Wawel Royal Castle is one of the most significant places in Poland in terms of history and culture. Throughout the centuries, it has been the seat of Polish kings and the symbol of the state; in the interwar period it became one of the most important Polish museums.
The Castle museum has the style of a historical residence. Exhibitions with high artistic, historical and patriotic value, illustrate Poland’s history and cultural heritage in restored interiors of the palace from its heyday in the Renaissance and the Baroque eras and in the original Gothic rooms of the Crown Treasury.
Objects associated with Polish rulers and their families – portraits, gifts, war trophies, and works of art, created at the behest of kings – are at the core of the collection. Sigismund Augustus’s tapestries, made in Brussels during the years 1550–1560, are the biggest collection of tapestries (138 items preserved) commissioned by one client. This is not only the museum’s most valuable collections, but on eof the most significant of its kind in the worls. A representative set of royal portraits includes works by Marcin Kober, Daniel Schultz Younger, Jan Tricius and Louis de Silvestre.
A collection of 30 woodcarvings of human heads made in Sebastian Tauerbach’s workshop for the Renaissance ceiling of the Envoys’ Room have been preserved from the original interior decoration of the Castle.
An impressive coronation sword can be “named” Szczerbiec, the only existing insignia from the regalia collection kept in the Royal Treasury until 1795, is the pride of the collection of arms and armour.
Among the objects associated with historical figures, the following should also be mentioned: a Hussar half-suit which used to belong to Stanisław Jabłonowski, hetman’s batons, maces, sabres, splendid horse trappings and saddles, banners, tents, some of which constitute trophies won during the Turkish-Polish wars, and during the Vienna campaign of 1683.
A significant collection of Italian paintings, includes works by Simone Martini and Dosso Dossi. The exhibitions are completed by a rich collection of craftwork, e.g. Italian furniture and Renaissance maiolica, Meissen porcelain, silverware and clocks.
The museum houses the following permanent exhibitions:
The State Rooms, The Royal Private Apartments, The Crown Treasury and Armoury, Oriental Art, The Lost Wawel
as well as some seasonal attractions:
The Dragon’s Den (Smocza Jama) and Sandomierska Tower (Baszta Sandomierska) and Wawel Architecture and Gardens (guided tour).
Several temporary exhibitions are organised every year by the museum.
Branches:
The Pieskowa Skała Castle (Zamek Pieskowa Skała), The Manor House in Stryszów (Dwór w Stryszowie).

Wawel Royal Castle, © all rights reserved
 

Photograph by Stanisław Michta (Wawel Royal Castle), © all rights reserved

Wawel 5
31-001 Kraków
Poland

phone 12 4225155
Fax 12 4215177
page museum

Opening hours

State Rooms: April — October
Monday
closed
Tuesday  — Friday
9.30 — 17.00
Saturday  — Sunday
10.00 — 17.00
November — March
Monday
closed
Tuesday  — Saturday
9.30 — 16.00
Sunday
10.00 — 16.00

Ticket Prices

April — October normal 18 PLN reduced 11 PLN November — March normal 16 PLN reduced 9 PLN

Sculpture of Augustus III

A statue of Frederick Augustus II, the Elector of Saxony, and King of Poland, Augustus III, on horseback. It is an example of cabinet sculpture. Similar portrayals of Louis XIV, Napoleon Bonaparte and Marcus Aurelius, often made in bronze, were popular in the 2nd half of the century.

Painting “Equestrian portrait of Prince Władysław Sigismund Vasa”

The picture depicts Prince Władysław Sigismund Vasa, later Władysław IV Vasa, the King of Poland. It was painted by an unknown artist of Rubens' circle, and it repeats the pattern established by Rubens in other similarly composed equestrian portraits he painted (i.a. the portrait of Giancarlo Doria, 1602, Florence, the Palazzo Vecchio; the portrait of Duke of Lerma, 1603, Madrid, the Museo del Prado).

Teapot with lid

This early form of the teapot, the design of which is ascribed to Johann Jakob Irminger, was amended by a painted decoration outside the factory more than twenty years after the vessel had been finished. The linear, graphical method of painting was ascribed to Christian Daniel Buschow, who operated in Bayreuth.

Tea container

Along with the growing popularisation of overseas beverages such as coffee, tea and chocolate, European manufactories also designed vessels used to hold them. At the beginning, they were modelled on familiar Chinese or Japanese forms, but then, gradually, the models took on new shapes unknown to the East.

Snuff tin

The fashion of taking snuff, common in Europe of the 17th and 18th centuries, sparked the creation of a separate category of containers. Maiolica pharmaceutical vases were used for selling snuff, various other tins for storing it, and different forms of snuffboxes, including those made of porcelain, were used for taking it.

Under-Window Tapestry with Music-Making Figures

On the central axis of the tapestry, there is a large vase with fruit and flowers entwined with snakes, which support it. On either side of the vase, a putto is cradled in the framework of decorative strips. Each is props himself up with one hand on the frame and the other on the body of a snakes. In the corners of the tapestry, two musicians are depicted – an older bearded man playing the hurdy-gurdy and a young blonde woman holding a drum.

Statuette of a Polish Woman

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Along the entire length of the table, next to the silverware and the china, sat an arrangement of many statuettes in the form of garden paths, streets or castle arcades, placed on a mirror sheet or coloured sand.

Statuette of a Pole

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Among the display of the typical national figures, undoubtedly seen as quite exotic in the eyes of Western Europe, one could be find considerable numbers of Poles, whose rich traditional noble attire and bent sabres with eastern ornamentation must have been fascinating to the Saxon court.

Statuette of a Pole

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Among the display of the typical national figures, undoubtedly seen as quite exotic in the eyes of Western Europe, one could be find considerable numbers of Poles, whose rich traditional noble attire and bent sabres with eastern ornamentation must have been fascinating to the Saxon court.

Statuette of a Monkey Playing the Horn of the “Monkey Orchestra” series

Monkeys were the subject matter of an iconographic genre called Singerie and so were a popular depiction in the 18th century. The genre was based on the art of Jean Berain which was published in 1711. Scenes of dancing, playing and hunting monkeys wearing fashionable clothes decorated the interiors of royal palaces in Marly, Anet or Chantilly. Realistic looking monkeys were often modelled by Kändler.

Statuette of a Woman in Hunting Clothes

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Along the entire length of the table, next to the silverware and the china, sat an arrangement of many statuettes in the form of garden paths, streets or castle arcades, placed on a mirror sheet or coloured sand.

Statuette of a Woman Selling Grapes

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Along the entire length of the table, next to the silverware and the china, sat an arrangement of many statuettes in the form of garden paths, streets or castle arcades, placed on a mirror sheet or coloured sand.

Statuette of a Woman Feeding Poultry

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Along the entire length of the table, next to the silverware and the china, sat an arrangement of many statuettes in the form of garden paths, streets or castle arcades, placed on a mirror sheet or coloured sand.

Candlestick of the so-called “Swan Set”

The so-called Swan Set, the most famous of porcelain sets, was made in the Royal Manufactory in Meissen during the years 1737–1742, on the commission of Heinrich, Count von Brühl, later the First Minister of Augustus III.

Coffee pot

A pear-shaped pot with an isolated base. Its deeply bent spout is set on a raised mascaron. Its handle in the shape of the letter J is ornamented with volutes at the top and the bottom, as well as raised leaves and palmettes on the outside. The pot has a domed cap with a collar.

Sugar bowl from Aleksander Józef Sułkowski's set

A sugar bowl with a lid, having the form of an oval flattened and buckled vase standing on four volute legs. The lid is topped with a handle in the shape of a cone. The legs are made up of dual scrollwork patterns with female masks in palmette crowns placed between them; their back side is additionally ornamented with raised acanthus leaves. There is a characteristic woven relief around the edge, called Sułkowski's pattern (Sułkowski Ozier).

A tombstone with the image of a “tree of life” from the double-apse rotunda – the so-called “church B” in Wawel

This tombstone consists of two elements and was found during excavation works carried out under the guidance of Stanisław Kozieł and Mieczysław Fraś in the area of the southern wing of building 5 of Wawel in the years 1966–75. The tombstone used to cover a tomb located in the area of the western apse of the double-apse rotunda relics, called church B” by the researchers.

Chest

One of the most precious Italian Renaissance wooden chests in the Wawel collection. It catches the eye with its form narrowing towards the bottom of the trunk, supported on lion paws, and resembles antique sarcophagi to which it owes its popular name the sarcophagus chest.”

Jagiellonian tapestry “God Conversing with Noah” from the “Story of Noah” series

The textile depicts one of the episodes of the Book of Genesis and is one of eight tapestries of the Sigismund collection forming a series dedicated to the figure of Noah. The Latin inscription in the upper border perfectly desribes the scene taking place below: “Noah walks with God. God reveals to Noah the future flood and commands him to build an ark for salvation”. God warns Noah – the only righteous inhabitant of the earth – that because of mankind’s sins, he intends to flood the earth. He tells Noah to build an ark in order to save Noah’s family. Noah is also to bring a pair of animals of each species into the ark (Genesis 6:13–21).

Hussar bascinet

A Hussar bascinet was a type of helmet commonly used by the troops of the Polish Hussars, similar to the pappenheimers used in Western Europe. There were a few variants of this helmet: with a tip on the top, a high crest, or fan-like wings on the skull.