Krakow Royal Castle
People lived on the Wawel Hill at least as early as fifty thousand years ago, in the Paleolithic Age.
In the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, i.e. some three thousand years ago, the settlement was apparently bustling with trade, with assorted crafts and with farming. It was at the turn of the past millennium when the rulers of Poland took up their residence here. During the early 16th century King Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) brought in the best native and foreign artists (Italian architects and sculptors, German decorators, etc.) to create the splendid Renaissance palace-cum-castle which survived, little changed, till now. It proved to be a paragon of stately residence in Central and Eastern Europe and served widely as a model throughout the region. Its magnificent arcaded courtyard of great dimensions and immaculate proportions formed the ideal setting for tournaments and various court events.
They were watched by royalty, courtiers and guests from the galleries which otherwise served as the main communications between rooms. The Wawel Royal Castle has its “piano nobile” – i.e. the state apartments – on the top, third floor rather than the second like Italian palaces. The castle’s second floor contained private apartments of the royal family, whereas the court officials worked and lived downstairs. Visitors can see many exquisite interiors of the Royal Castle complete with beautiful period furniture and world-class objects of art. Some exhibits prove absolutely unique by any standards.
Wawel Hill in Krakow, the mecca of every Pole and a must for foreign tourists, is a microcosm of Polish history and culture.
Poland's impressive national shrine shelters plenty of superb church art.
The matchless collection of 16th-century monumental Flemish tapestries.
The Royal Castle's throne chamber has the most singular decor.
Crown Treasury and Armory
The Crown Treasury shows Polish royal memorabilia, jewels and other precious items. The adjacent Armory displays 15th to 18th-century arms.
Huge natural cavity inside the Wawel Hill is the legendary home of a legendary monster.
The following are permanent exhibitions on the Wawel Hill
Royal Chambers - historical interiors, tapestry collection of Sigismund II Augustus, royal portraits, Italian Renaissance furniture, Italian and Dutch painting of the 14th to 17th century.
Royal Private Apartments - rooms where the Polish royalty lived, period furniture and art.
Crown Treasury and Armory - regalia, jewelry, precious weapons, armors and caparisons; Polish and West European.
Oriental Art - Turkish tents and banners, Turkish and Persian weapons and carpets, Chinese and Japanese ceramics.
The Lost Wawel - archaeological and architectural reserve of the early 11th-century church of St. St. Felix and Adauctus' with surroundings; objects excavated by archeologists on the Wawel Hill; ornate stove tiles of the 16th and 17th century. Plus multimedia presentation of the Wawel Hill's history.
Dragons Den - big cave said to be the fiery monster's hideout.
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