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   The WAWEL CASTLE is a castle residency located in central KRAKÓW, POLAND. Built at the behest of King Casimir III the Great, it consists of a number of structures situated around the Italian-styled main courtyard. The castle, being one of the largest in POLAND, represents nearly all European architectural styles of medieval, renaissance and baroque periods. The WAWEL ROYAL CASTLE and the WAWEL Hill constitute the most historically and culturally significant site in the country. In 1978 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Historic Centre of KRAKÓW.
   For centuries the residence of the kings of POLAND and the symbol of Polish statehood, the Castle is now one of the country's premier art museums.
   The Hill was occupied by the Prussian Army in 1794. Royal Insignia were stolen and never retrieved (apart from the Szczerbiec).
   After World War I, the authorities of the newly independent Polish Second Republic decided that WAWEL CASTLE was to become a representative building of the POLISH state and would be used by the Governor and later by the President himself. In 1921 the Polish Parliament passed a resolution which gave WAWEL official status as the residence of the President of POLAND. Following the ravages of World War II, by the decree of the State National Council, WAWEL CASTLE became a national museum (i.s.).


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