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Wawel Royal Castle - HOME

Wawel Royal Castle
State Art Collection

31-001 Kraków, Wawel 5

(+48 12) 422-51-55, 422-61-21

Tourist Information:
(+48 12) 422 51 55
ext. 219

Reservations and Guide Service:
(+48 12)
422 16 97

Press contact:
(+48 12) 422 51 55
ext. 380, 341

About the Project

The Project entitled “Pieskowa Skała. Conservation of architectonic qualities of the castle and expanding the education-cultural offer” is an international Project carried out as part of the Programme of “Conservation and Revitalisation of Cultural and National Heritage” co-financed from the EEA Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 and from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism

The Partner of the Project is NILU.

NILU (ENG: NIAR, PL: NIBP – Norwegian Institute for Air Research) has pursued an extensive number of research projects in the field of air quality and preventive conservation of cultural heritage over the last 15 years.

The Castle of Pieskowa Skała

The Castle of Pieskowa Skała is situated 30 km to the north-west from Kraków, in the heart of the beautiful Ojców National Park. Overlooking the scenic Prądnik Valley for ages, it has become a natural component of the breathtaking Jurassic landscape with the famous rock formation of the Hercules’ Club. The place is all the more not only because of the qualities of the local natural setting, but also due to the architectonic merits and the fascinating history of the castle. On the site of Pieskowa Skała, whose early days can be traced back to the 14th century – the times of King Casimir the Great, we can find both splendid Renaissance galleries, as well as impressive baroque bastion fortifications. Today, the castle is the only well-preserved stronghold on the Trail of the Eagles’ Nests, and belongs to the most important modern residences on the scale of both Lesser Poland and the whole country. It is a remarkable work of architecture that over the years has served as: a royal stronghold, a rogues’ nest, and a noble’s residence, but also as a hotel, and an orphanage; since 1958, however, it has been a museum – and a department of Wawel Royal Castle. The exhibits presented in the castle come from the Wawel collection and feature works of art of great value, arranged and displayed in a contemporary, tasteful way.

The castle complex of Pieskowa Skała underwent a set of conservation and adaptation works which started in the late 1940s and finished in the early 1960s, and were aimed to adapt it to its present function of a museum and a department of the State Art Collection of Wawel (now Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection).

After 50 years, the whole site needs another extensive revitalization activities to be carried out due to the fact of natural decay and ageing, as well the noticeable technical wear and tear. Another factor justifying the need for renewal of the facilities is the change in the applicable technical-construction requirements.

The scope of works which have been given priority status addresses mainly the issue of the advancing deterioration of the historical complex, the need to organize the issues related to tourism management, and the necessity to improve the quality of the provided services.

The object of the project involves the following tasks:

1.   Multi-disciplinary conservation of the castle.

Conservation works are to cover the facades of the main body, the walls and bastions, and the courtyard of the castle (of 12,500 sq. m. of surface in total) and will include:

  • repairs to the exposed structural elements of the walls, and to cracks in the window openings,
  • damp-proofing of the walls and bastions of the castle,
  • restoration of the facades and masonry,
  • restoration of the galleries of the castle,
  • restoration of door and window joinery.

2.   Inspection of the elements of ornamentation of the interiors of the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel.

The main aim of the inspection is to learn fully of the original décor of the interiors of the chapel, which should make it possible to develop the right programme for future conservation works. The inspection will aim to determine the range of appearance of paintings on the walls and inside the dome of the chapel’s vault. It will focus on the original range of appearance of paintings, as well as on the range of appearance of paintings in the present condition of the chapel.

The inspection will involve participation of NILU - Norsk Institutt for Luftforskning, the Norwegian partner of the project, responsible for evaluating the condition of atmospheric air inside the chapel, including assessment of the level of pollution and its impact on the state of preservation of the building.

It shall be highlighted that the measurements of concentration levels of O3, SO2, and NO2 (among others) will be carried out using innovative EWO dosimeters developed by the Norwegian partner of the project.

3.   Converting the castle’s outbuilding for cultural-education purposes.

Here, the main aim is to extend the Castle’s cultural-education offer addressed to both adults, as well as to school-age children and youth.

A professional room – equipped with multimedia devices and furniture purchased as part of the Project – shall serve as a place for meetings during which visitors will become prepared for the visit to the castle. There will also be other activities, intended to organize and summarize the information gathered during the visit to the museum.

A wheelchair access ramp will make the room fully accessible to the disabled.

The education support materials will include, among others, interactive computer reconstructions of the stages of development of the castle’s architecture, multimedia games, and presentations to illustrate historical stories.

4.   Digitalization of selected exhibits and creation of a virtual museum.

This stage will involve digitalization of selected museum exhibits. This will lead to creation of a virtual museum, and support preparation and development of interactive multimedia promotional-education Pieskowa Skała Castle-themed presentations, videos, visualizations, and games.

The materials will be prepared and developed (in several languages) to be installed at the Castle’s website and in the information kiosk (which will be located in the outer courtyard). They will also be designed to be used as teaching aids when running education-cultural classes and activities.

5.   Installation of an information kiosk in the outer courtyard.

Completion of this task will make it possible for the visitors to find out about the current tourist and education-cultural offer of the Castle, to make use of some Internet services, as well as to take part in a virtual tour of the museum, and to get information on selected exhibits of the museum of Pieskowa Skała.

6.   Installation of a mobile display system in the outer courtyard.

Location is a crucial factor when it comes to activities aimed to promote and inform about the Castle’s offer. The place where the system is to be located is available to visitors also outside the opening hours of the exhibition. There will be boards with photographs, which will contain historical facts about the Castle, as well as information about ongoing cultural events, and permanent and temporary exhibitions. The content will be available in Polish and English.

NILUThe Partner of the Project is NILU.
NILU (ENG: NIAR, PL: NIBP – Norwegian Institute for Air Research) has pursued an extensive number of research projects in the field of air quality and preventive conservation of cultural heritage over the last 15 years.

During the last three years NILU has been involved in two projects in the area of environmental technology and cultural heritage within the 7th Framework Programme of the EU:
  • a project called PROPAINT (http://propaint.nilu.no/), which concerned improving the protection of paintings during exhibition, storage and transit, especially with respect to the use of microclimate frames;
  • the second project is the ongoing MEMORI project (http://www.memoriproject.eu/), which involves developing and introduction of a new portable handheld instrument used for measurement of indoor air quality of rooms where artefacts of cultural heritage are – or are to be – kept, as well as for the assessment of impact of pollution on movable cultural assets and for mitigation thereof.
Apart from taking part in big EU projects, NILU has been also involved in several EEA projects in the scope of cultural heritage conservation involving participation of at least one partner from the organizing country, including:
  1. Assessment of air quality for the collection in the Lithuanian Theatre, Music and Film Museum;
  2. Assessment of air quality and possible risks for the books and manuscripts in the National Library of Prague in the Clementinium building, in cooperation with the Library and the Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Prague;
  3. Assessment of the level of risk of atmospheric corrosion in Warsaw and of the level of exposure to corrosion of the exhibits in Warsaw Railway Museum;
  4. Assessment of air quality and assessment of the risk of occurrence of conditions adverse to the collection in Nowe Sukiennice in Kraków, just after the renovation of spring 2010;
  5. Assessment of the present air quality and design of a new protective microclimate frame for the silk banners in Wawel Royal Castle in Kraków.
NILU also operates as an information centre as part of a long-term UNECE project called ICP Materials International Cooperative Programme.

NILU participates in a long-term International Cooperative Programme on the Effects of Air Pollution on Materials, including Historic and Cultural Monuments (UN/ECE ICP Materials), which involves measurements of the quality of air and assessment of impact of degradation on selected materials on an all-Europe scale and evaluating the risk of occurrence of hazards for materials and immovable cultural heritage assets.
Moreover, NILU also continuously cooperates with Norwegian partners in the scope of air quality control and heritage conservation projects. As part of this cooperation, NILU has managed to accomplished the expected objectives, which translates into benefits for local communities, as well as for the national heritage.

During the last year of cooperating with both current and new partners, NILU has proved its ability to extend the usefulness of the research methods offered so far, to perform complex analyses of results and to arrive at the results expected under partnership agreements.