Castle Square, also known as Plac Zamkowy, is one of the most historic squares in Warsaw. This cobbled square has been the site of numerous demonstrations, speeches, executions and other important public events throughout the city’s often tumultuous history. Although much of the square and the handsome buildings that surround it are post-World War II reconstructions, the site exudes a rich sense of history. People-watch, find a spot to enjoy lunch and explore the interesting attractions dotted around the square.
This triangular plaza is a good first stop when touring the sites of Warsaw’s Old Town. Hire one of the carriages parked here for tours around this historic district.
Check out the towering 72-foot (22-meter) statue at the center of the square, called the Kolumna Zygmunt. The statue depicts King Zygmunt III Waza who moved the country’s capital to Warsaw from Kraków in the 17th century, a decision that is understandably important to the city’s residents. It’s said that if the sword held by the king’s statue falls, so too will Warsaw. The original column was destroyed in 1944. See its remains near the castle walls.
Turn to the east side of the square to see the brick façade of the Royal Castle. The original 13th-century castle was destroyed in 1944, but many of the artworks and furnishings inside are originals. Don’t miss the Canaletto Room, which houses a collection of 18th-century paintings of the city. Look for the two Rembrandt paintings in the castle’s Lanckoroński Collection.
The square is the site of numerous outdoor exhibitions, ad campaigns and other public events throughout the year. If you visit during the holiday season, purchase handmade gifts and sip a hot drink as you wander around Warsaw's Christmas Market. This charming annual event features colorful lights and holiday decorations, along with vendors selling seasonal treats and Christmas-themed souvenirs.
Find Castle Square on the south side of the city’s Old Town at the northern end of Krakowskie Przedmiescie. It’s within walking distance of tram and metro stops.