Wawel Hill [5]

Zamek Wawel, Kraków

Between the Vasa Gate and the Herbowa Gate, atop the so-called Bastion of Ladislaus IV, stands an equestrian monument to Tadeusz Kościuszko. In the model, the height of the monument is blown out of proportion to its surrounding. The monument is a gift from the people of Dresden offered to Kraków in compensation for the destruction of other monuments during the second world war.

Stretching beyond the Herbowa Gate is the so-called "contribution" wall. It is the retaining wall built by the Austrians with plaques bearing the names of institutions and citizens who contributed to the revival of Wawel after Poland regained independence in 1918. Towering high above the wall, to the left of the Sigismund Tower and the Treasury, is the powerful wing of the Royal Castle framed on both sides with near-identical residential towers: the Tower of Sobieski (on the right) and the Tower of Sigismund III (on the left). Standing behind the latter are the Gothic parts of the castle: the Hen's Foot and the Gothic Pavilion built towards the end of the 14th century. They have a clearly developed system of buttresses strengthening the walls of the castle. The Hen's Foot held the chambers of Queen Jadwiga, and later also those of the wife of King Sigismund August (Zygmunt August), Barbara Radziwiłłówna. It is here that Master of Magic Twardowski is believed to have summoned the spirit of Barbara for the King, devastated by her death. It is here too that King Sigismund III Vasa is believed to have conducted his ventures into alchemy. It is thought that they caused the fire that consumed this part of the castle towards the end of the 16th century. Not waiting for the end of the overhaul, the King moved his court to Warsaw in 1609. It was also from the Hen's Foot that the first elected king, Henri Valois (Henryk Walezy), rumoured to have been reluctant to wed Anna the Jagiellonian, is believed to have escaped. At the time, there were still no Austrian fortifications, as they were not built until the 19th century, together with one of the most interesting elements – the caponiere – situated below the Tower of Sigismund III. What also draws attention in this wing of the castle is the Danish Tower with a baroque spire, sunk into the castle wall at an angle.

At the foot of the Danish Tower begins the Road to the Castle, built in the 19th century for the Austrian army to facilitate transport of cannons and horses to the hill. Gently raising up, it ends in the Bernardine Gate, which took its name from the church and monastery of the Bernardines (Brownfriars), situated at the foot of Wawel. Standing high above the gate is the Sandomierska Tower – the second of Wawel's defensive structures. The third, the Senatorska Tower, known also as Lubranka, stands over the beginning of the Road to the Castle. Built in the 15th century, the tallest of the Wawel defence towers, executions were carried out at its foot. It was here that the highwayman Krzysztof Szafraniec was beheaded; he is rumoured to sometimes still be seen in Wawel in the form of the headless rider. It was also here that the rebel Samuel Zborowski was put to death. In the 16th century, the tower was used for storage of royal robes.


Wawel Hill [5] (mp3)

Date: 2013-06-17 Show ticket
News author: Weronika Dulowska
News Publisher: Portal główny EN
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