Symbols of Warsaw: King Sigismund’s Column

You cannot get anywhere near the Royal Castle without noticing the Sigismund’s Column. Erected in 1644 to commemorate King Sigismund III Vasa, this impressive structure honors the ruler, who on the turn of 16th and 17th cent. moved from Cracow to Warsaw. Leveled to the ground during the Warsaw Uprising (Sep. 2, 1944) and rebuilt after the war (pieces of the original column, destroyed during WWII, are also on display here). The statue of the king is original – it fell down however it was not destroyed.

It is one of Warsaw’s most famous landmarks and one of the oldest secular monuments in northern Europe. On the Corinthian column (which used to be of red marble), 8.5 m (28 feet) high, a sculpture of the King, 2.75-meters (9 feet) high, in archaistic armour is placed. Sigismund’s Column now stands at 22 meters (72 feet) and is adorned by four eagles. The king is dressed in armor and carries a cross in one hand and wields a sword in the other.

The marble column itself was renovated several times in the next few centuries, most notably in 1743, 1810, 1821 and 1828. In 1854 the monument was surrounded with a fountain featuring marble tritons sculpted by the German, August Kiss. In 1863 the column was renovated again, but still needed work, and between 1885 and 1887 it was replaced with a new column of granite. After the WWII the statue was repaired, and in 1949 it was set up on a new column, made of Polish granite, a couple of meters from the original site. The original broken pieces of the column can still be seen lying next to the Royal Castle.

 

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