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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » February 23, 2012
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Destruction and Reconstruction
February 23, 2012   
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A new permanent exhibition has opened at the Royal Castle in Warsaw documenting the castle’s history during and after World War II. Visitors to the exhibition are reminded about the circumstances in which the authorities decided to rebuild the castle.

The new exhibition is housed on 350 square meters in the castle’s historic basement, featuring a multimedia presentation showing how badly the castle was damaged and what a tremendous task it was to rebuild it. Today the Royal Castle and Warsaw’s Old Town as a whole are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

A symbol of Poland’s sovereignty, in the first days of World War II the Royal Castle became the target of German bombs and went up in flames Sept. 17, 1939. The destruction was completed during the Warsaw Uprising in September 1944 when the Germans methodically blew up whatever was still left of the castle.

After the war, historians and conservators spent years calling for a reconstruction effort, but it was not until January 1971 that the communist authorities decided to launch such a project. A team of designers was tasked with recreating the building and its interiors in exactly the same shape as before 1939.

Reconstruction work began in September 1971. Phase one, the shell of the building, was completed in August 1974 when the spire was put atop the Clock Tower and the clock was set in motion. In 1977, the first interiors were opened to visitors, followed by more rooms in August 1984 when the castle officially reopened to the public. The reconstruction project was funded almost entirely with donations from private individuals in Poland and abroad.

The Destruction and Reconstruction of the Royal Castle in Warsaw

1 Zamkowy Sq.
The exhibition can be viewed during the Castle’s opening hours; free admission.
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