POLAND 5 ZLOTY DISCOVER POLAND
The Royal Castle in Warsaw
Alloy Finish Dimensions Weight Mintage Date of issue
core: CuAl6Ni2 standard Ø 24.00 6.54 g up to 1 200 000 07-11-2014
The Royal Castle in Warsaw is one of the most important
royal residences in Europe. This is due not only to the
beauty of its architecture: moderately austere and elegant
from the side of the Castle Square and baroquely
exuberant from the Vistula River, or to the artistic class
of its ceremonial interiors containing outstanding pieces
of art, but most of all due to its dramatic history which
made it a symbol of the sovereign Polish State.
The history of the Royal Castle is inextricably connected
with the history of Poland and Warsaw. It was originally
built as the seat of the Dukes of Mazovia, in the 14th
century. After incorporation of Mazovia to the Crown in
1526, the residence of the Dukes in Warsaw passed into
the hands of the kings of Poland and in 1569, the Castle
was designated as the seat of the Diet of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The extension of the Castle,started under King Sigismund II Augustus, continued
under King Sigismund III Vasa until the early 17th century.
Three wings were added to the existing structures,
thus creating a harmonious pentagon with a courtyard
in the middle. The Castle’s façade seen from the side of
the town, with a dominant Clock Tower, was also constructed at that time,
giving the Castle a shape of a public
utility building – Palatium Reipublicae. The sumptuous
interiors housed royal apartments and the venue of the
Diet, acting as a centre of political, administrative and
cultural life of the country. The Castle was plundered and
devastated on several occasions, but every time it was rebuilt and rearranged;
for the last time under King Stanislaus Augustus. It was during his reign that debates were
enshrined in the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
The Partitions and the fall of Poland brought degradation to the Castle – in the 19th century, it was the seat of
the governor appointed by the occupying empire. AfterPoland regained independence in 1918, the Castle became
again the representative building of the government of the
Republic of Poland. However, as early as at the start of World
War II, on 17 September 1939, the first bombs were dropped
on the Castle, causing heavy damage. This triggered a spontaneous action by the public
to save the Castle’s furnishings, with a view of its future reconstruction. No one envisaged,
however, the eventual enormity of the task, as the extent
of destruction yet to come was beyond any conceivable expectations:
on the order of Adolf Hitler the Royal Castle in
Warsaw, the symbol of the Polish statehood, was blown up in
1944 after the fall of the Warsaw Uprising.
The Royal Castle has been also brought back to life as a symbol.
The phenomenon of its reconstruction according to the
will of the Polish people in the years 1974-1984, an unprecedented work in the history
of the protection of cultural heritage, crowns the Castle’s history and ushers in a new chapter
– as a museum which is a testimony to the commitment of Poles to historical legacy.
In 1984, most of the reconstructed interiors of the Castle were opened to the public. This did not mean,
however, that the works had been completed – since 1995
the Kubicki Arcades have been revitalized and the Tin-
Roofed Palace has been completely refurbished. Today, the work is underway in the gardens of the Castle
which now houses a museum of historic interiors. The
Castle also performs official functions as the venue of
visits and meetings of the highest state level.