Ujazdowski Castle - Warsaw
Nice cafe and a bookshop in the gallery.
Ujazdowski Castle is Best For
Directions to Ujazdowski Castle
Looking up from the royal canal below, the view of Ujazdowski Castle on its high escarpment is stunning.
The location is obviously advantageous, both for defensive and aesthetic purposes, so it's no surprise that a castle was built on this escarpment by the Dukes of Masovia quite early on. Eventually, however, they moved their court up the place that would eventually become Warsaw's Royal Castle. The castle at Jazdow was forgotten and fell into disrepair, until the 16th-century Queen Bona Sforza, the Milanese second wife of King Zygmunt I Stary, built herself a small manor house here after the death of her husband. Nearly a hundred years later, King Zygmunt III Waza moved the Polish capital to Warsaw and, after settling in his newly refurbished Royal Castle next to the Old Town, undertook the reconstruction of Ujazdowski Castle as well, in case he needed a nearby weekend escape. The castle's characteristic baroque style took form.
A series of refurbishments were undertaken with each successive royal reign, but by the end of the 18th century, Poland's monarchy was collapsing, and the castle was donated to the army. From 1809-1944 it housed an army hospital, and some of the medical pavilions still remain today. After the Second World War, there was some debate regarding what to do with the castle, and for a while authorities planned to knock down its bombed-out frame and create in its place a sort of People's Military House. This project was thankfully abandoned; the castle was restored to its original beauty, and since 1981 has been home to the Centre for Contemporary Art.
Today, you can spend a couple hours strolling through the gardens, admiring the view from the high terrace over the canal and toward the Vistula, photographing the fountains, having a refreshing drink from the terrace café kiosk, walking round the castle to take in its magnificent architecture, dropping in to see some cutting-edge modern art displays, and ending your explorations at the artistic castle restaurant.