Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski)
Plac Zamkowy 4, tel. +48 22 355 51 70
Originally, this was the residence of kings; today it is a museum and location for important state events. The Royal Castle is at the beginning of the road which leads to the Old Town, and it‘s very interesting that from the other side of the Vistula River, it looks completely different! Every day, a bugle call is played from the characteristic clock tower. It‘s played in three directions – but not to the east. Why is this? Well, there is a very simple reason – the clock tower only has three windows… After the outbreak of World War II, people managed to rescue part of the castle‘s precious items – including four royal thrones.
Today, it‘s possible to see them at one of the Museum‘s permanent exhibitions. Unfortunately, the rest of the castle‘s collection of furniture and art was looted before the castle was blown up. It was not fully rebuilt until the 1980‘s, using surviving fragments and bits of rubble. More information.
King Zygmunt III Waza Column (Kolumna króla Zygmunta III Wazy)
The oldest and tallest non-church monument in Warsaw was raised in 1644 by King Władysław IV, in honour of his father Zygmunt III Waza, who in 1596 moved the capital from Kraków to Warsaw. The monument stands 22 metres high with the actual figure of the King measuring 275 cm.
The sword he holds in his right hand symbolises bravery, while the cross he holds in his left hand symbolises his readiness to fight evil. According to legend, should the King’s sword fall downward, disaster is sure to follow. The statue fell during World War II and its destroyed column placed next to the Royal Castle, where it can still be seen today.
Bell on Kanonia (Dzwon na Kanonii)
This is a small, triangular square near the cathedral. The name comes from the old-style buildings surrounding the square, where canons priests lived in the 17th century. There was formerly the parish cemetery in this place, and there is a remnant of an 18th century Baroque statue of the Virgin Mary. In the middle of the square there is a huge bronze bell from the 17th century which has never hung in any church, but apparently when you circle around it three times, it will bring you good luck. Kanonia has the narrowest house in Warsaw – a clever trick of the landlord, as in olden times, the amount of land taxes to be paid depended on the width of the external façade.