Imperial Castle

Poznań, Poland

The Imperial Castle in Poznań was constructed under the German rule in 1910 by Franz Schwechten for William II, German Emperor, with significant input from William himself. Since its completion, the building has housed government offices of Germany (to 1918 and during the Second World War) and Poland (1918–1939, 1945–present).

Construction began in 1905, and five years later, on 21 August 1910, during a visit of the emperor in Poznań, the architect presented the keys to the new residence to William. The total cost of the building was five million German marks, and the castle is the youngest in Europe.

After the Greater Poland Uprising (1918–1919), the castle became the property of the Second Polish Republic. According to a decision of the Polish government in 1921, the castle became the residence of the Naczelnik państwa and later the President of Poland. The building was also used by the Ministry of Former Prussian Partition.

After the incorporation of Greater Poland into Nazi Germany in 1939, the authorities decided to transform the castle into Adolf Hitler's residence. It was also used by the administrator of the Wartheland, Arthur Greiser. According to this decision, Albert Speer prepared the project of the reconstruction, which completely changed the rooms of the castle. Most of the rooms were changed into the style of the Third Reich. The chapel was changed into the private cabinet of Hitler, with a characteristic balcony with an electric-heated floor. The cabinet was a copy of Hitler's room in the Reich Chancellery; the architectonic details of this room survived World War II and is often used in films. The Throne Room was also transformed into an audience hall. Under the castle, a bunker for 375 people was constructed. The rebuilding was stopped in 1943 due to the Germans' negativity from setbacks on the Eastern Front.

During fighting in 1945, the castle was a temporary camp for German POWs, and was later used as a barracks by the Polish People's Army. During this period, the communist government considered the demolition of the castle as a symbol of the German occupation and bourgeois style. Due to a lack of funds, only some of the German symbols were removed and the upper part of damaged tower was demolished.

The castle was built in Neo-Romanesque style, considered by William to be the most 'Germanic' and representing the glory of the Holy Roman Empire. The new residence was intended to reflect the control over Greater Poland by the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire.

The main building located in the southern part of the complex has two wings: the western — the larger one — consisting of apartments, and the eastern with representative rooms. On the ground floor of the western wing were rooms of the Court Marshal, Chamberlain and other members of imperial court. On the first floor were the apartments of the Emperor and his wife. A private chapel in a Byzantine style (project of August Oetken) was located in a tower. The most impressive room of the representative wing was the Throne Room in Byzantine style. The room was lighted by huge windows from three sides, positioned between the columns and the arches. Eight statues of Holy Roman Emperors were placed under the arches. The throne, designed in an oriental style, was situated under the middle arch. Over the windows was a gallery for guests and the orchestra.

Today, the Throne Room is used as a cinema room; other apartments contain art galleries, a puppet theater, pubs, music clubs and restaurants. The courtyard is often a place of concerts and outdoor movie performances during summer. The second floor is still empty and has not been renovated.

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Details

Founded: 1905-1910
Category: Castles and fortifications in Poland

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Riven (4 months ago)
First of all, I would like to say that I don't want to be rude. The people working there try to maintain this place as much as possible, and I admire that. In addition the price is very cheap, so that balances out the experience. Now that I said that, here is my review. The outside castle is magnificent. With everything that this castle went through, it is surprising that it's still up. Very good job on restoring it so fast ?. However, there is nothing inside. The castle is EMPTY. Appart from 1 screen playing the history of the movie, there is really nothing to see. I would've loved to have recreated decor from the imperialistic era and the 3rd reich era. The castle went through these changes, and I would love to see that. I know that the furniture was destroyed, but replicas could've been put in there. Today, the castle is the home of the cultural centre of Poznan, which is a great idea! But I really would've loved some extra history about it.
nuri antar (6 months ago)
Even if I visited there Saturday, I did not waited. Tickets are relatively cheap. I like the leaflet given to me it is explanatory. I really like it and enjoyed it.
Andrea Walker (7 months ago)
While there aren't any furnishings or artifacts you can still rent a headset to listen to the history of each room of the castle. There is also a place to eat and book store at the end. And don't forget to check out the gifts when you first walk in or out. Everything is reasonably priced.
Pascal Johnstone (8 months ago)
Magnificent, and haunting, building. First built for Wilhelm II, and then remodeled extensively for Hilter, it gives an insight into the type of spaces the Fuhrer preferred to work and live in. The castle was practically empty when we visited, which only added to its imposing nature. Well worth a visit, whether for the history, the architecture, or both.
Tom Jordan (9 months ago)
Would recommend taking the well-priced audio guide tour of one of Europe's youngest castles (built in 1910). Despite being a relatively young castle compared to others in Europe, the history is still extremely interesting. To enter simply make your way around the construction works at the front of the castle and go up the main stairs and to the self-service kiosk in the main hall inside the door. The staff speak English and are very helpful if any help is required.
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