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The Castle

The Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Hill constitute the most historically and culturally important site in Po­land. For centuries the residence of the kings of Poland and the symbol of Polish statehood, the Castle is now one of the country’s premier art museums. Established in 1930, the museum encompasses ten curatorial departments responsible for collections of paintings, including an important collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, prints, sculpture, textiles, among them the Sigismund II Augustus tapestry collection, goldsmith’s work, arms and armor, ceramics, Meissen porcelain, and period furniture. The museum’s holdings in oriental art include the largest collection of Ottoman tents in Europe. With seven specialized conservation studios, the museum is also an important center for the conservation of works of art.

Over one million visitors tour the Castle’s permanent collections and temporary exhibitions each year, while an estimated two million visit the Wawel Hill. The Castle’s permanent exhibitions recreate the appearance of the royal residence in the Renaissance and Baroque eras.

About 20,000 schoolchildren yearly participate in dedicated museum lessons. In addition, many children at­tend workshops and take part in academic and artistic competitions.

The Wawel Royal Castle also hosts a lively program of events including symphonic and chamber music concerts and performances of opera and courtly dance.

The visitor center holds cafés, shops, and other visitor services.

photo D. Błażewski  photo W. Gorgolewski