The Royal Castle - from Destruction to Reconstruction
We invite you to watch a short video from the exhibition.
Scenario: dr hab. Piotr Majewski, Bożena Radzio
Conception: Żaneta Govenlock, Violetta Damięcka
Realization: Studio Projektowe Govenlock
Construction and conservation: Renova Sp. z o.o.
Exhibition Curator: Bożena Radzio
The Royal Castle in Warsaw, being a symbol of the sovereignty of the Polish State, became a target for German military attacks as early as in the first days of the World War II. On 17 September 1939 it was in flames. Apart from the firemen and city wardens, also civilians were helping to put the fire out. At the same time Polish museum workers and conservators, risking their own lives, were trying to salvage the most precious art collections, as well as decorative elements from the Castle rooms. Aware that the occupants have made a decision to blow the Castle up, they were already thinking about the future reconstruction of the building. The act of destruction was completed during the Warsaw Uprising in September 1944, when German sappers blasted the Castle walls.
For many years after the war the Castle’s reconstruction was advocated by a group of people close to professor Stanisław Lorentz, the indefatigable promoter of that idea. Based on salvaged elements of the interior decoration, as well as on the surviving records, the design works have started. The final decision to begin the reconstruction was made in January 1971. Soon after the Civil Committee of Rebuilding the Royal Castle in Warsaw was established. It’s role was to manage the work progress, as well as fundraise.
Polish Conservation Workshops were contracted to prepare the design specification and the delivery of the works. The team of designers, led by professor Jan Bogusławski, had two main tasks: to reconstruct the body of the building and its internal layout to its state from before 1939, and to refit all salvaged elements into their original places.
The construction works started in September 1971. The first stage of the project – body of the building in an unfinished state – was completed in July 1974 by installing the cupola on the Clock Tower and restarting the clock after 35 years. In 1977 first interiors were ready. The next ones were delivered in August 1984, during an official ceremony of opening of the Castle to the public. In the Great Assembly Hall the works on the reconstruction of the plafond were still going on and were not completed until 1988. The rebuilding of the Castle was accompanied by an immense involvement of the Polish nation. The whole investment was financed almost in full with the money coming from donations made by Poles at home and abroad.
Handing the reconstructed Royal Castle to the nation was an act of honouring all of those, who, during the Occupation, with the greatest dedication and risking their own lives, saved the Castle and the Castle art works for the future generations.
ENTRANCE FREE OF CHARGE
(on the basis of free registrar ticket)