The Wilanów Park forms an integral part of the Wilanów Palace and Gardens. Perfect for a pleasant walk, it is a destination of choice for Varsovians seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. Every year, the Park attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world.
The choice of this location for a royal residence was guided by the favourable natural conditions. The combination of natural terraces and running water provided a perfect setting for a Baroque garden which relied for its impact on interesting vistas and strong visual links with the surrounding landscape. From the outset of his reign, King Jan III afforded a special degree of care for the gardens in his royal residence. The King inspected the gardens in person, planted trees and enjoyed their beauty spending long hours in his horticultural retreat. Over the centuries, the royal gardens have undergone changes as subsequent owners of the Wilanów estate expanded and modified the grounds in keeping with their personal tastes and prevailing fashions.
The 45 hectares of the Wilanów Park comprise gardens in a number of styles: a two-level Baroque garden, a neo-Renaissance rose garden, an English landscape park and an English-Chinese landscape park.
Water is an important element of the overall park design in Wilanów. The Park has a unique microclimate thanks to its natural lake and stream and its man-made pond dating back to King Jan III’s days, which imbue the grounds with a romantic atmosphere. The trees grown in the Park are mostly local species, such as lime trees (Tilia cordata), maples (Acer platanoides), ironwood (Carpinus betulus), elms (Ulmus laevis), white poplars (Populus alba), Lombardy poplars (Populus nigra), pedunculate oaks (Quercus robur), and northern red oaks (Quercus rubra). Exotic tree species include gingko (Ginkgo biloba), southern catalpas (Catalpa bignonioides), katsura trees (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera), planes (Platanus acerifolia) and honey locust trees (Gleditsia triacanthos). Many of our trees are valuable specimens, with 28 officially listed in the register of natural heritage.
The Park can be entered through a gate from the Palace courtyard. Formerly a two-partite design, in the 19th century Stanisław Kostka Potocki had the courtyard converted into a single spacious area with an oval lawn in the centre. In spring, the courtyard is adorned by blossoming magnolias (Magnolia x soulangeana), one of the oldest examples of this species in Poland. The courtyard and the Park are separated by a pergola with a Roman gate carrying a Latin line, “Ducite solicitae quam iucunda oblivia vitae”. Taken from Horace (Ducere sollicitæ iucunda oblivia vitæ), the line praises a quiet country existence far from life’s cares (conservation work on the inscription is currently in progress). The pergola (designed by Francesco Maria Lanci and built along the axis extending from the north wing of the Palace, replacing replaced former stables and granaries) is overgrown with climbing vines (Vitis coignetiae) and Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia durior).Between the Fig Building and the Orangery, Lanci designed a romantic brickwork gate aligned with the main gate.
Turn left after entering the Park to reach a delightful spot known as the Grove of Academos. On a hot day, relax on a semi-circular stone bench decorated with sculptures and shaded with trees. The entrance to the Grove is flanked by statues of two Polish poets, Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584) and Franciszek Karpiński (1741-1825). At the north wing of the Palace you will find Rococo flower parterres, where seasonal plants are arranged to form spectacular multi-coloured flower carpets.
The Wilanów residence is composed of the palace, its decorations and works of art, gardens and sculptures located in the park and also numerous buildings and monuments raised in the location since 1677. A visit to Wilanów, be it virtual or real, provides an opportunity to experience the core of our tradition that is also a part of the common European culture.
The Wilanów Palace, its beautiful gardens and buildings located in the park as well as the amassed works of art all constitute records of history. The venue commemorates Jan III, a warrior-king and at the same time a lover of books and paintings, a well-educated patron of art vividly interested in science. His memory was kept alive by Stanisław Kostka Potocki, an outstanding politician and founder of the Wilanów Museum.