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Wilanów Palace, Warsaw, Poland

Wilanów Palace is a royal palace located in the Wilanów district, Warsaw. Wilanów Palace survived the time of Poland’s partitions and both World Wars and has preserved its authentic historical qualities, also is one of the most important monuments of Polish culture.

The palace and park in Wilanów is not only a priceless testimony to the splendour of Poland in the past, but also a place for cultural events and concerts, including Summer Royal Concerts in the Rose Garden and the International Summer Early Music Academy. Since 2006, the palace has been a member of the international association of European Royal Residences.

Wilanów Palace was built for the Polish king John III Sobieski in the last quarter of the 17th century and later was enlarged by other owners. It represents the characteristic type of baroque suburban residence built entre cour et jardin (between the entrance court and the garden). Its architecture is original – a merger of European art with old Polish building traditions. Upon its elevations and in the palace interiors antique symbols glorify the Sobieski family, especially the military triumphs of the king.

After the death of John III Sobieski in 1696, the palace was owned by his sons and later by the famous magnate families Sieniawskis, Czartoryskis, Lubomirskis, Potockis and Branicki family of the Korczak coat of arms. In 1720, the property was purchased by Polish stateswoman El?bieta Sieniawska who enlarged the palace. Between 1730 and 1733 it was a residence of Augustus II the Strong, also a king of Poland (the palace was exchanged with him for the Blue Palace at Senatorska Street), and after his death the property came to Sieniawska’s daughter Maria Zofia Czartoryska. Every owner changed the interiors of the palace, as well as the gardens and grounds, according to the current fashion and needs. In 1778 the estate was inherited by Izabela Lubomirska, called The Blue Marquise. She refurbished some of the interiors in the neoclassical style between 1792–1793 and build a corps de garde, a kitchen building and a bathroom building under the supervision of Szymon Bogumi? Zug.

In the year 1805 the owner Stanis?aw Kostka Potocki made a museum in a part of the palace, one of the first public museums in Poland. A most notable example of the collections is Potocki’s equestrian portrait made by worldwide renowned French painter Jacques-Louis David in 1781. Besides European and Oriental art, the central part of the palace displayed a commemoration of king John III Sobieski and the glorious national past. The palace was damaged by German forces in World War II, but it was not demolished after the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. After the war, the palace was renovated, and most of the collection stolen by Germany was repatriated. In 1962 it was reopened to the public.

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