I decided to visit the Royal Castle, which is considered the pride of Warsaw not only because it was reconstructed from a pile of rubble but also because it houses invaluable artefacts, paintings, furniture, etc being more of a Palace than a castle, as I would soon find out.
I hadn't realised I'd spend the rest of the afternoon visiting its multiple chambers and despite the fact that four hours may be considered sufficient, I personally felt (and still feel) I could have easily stayed longer, had I had the time.
The Oval Gallery is said to once have provided access to the Royal Stall. When the Castle, which had been totally destroyed on Hitler's orders, was rebuilt in 1971-1984 new furnishings were added, as well as portraits of Polish Kings from the turn of the 17th century and valuable 16th century Brussels tapestries, some of which belonged to King Zygmund August's collection.
During the reign of Stanislaw August the Council Chamber served as a conference room for the permanent Council, the first established Polish Government by the end of the 18th century, which included the King, 18 Senators and 18 Deputies. The portraits on its walls depict outstanding personalities of that period and the throne is said to have been made in 1795.
The Great Assembly Hall and Ballroom is the biggest and grandest room in the castle. It is where in the days of Stanislaw August Royal audiences, state banquets, balls, concerts and theatrical performances were held. The elegance and richness of the room with such amount of gold stuck to its walls is enhanced by elements of artistic decoration amongst which the original sculptures of Apollo and Minerva, a medallion of Stanislaw August flanked by allegories of Justice and Peace and the ceiling decorated with an impressive painting by Marcello Bacciarelli titled " Disentanglement of Chaos" were worth noting.
The Great Antechamber was the first of a number of ante rooms leading to the Great Assembly Hall. There courtiers of lesser rank welcomed visitors who had been granted an audience. It is decorated with four paintings, whose motifs taken from ancient history, as well as their inscriptions were intended to illustrate the objectives and virtues of a good monarch.
The Marble Room served as a second ante room leading to the throne room and it is where courtiers of higher rank would gather during the formal audiences.
(To be continued)