Castles, palaces, palace- park complexes

Historic conditions resulted in many castles and places still standing in Mazovia. Warsaw only is said to have over 20 palaces and palace gardens! Other than the most famous Lazienki and Wilanow, there are many buildings like that near Old Town and Royal Tract. Classical objects: Primate’s Palace, Raczynski Palace, Mostowski Palace, Kazimierzowski Palace, Lubomirski Palace, Tyszkiewicz Palace are still Warsaw’s showpieces. There are as many baroque palaces, formerly houses of aristocracy and clergy, like magnificent Krasinski Palace, Gninski-Ostrogski Palace, Palace of Cracow Bishops or Czapski Palace. Mokotow is graced with classical  charming Krolikarnia Palace which is surrounded with a picturesque park and with interesting Szustra Palace situated in English landscape Park: Morskie Oko. Palace in Lazienki is called Palace on Water (Palac na Wodzie) as it is surrounded with an artificial water reservoir, canals, and bridges. It perfectly expresses sentimental tastes of the people of the Enlightenment era. Warsaw can be proud of two castles. The more famous – Royal Castle, which overlooks the Old Town, is an early-baroque residence, reconstructed after WWII, with the richest and most effective interiors in Warsaw, literally flooded with gold, as every monarch’s house should. Ujazdowski Castle, situated in an English-style landscape park, was rebuilt in baroque style and today is a house of acclaimed Center for Contemporary Art.

One of the most famous castles in Poland is the monumental, romanesque building in Czersk. The castle lost importance when Vistula changed its riverbed. Ilza Castle, or actually its ruins, is as famous. Today we can only see the romanesque tower from the 14th century. In nearby Szydlowiec you will find one of the most beautiful renaissance castles in Poland, beautifully preserved, astonishing with harmony, original architecture, which has no match in the entire country. Mazovia Princes Castle in Ciechanow is of great importance for Polish history, with beautifully preserved towers. An example of  unique eclectic architecture is a Castle in Liw, near Wyszkow.

Mazovia also hosts two grand, monumental military buildings, both raised in 19th century – Cytadela in Warsaw, important tsarist prison and Modlin fortress, located 30km away from Warsaw. Modlin Fortress is one of the biggest and  best preserved Polish fortresses, European phenomena, which is composed of e.g. the longest building in Europe (2,8 km).

As long as it is relatively easy to count castles of Mazovia, it is very hard to list all palaces, palace parks and manor houses scattered around the entire region. The most famous is Zelazowa Wola, the place where Frederic Chopin grew up. Typical Mazovian manor house is surrounded with beautifully maintained park upon Utrata River. There are other similar objects serving the purpose of art and culture in Mazovia. Oronsk, which is located north from Radom, is the Center of Polish Sculpture: a classical palace inside a big park with modern sculptures scattered here and there, which often pose a great contrast with the harmonious surrounding. Wsola, another location north of Radom, is where Witold Gombrowicz Museum was opened few years ago,  thanks to advocacy of his wife – Rita. Modern Museum is situated in a manor house of the Gombrowicz Family inside a beautiful, spacious park. Opinogora, near Ciechanow, is a place where you can find Museum of Romanticism. It is not a coincidence as this is where a famous  poet Zygmunt Krasinski used to live. It is interesting because of a unique neo-gothic small castle, a building built in style which is not particularly popular in Mazovia. In Obory, which is near Warsaw, we find a beautiful and grand baroque manor house from 17th century, which is now used by writers as a place for creative work. Similar function is played by breath-taking classical Palace in Radziejowice, close to Zyrardow, a finest example of aristocratic architecture. Also, close to village Guzow, there is a big palace which reminds castles upon Loire. A popular destination for meetings and conferences, but also film shooting, is a classical palace in Jablonna, north of Warsaw. There are countless stylish, more modest aristocratic residences, out of which Cieszkowski Family larch manor house in Sucha is considered the most beautiful. It was built in 18th century, today it is being restored.

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