Wilanów Park-Palace Complex

Wilanow Palace – the landmark of Masovia since the 17th century, now adorning the outskirts of Warsaw with its two-winged, richly-ornated and perfectly maintained structure. Built at the wish of King John III Sobieski and his beloved queen Maria Kazimiera, the royal residential palace has been regarded as the masterpiece of Baroque architecture since then. In fact, it represents the breeze of French- and Italian-inspired styles with its inner décor, as combined with internationally less familiar elements drawn from Polish court and countryside dworek residences. Surrounded by an extensive garden, housing impressive works of art inside and pleasing the eye with its façade make missing Wilanow Park-Palace Complex while in Warsaw a thing to regret if being a tourist.

Tour Overview

Wilanow Park-Palace Complex was designed by Augustyn Locci and erected between 1681 and 1696. Its original intention was to give the desired honour to the Sobieski royal family, so significant for Europe's current shape by the military deeds committed. The first floor of the palace is occupied by the Polish Portrait Gallery of Works, also with distinctive coffin portraits on display –  so characteristic for Polish art of the era, and practically unknown elsewhere. The residential part gives an example of one-of-its-kind Sarmatian lifestyle of Polish nobility of the 17th century, with rich oriental patterns interwoven with ancient Slavic motifs. The neo-Rennaissance garden of the complex has an extensive area of 45 hectares of land and encompasses a few distinctive thematic gardens, where soul-soothing flowery compositions, sculptures and fountains are present at every step you take.

Wilanow is a district of Warsaw now, located in the very heart of Poland and in the southern part of the capital city. The beautifully laid out structure of the Wilanow palace, with an oval lawn occupying the front piece of land behind the main gate, brings the connotations with the Versailles into mind. The royal building has a light, Baroque and coherent layout, despite the two of its wings having been built separately, between 1723 and 1729. Sightseeing the complex and the interiors of this Polish version of a chateaux should be devoted about 2 hours to.

Every chamber and each detail you will see inside the palace in Wilanow is a testimony to the great talent of those artists who were commissioned to adorn its interiors (including Bellotti, Palloni, Sieminigowski-Eleuter or Callot).  Starting with the noble coats of arms of the Sobieski family, the motif of triumphal arches interspersed within the décor of the façade or numerous allusions to Mars – the god of war –  the design clearly shows that the palace was meant to constitute a special tribute to "the savior of Vienna" the Polish king was.  The museum itself not only houses the aforementioned Polish Portrait Gallery, but also allows for admiring the masterpieces of such artists, as Rubens, David or Cranach. The extensive Wilanow collection is so diversified that it also includes beautiful Chinese vases and porcelain-made artifacts, embroidered images, as well as a great number of marble busts or sculptures. It is also an interesting option to visit the Poster Museum located within the complex, with over 54 thousand of brilliantly-designed posters collected and an exhibition of the Polish School of Poster Art on display there.

While visiting, you will notice that the palace in Wilanow is comprised of three distinctive styles with regard to its interior. The central part of the building represents the pure Baroque style, its southern wing – the 18th century décor and art, while the northern one gives the feeling of 19th century tradition. The Sarmatian-style furs, hunting trophies, wartime looted artifacts and beautifully ornated crockery complement the impressive collection to be seen in Wilanow residential complex. Plenty of marble, gold and precious fabrics present inside Wilanow Palace, such impressively finished chambers as the Etruscan Cabinet, Queen Mary's Bedroom, the King's Bedroom and Library or the White Hall, make a visit to the place full moments providing unforgettable visual sensations.

Wilanow garden is where you will see the predominance of Italian style of space arrangement – a lot of ancient period-inspired statues, concentric alleys, fountains and other works of small architecture make up a beautiful area for having a long stroll along. The garden has been planned as a two-level space, divided by a brick wall with stairs leading along the main axis of the palace. Complemented by not-less breathtaking romantic English-Chinese and English gardens or an orangery, the park has it all to hail it the most representative green space of Warsaw – if not of the entire region. Numerous performances and great illumination of the park during wintertime make it worthy of a visit for all year round.

Interested in exploring Wilanow Park-Palace Complex while in Poland? Contact us for assistance with regard to the organisational aspect of your trip!

Tour Details

  • The price includes the admission fee to Wilanow Park-Palace Complex, a guided tour for individuals / groups and the transport to/from the palace to the hotel.
  • It is possible to organise the trip to Wilanow Park-Palace Complex regardless of the place of your stay in Poland. Inform us of the place of collection to have your pick-up fixed.

TOP 10 - the most interesting rooms on the main floor:

The White Hall
Designed by J. Z. Deybl, completed in 1730-1733 for King August II, the White Room is the most sumptuous interior in Wilanow Palace, optically enlarged by great wall mirrors facing the windows. The walls are decorated with the paintings by Louis de Silvestre, depicting two monarchs from the Wettin dynasty, August II and August III.

Statue of Jan III Sobieski
Back in the 17th century, the equestrian statue showing Jan III Sobieski - the triumphant vanquisher of the Turks - stood in a niche flanked by two columns opposite the main entrancee. The plaster statue was made around 1693 by an unknown royal sculptor.

The Chapel
The Chapel was built in 1852-1861 to commemorate Jan III Sobieski, who had died in Wilanów in 1696. It was designed in 1852 by Enrico Marconi and F. M. Lanci, architects of the Potocki family, working as a team. The altar with its tabernacle and the decoration of the walls, doors and windows was done by the Italian L. Carimini, and the statue of Virgin Mary (after Raphael’s Sistine Madonna) was made by the Italian sculptor V. Gaiassi. The stucco decorations of the dome were made by a local stucco worker, one Józef Klimczak from the village of Powsinek.

The King's Library
An arcade-connected two-part room used to be Jan III’s refuge where he read and worked. It can boast of having the oldest authentic floor in the Palace, made of three-coloured marble tiles.The ceiling was decorated by the king’s court artists with tondo paintings depicting allegories of the two chief sciences of the 17th century, Philosophy and Theology. The room is decorated with several dozen paintings by Flemish, Dutch, French and German artists.

The King's Bedroom
This room is the  equivalent of the Queen’s Bedroom on the other side of the Dutch Study by its structure. The ceiling painting by J.E. Siemiginowski depicts an allegory of Summer (also found as the main motif of the frame of the Regency Mirror), with Aurora bearing the features of Queen Marie Casimire. The decorative moulding between the ceiling and the walls include putti riding sea horses and dolphins and tondo pictures depicting summer works in the country, with matching quotations from Virgil’s Georgics on streamers.

The Grand Vestibule
In the 17th century, this was the largest room in the Palace: a two-storey space aligned with the main body of the edifice (it was originally used as a Dining Room), linking the royal rooms situated on its two sides: King Jan III’s rooms to the right of the entrance, and Queen Marie Casimire’s to the left. The walls used to be decorated with paintings depicting the triumphs of Alexander the Great. The room is furnished with English chairs and armchairs (late 16th century) and a French table with an onyx tabletop, with an English lantern hanging over it.

The Queen's Bedroom
One of the most spectacular Baroque interiors in the Palace. The ceiling is decorated with a plafond painting by J. E. Siemiginowski (Allegory of Spring). The decorative moulding between the ceiling and the walls features sphinxes and putti as well as frescoes of the various kinds of springtime work in the country with matching quotations from Virgil’s Georgics on streamers.The walls are covered in patterned velvet (1710-1730) in the Genoan style, while the Baroque-style furniture exemplifies the great taste of the Queen herself.

The North Gallery
The Lower North Gallery links the wing of the Palace with its main body. In 1820, Stanisław Kostka Potocki decided to use it as museum space and had the side adjacent to the Gardens walled up to half its height. Together with the rooms in the north wing, the Gallery formed part of Wilanów’s public collection of paintings. Except for paintings, the Gallery also contains 18th- and 19th-century marble busts (copies of ancient originals) displayed on 19th century gilt consoles.

The Etruscan Cabinet
This was designed (post 1853) by Enrico and Leandro Marconi as an exhibition room for the Wilanów collection of ancient amphorae started by Stanisław Kostka Potocki. The collection, originally made up of ca. 100 items, is unique among contemporary Polish collections of this kind as it was gathered not only through purchases but also thanks to archaeological work personally led by Potocki in 1785/1786 at Nola near Naples. Today, the permanent exhibition of Wilanów amphorae contains 84 ancient vessels from the 8th to the 2nd century BCE, mainly from south Italy, Etruria and Athens, and 27 copies from the end of the 18th century, mostly commissioned by Stanisław Kostka Potocki to be modelled on originals in his collection.

The Paintings Gallery called Museum
Originally a three-room apartment, August Potocki had it converted around the middle of the 19th century into a permanent museum gallery, mostly displaying foreign paintings. The Pompeii pink walls and the ceiling murals with medallion portraits of great sculptors, architects and painters of the Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist periods are an allusion to typical 19th century museum interiors. The walls are decorated with European paintings from the collection of Stanisław Kostka Potocki and his successors. The most valuable pieces include: “The Final Judgement” (1530) by Wolfgang Krodel the Elder and “Entry of Michał Radziwiłł to Rome” (probably 1680) by Pieter van Bloemen and possibly also Niccolo Viviani Codazzi.

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