The latest news from Monika Drąg, Landscape architect, specialist in History of Gardening and Paweł Gutt, Polish members of EBTS UK.
The Royal Castle of Warsaw opens to the public after 70 years
Over the weekend of May 11th the Royal Castle in Warsaw, the proud landmark in Castle Square next to the gates of the Old Town, held a great ceremony to celebrate the completion of the restoration of its historic gardens. Originally the 15th century residence of the Polish kings and, in the 16th century of the Dukes of Masovia, the castle has suffered a long and tragic history of plunder and destruction inflicted by Swedish, Prussian and Tsarist armies. Burned and looted in 1939 in the German Invasion of Poland and virtually destroyed in the Polish uprising of 1944, the Castle was left to moulder until 1971 when restoration work finally began.
The castle gardens are in two complementary halves. The Upper Garden, immediately outside the Castle is perched on the roof of the 19th century Kubicki Arcades. It was redesigned before the Second World War in the style of the day and restored in 2014. The Lower Garden, which will now be open to the public for the first time, has been partly preserved in the 17th century Renaissance style of King Stanislaw August, the last monarch to rule the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In this older part of the garden are a set of fine hornbeam bosquets with fountains, sculptures and sandstone vases soon to be in place. Pre-War additions by the architect, Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz, include the central horse-shoe amphitheatre.
While taking every care to preserve the historical fabric, the restoration has made good use of modern technology with a discrete central control system for automatic irrigation and lighting, robotic mowers and pest-monitoring systems.
Some 50,000 visitors flocked to the opening of the Lower Garden, the last piece of the entire restoration, for a weekend of rejoicing. The ceremony opened with the naming of a new tulip, The Heart of Warsaw. It was a fitting symbol to express what the battle-worn Royal Castle represents in the eyes of the Old Town and the people of Warsaw.
Text edited by Caroline Foley