kings, who lived in Warsaw is not too concerned about its safety. After the third partition of Poland, Cracow was annexed by the Austrians, practically the whole XIX century the mountain was used for military purposes. The poles took the Royal Castle for a short time only before the outbreak of the First world war. The next few decades, with a break during the Second world war, on the Wawel hill conducted extensive work on the restoration of the building. In 1978, Wawel castle, with the Old Town (Starym Miastem), Kazimierz (Kazimierzem) and Stradone (Stradomiem) included in world heritage list kulturnoe.
On a visit to the Royal Castle should allocate at least one day. On the first and third floors are the official Royal Suite (Reprezentacyjne Komnaty Królewskie), decorated with original tapestries, brought by Sigismund Augustus from Brussels.
Individual attention, first of all the largest Castle Hall Senatorial and ambassadorial Hall, the ceiling of which is decorated with sculptures of male and female heads, made in the SIXTEENTH century. The first floor housed the Personal Royal Apartments. All other exhibits are in the Castle: the Treasury, Armoury (containing the trophies from the Vienna siege 1683г ) and the Hall of Oriental art.
At the same time of the exhibitions deserves vnimanija the Lost Wawel (Wawel Zaginiony). Here you can see the oldest objects encountered on the hill of the Wawel rotunda of St. Mary (Rotunda Najświętszej Marii Panny), fundament Gothic castle and the remains of the Royal kitchens.
It is also worth to visit the Cave of the Wawel Dragon, which is located in the Western part of the mountain in it, according to the famous legend of Cracow, there once lived a cruel Dragon.