February 25, 2008
History of Wawel Castle:
From the dawn of Polish history Wawel Hill in Cracow was a centre of secular and ecclesiastical power. The establishment in 1000 of the bishopric of Cracow was soon followed by the construction on Wawel of the first cathedral. The Wawel castle functioned as the residence of the Polish rulers from the mid-11th to the early 17th century. The present structure incorporates Romanesque fragments and considerable Gothic parts, but it acquired its present form mainly in the period c. 1504-1535, during the reign of the kings Alexander (1501-1506) and Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) of the Jagiellonian dynasty. The construction of the Renaissance castle was begun by Master Eberhard Rosemberger - responsible for the actual building - and Francesco the Florentine, who executed decorative stone elements and the arcaded galleries. Their work was continued by Master Benedykt and another Florentine, Bartolomeo Berrecci. Those artists created together one of the most stately monuments of Renaissance architecture in Europe.