Ujazdowski Castle

Warsaw, Poland

Partially destroyed 1944, demolished 1975

The Disappointed Tourist: Ujazdowski Castle, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

We used to play in the maze of ruins of the castle when I was a child. We called them “Murki” which means small walls. That extensive labyrinth of short walls was a magical setting to play inside. Jan B

Ujazdów Castle (Polish: Zamek Ujazdowski) is a rebuilt castle in Warsaw. There have been castles on the site since the 13th Century but the building prior to the German invasion of Poland was built piece-meal in the 17th and 18th century as a royal residence before being converted into military barracks and hospital at the end of the 18th Century. The castle was burnt and seriously damaged during the German occupation in World War II; the ruins were eventually demolished by the Polish communist authorities in 1975. The castle was rebuilt using the 18th Century plans and since 1988, houses the Centre for Contemporary Art (Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej). The painting is based on an uncredited black-and-white photograph from before World War II.