Royal Castle : Michelin's recommendations
Erected on the banks of the Vistula, the castle (to start with a simple fort first in wood then in brick) was added to in the 15th C. by a gothic residence in stonework with a round tower. This grew bigger with the advent of Warsaw as capital, taking on a pentagonal shape with a large interior courtyard and a forecourt. Many improvements were made to the interior decorations by King Stanislas II Augustus Poniatowski, such as the addition of apartments intended for members of the royal family or important State dignitaries. For a time the seat of the Diet, it was here that the Constitution was signed in 1791, an event recalled by the painter Jan Matejko. Behind a sober façade is hidden away a museum reconstituting the pomp and ceremony of the 17th and 18th C. The visit starts with the rooms used by the Diet and the Court chambers. Up a floor, the royal apartments are well worth a visit, together with the Senators' Room (where the Constitution of1791 was signed), as is the Marble office (and its portrait of King Stanislas II Augustus), the Knights' Hall (and the 6 great paintings by Marcello Bacciarelli describing Poland's history). Then we come to the Throne Room, the Great Hall or Ballroom created in 1740 (with allegorical statues and a ceiling painted by Bacciarelli), the Senators' vestibule or Canaletto room (named after Bellotto, nephew of the celebrated Venetian painter whose name he adopted in order to paint, at the command of King Stanislas, pictures representing extremely detailed views of Warsaw, later to be used as a basis for rebuilding the town).