The Royal Castle served as the official residence of the King of Poland starting with Segismundo starting in the 16th c, before that serving a ducal palace since the tower was built in the 14th c. The lower part of the tower still stands. The Nazis destroyed the rest subsequent to the uprising of 1944. Segismundo was Swedish and a Catholic in what was then a Protestant country, and his statue remains with us today at the top of the new column in the palace square. The Nazis collapsed the original column, the remains of which sit at the side of the castle today.
The Poles rebuilt the palace and its sumptuous rooms starting in the 1970’s. They did a superb job of it, and are proud of the accomplishment. There is a substantial film about the works just as you enter, which the bossy guards make sure you see. I’d never seen how they did the wall and ceiling appliques, which they showed in detail. While it’s not the most impressive palace I have ever seen -Versailles, Hermitage and the Palacio Real in Madrid both outrank it – but there’s certainly much to be proud of with regards to the workmanship.
In addition to the interior there is a good collection of paintings, including two Rembrandt portraits.