Wilanów Palace in Warsaw, photos and description

Wilanów Palace

Vilanuva Palace

In tourist season: Mon, Wed, Sat, Sun. – 10:00-16:00, Fr. – 10:00-18:00, out of tourist season: 9:30-16:00, Tuesday off. The park is open year round from 9:00 am.

The most important landmark of Warsaw is Wilanów Palace, which is located on the south-eastern outskirts of the city, about 10 kilometers from the center. It was this location that allowed this most recognizable monument of Polish architecture to survive the war. The Baroque style was used for the construction of the royal country residence, which was built in the late 17th century and was regularly rebuilt, with a garden adjacent to it as well. In 1805 Stanislaw Kostka Potocki added the palace to his own museum, which at the time was one of the first art museums in Poland.

Vilanuva Palace

Tourists are attracted by the majestic equestrian statue of the king, which in the past welcomed visitors at the main entrance, but now it has been moved into one of the rooms. The ceiling in one of the galleries is decorated with allegorical paintings that tell the love story of King Jan III Sobieski and his wife Marysenka, who helped greatly to elevate her husband, who never dreamed of being king. The future ruler and the French maid of honor met at a ball, but Marysenka was engaged. Two months later she married, but the marriage was unsuccessful: her husband drank and was a reveler, and some time after the wedding he died of syphilis. His death gave the green light to the lovers, they married and were together for the next 30 years.

The Palace is a member of the Association of European Royal Residences on a par with Versailles in France and is recognized as the most famous and popular tourist attraction in Poland.

Vilanuva Palace

Wilanów Palace official website

The site of the palace is quite informative and replete with photos of the interiors and the area surrounding the castle. Here you can read about upcoming projects and the latest news, learn about the history of the museum and plan your visit based on the opening hours of the palace and ticket prices.

Tickets can be purchased on-site or online.

Vilanuva Palace

Prices and hours of operation

The museum is currently working on several major construction projects, reconstructing and revitalizing existing facilities. The purpose of the work is to restore and maintain the entire residence in a decent state, as well as to improve the exhibition conditions in the palace. Because of these projects, parts of the interiors may be completely or partially inaccessible to the public, and since November 6, 2017, one of the floors has been closed to the public.

During the tourist season, the palace can be visited from 10:00 to 16:00 daily, except Thursday, until 18:00 on Friday, closing a little earlier – at 15:00/17:00. Outside the tourist season, the park is open daily, except Tuesday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The area adjacent to the residence is open to the public all year round from 9:30, during high winds the park is temporarily closed for the safety of tourists.

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Vilanuva Palace

When purchasing tickets, remember that reservations for the current week can be made no later than Tuesday evening of the previous week. Tickets for individual tours are purchased at the museum box office or online. The standard ticket to the palace apartments and gallery on path no. 2 costs 35 PLN, the reduced ticket for students, people over 65 and the disabled is 28 PLN, and a visit to the park costs 7 PLN. Individual tickets to concerts and seminars at the Palace grounds are available online or at the box office, and the average price is 10 PLN. A maximum of 9 individual tickets may be bought for a group of 10 people or more.

History

This magnificent country residence of King Jan Sobieski was built for him by Augustin Lozzi in the last third of the 17th century.

The palace is located on the territory of a huge park complex with the area of 45 hectares. The land and the dilapidated estate, which were located away from the bustling city, Sobieski bought from Stanislaw Krzyski for 43 thousand zlotys, which was a clear overpayment at the time. Nevertheless, only here the king saw his future residence.

All construction work on the palace was supervised by Lozzi, a royal advisor, who was an amateur architect and was the author of a highly original architectural design. To help in the construction of the royal palace to the place attracted the best craftsmen from all over Poland, painting the walls and ceilings engaged in the outstanding masters of the time from France and Italy, monumental paintings on the subject of Psyche by Michelangelo Palloni.

Vilanuva Palace

The king wanted to fill the Wilanów Palace with original works of art, for this purpose special agents of Sobieski were sent around the world, some items were donated to the residence by ambassadors of various countries. As a result, the place began to resemble the resplendent royal residences of Paris.

After the King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth died, the palace together with its surroundings passed to his descendants, and then became the property of other wealthy landowners who belonged to the aristocratic family. Since 1720 Elisabeth Sinyavskaya became the mistress of the manor, and after receiving the castle, she enlarged the rooms.

Stanislaw Kostka Potocki, who became the owner of the castle in 1799, strongly contributed to the history of the castle. He regularly filled the archive of the palace with art collections, and in 1805 one of the first museums in the country was opened in the residence. The Potockis also rebuilt the St. Anna court church and built a family vault near the palace. Using the experience of the previous owners, Stanislaw Potocki paid a lot of attention to improving the garden.

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Vilanuva Palace

The First World War brought the first devastation to the castle: German occupiers plundered and destroyed the Polish national treasure, and the palace began to play the role of headquarters and a military hospital. The Germans thickly smeared margarine on 18th century stools, used rococo tapestries for bedspreads, and poured soup over gilded tables. By the beginning of World War II, the castle had retained only one-fifth of its interior decoration. The museum was looted: the Nazis stole the institution’s collections, but when the war was over, the stolen goods were returned to Poland. After some time, restaurateurs managed to bring this historical treasure back to life, it has almost returned to its original appearance. The first visitors to the palace had to wait until 1962 – only then were the palace rooms accessible to all.

Now the palace continues to be used as a museum. The place is included in the State List of Museums of Poland, the palace functions as it did two centuries ago, being a real historical treasure of the country.

Vilanuva Palace

Interior and grounds of the castle

The castle grounds include a orangery, a mausoleum built in the Neo-Gothic style, and the Church of St. Anne, which was built in 1772 by Stanislaw Potocki. In addition to the palace and the art gallery, a separate and no less important attraction is the park, which occupies an area of 45 hectares. For its creation, a graceful regular style of landscape art was used.

Next to the entrance to the palace there is a beautiful fountain, the gallery is entwined with vine vines with red leaves, the palace rose garden is filled with flowers and statues. The baroque garden has two levels, it is decorated with pyramidal shrubs and a large number of plants. The antique statues of the garden grab the attention of visitors, some of them have become symbols of the districts of Poland, while others have been brought from the Birkenau Museum. The flowerbeds are neatly trimmed and form many real patterned mazes on the ground.

In the immediate vicinity of the palace there are also shady alleys leading to the water, a separate attraction of this place is the Vilanuva pond, next to which you can sit in peace and quiet. Its banks are fortified with logs, so beloved by the ducks, in addition there are a lot of fish. The surface of the lake is covered with pink water lilies, which have become a symbol of love of the king. Tired of walking tourists can sit down on one of the white benches around the perimeter.

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Vilanuva Palace

Then the traveler has a view of the greenhouse, next to which is a small pond with a fountain. Here you can admire the handmade porcelain, pottery and other decorations. In the middle of the park, hidden in the shade of trees is a Chinese gazebo built for Count Stanislaw Kostka Potocki, and a little further along the road you can see the Roman bridge and a number of private houses.

The palace halls are now open for visitors, filled with art objects and personal belongings of the royal family. The interior has been preserved almost in its original form: guests are greeted by original furniture, plenty of frescoes, a number of portraits and sculptures that appeared here under Jan III Sobiesk. The tour begins on the second floor, with a gallery of Polish portraits from the 16th-19th centuries. The collection includes several portraits of castle owners, and there is also an image of the king’s favorite wife, MarysieÅ”ka.

Vilanuva Palace

How to get to the Wilanów Palace in Poland

Originally the landmark was located on the edge of the city, but now Warsaw has grown considerably and it is not difficult to get to the palace. From the Old Town the place is about 10 km away. The nearest subway station is Wilanowska.

To get to the place on your own you can go via Sobieskiego, the length of the way is just over 11 km, the trip will take 25 minutes.

The most convenient and fastest way to get to the structure continues to be the bus, in which case tourists need to get on the routes № 139, № 163, № 164, № 251, № 264, № 339, № 519, № N31, the stop is the terminus and is called Wilanow.

Of the popular applications to call a cab in Warsaw is Uber.

Wilanów Palace in Warsaw: history, photos, overview, opening hours and how to get there

This Baroque palace is located in a garden on the shore of the lake of the same name and was founded by Jan III in Wilanów (then a suburb, today a district of the city of Warsaw). Both the palace itself and all the buildings surrounding it are on the list of Polish cultural heritage.

Panorama of the Wilanów Palace

History

It is possible to say that the history of the site dates back to April 1677, when Jan III took over the village of Milanów. The new name was formed from the phrase “Villa Nova” – new villa. Initially, the residence built here was small, because the royal architect was tasked to build only a one-storey mansion in the typical style of the time. In later years, however, the military successes of the monarch entailed a significant expansion of the original design.

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A new mansion was built on the site of the old building, and a second floor, dining room, towers, and galleries were later added to it. Most of these changes were made between 1677 and 1696. As a result, the building became something between a noblemen’s palace, an Italian villa, and a French palace. At the same time, the construction of outhouses started, but it was finished not under Jan III, but under Elisabeth Siniavskaya.

After the king died, the palace passed into the ownership of his son, and in 1720 the building was purchased by one of the wealthiest Polish women of the time. Elisabeth continued the construction work for another nine years. It was then that the side wings, which Jan did not have time to realize, were completed. Some time after Sinyavska’s death, the palace fell into the hands of King Augustus II, who made a lot of changes to the estate, especially concerning interior design.

He managed to live in the palace for only a year before his death, though, and inherited it to his daughter, who made the building shine in all its glory. Continuing from generation to generation, the estate acquired a gallery with busts and coats of arms of the rulers. In 1945, the palace was purchased by the Polish Ministry of Culture; it is one of the few Warsaw monuments that remained virtually intact during World War II.

After nationalization, the building was restored, most of the works of art removed from there were returned to it and it was opened to the public in 1962. From 2004 to 2008 was carried out another, more thorough restoration, in 2011 – cleaned up the garden. The total cost of restoration works was about 80 million rubles. Also almost all the materials were digitized, and a virtual 3D museum was created.

The facade of the building

The palace is made entirely in the Baroque style, and represents a fusion of European art with the building traditions of old Poland. The frescoes and patterns were created by artists famous at the time – Bellotti, Palloni, Moka. The decor of the facade is the work of Francis Fumo. It bears an inscription, translated from the Latin to mean roughly: “What the old city cultivated is now contained in the new villa”. In the attic are statues of Jupiter, Apollo, and Mars, worshipped by Jan III.

Vilanuva Palace

Wilanów Palace in Warsaw

Also on the façade is the theme of the triumphal arches – in the southern gallery they glorify the greatness of the king. The central part of the bas-relief depicts John III with a laurel wreath on his head, driving a triumphal chariot. On the spire of the tower is an athlete holding the globe. This sculpture has a double meaning – that power is great work, and that the king protected Europe from the invasion of the Muslims. On the southern facade is a bas-relief of a sundial and above the main entrance is the sun, the symbol of King Jan III; two nymphs play next to it.

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The gardens surrounding the palace are an integral part of the complex. It was the beautiful natural conditions that prompted the king in his time to establish a residence here. The original version was a two-story garden with a terrace, but later each of the owners changed something in it. The first park was in the Baroque style, the next ones in the English and Roman style, with a variety of non-standard additions.

The park includes several objects: a grove, a greenhouse, a winter garden, and sculptures. In addition, in 2010, the foundations of an unfinished reservoir, possibly intended to feed the fountains and water supply for the palace itself, were discovered. In the eastern part of the park is the Italian garden, which is currently being revived and restored to its original appearance. There are more than two dozen Baroque sculptures on its grounds, brought in just after the war to replace the sculptures taken out of Poland by the Germans.

On the balustrades of the palace terrace are four figures of cupids, depicting the four phases of love. Below the terrace, a fountain was built after the war, and next to it is the entrance to the ancient underground grottoes. On one of the paths leading to the lake, there is also a water level indicator showing how high the Vistula once came during the floods.

In the northern part of the garden, where the water intake station is located, there is an English park. All the palace fountains are now fed from here, and the station serves as the headquarters for the constantly on-duty firemen. Another garden facility is a Chinese-style gazebo planned by Stanislaw Potocki as a meeting and resting place. There are several specimens of rare white poplar trees growing around the lake, and a little further north you can examine the Roman bridge spanning the canal.

At the southern end of the park can be found a stream with a waterfall and a hill on top of which is a Maltese cross. A French neo-Renaissance flower garden adjoins one of the palace wings. The gardens are constantly monitored, as it’s not easy to keep them in excellent condition.

How to get there?

Buses number 180 and 116 will take you to the Vilanów Palace. Take them and drive to the bus stop. No matter where you are coming from, the trip will take you no more than an hour. The palace is open daily from 9:30 to 16:00, but closes in the second half of December.

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