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Castles of Poznan

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Of all the historical sights of Poznan, two castles are among the city's major attractions. Both are worth seeing while touring Poznan.

Imperial Castle

Imperial Castle PoznanThe monumental building full of towers and spires, dating from 1904 - 1910, was built for German Emperor Wilhelm II as his residence. The designer was Franz Schwechten, one of the most famous German architects at that time. It is the youngest castle in Europe. The Palace was meant as part of the complex of buildings known as the ''Imperial District''. To reflect the glory of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, the neo-Romanesque style was favoured by Wilhelm as the most appropriate for the building. The 74-metre-high tower dominates over the whole structure. The most imposing parts of the interior include a chapel, modelled on the world-known Capella Palatina in Palermo, and a lovely throne chamber used by the Emperor during his stays in the Palace. In the mid-war period the Castle became the Polish President's residence. During World War II the Castle underwent rebuilding works to become Hitler's official residence. However, the Castle suffered severely in the 1945 wartime fights. It was in such a terrible condition that some thought of putting it down. Finally, it was restored but not all the architectural details have been preserved. The lion fountain, modelled on one in the Alhambra Palace in Grenada, in the Rose Courtyard is also worth seeing. It is a venue for summer concerts and film shows. It has been registered as a national historical monument since 1979. For some time the building served as a seat of the municipal authorities, thus, it used to be called ''New Town Hall''. Nowadays, due to a lack of funds only part of the Castle is home to such cultural institutions as the cinema (the Throne Chamber) and the Animation Theatre.

Royal Castle

Royal Castle PoznanRoyal Castle, dating from 1249, is situated on a hill originally known as the Castle Hill, nowadays referred to as the Hill of Przemysl. Its modern name is connected with the castle founder – Przemysl I, the duke of Greater Poland. First, it was just a habitable brick tower with social facilities, which in the end of the 13th century became part of the city walls system. Around that time Przemysl I's son, Przemysl II, hoping to become king commenced expanding the edifice to make it look like a royal residence. His reign was short, but the works on rebuilding the structure were continued by his successors. In the end of the 14th century the castle, then the largest secular building in the Kingdom of Poland, consisted of a habitable tower, a tall defence tower and a massive four-level structure ( 63 x 17.5 x 9 metres). Since the reign of Wladyslaw the Elbow-High the Castle has been used as a residence first for the kings and then for the general elders of Greater Poland.
As a consequence of the tragic events like the 1536 fire, the Swedish Deluge, the Great Northern War and World War II, the castle was seriously damaged. The 1950's restoration works were limited only to the archive buildings erected on the foundations of the southern part of the castle by Kazimierz Raczynski, the last general governor of Greater Poland. The Castle is renowned as a host to a lot of sovereigns. One of the most significant historical events from the castle history is the homage paid to King Jan Olbracht by Johann von Tiefen, the grand master of the Teutonic Knights. Nowadays, the Castle houses the Museum of Applied Arts.

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