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In the fire of 1595, the northeast part of the castle burned down. King Sigismund III Vasa rebuilt it, although of his efforts only the Senator Stairs and the fireplace in the Bird Room remain today. In 1609 King Sigismund moved the capital to Warsaw, and tough times for Wawel began. Both the castle and other buildings were neglected despite the concerns of local governors. The Swedish invasions of 1655 – 1657 and 1702 contributed to the further deterioration of the castle.

The Hill was occupied by the Prussian Army in 1794. Royal Insignia were stolen and never retrieved (apart from the Szczerbiec). After the Third Partition of Poland (1795) Wawel, as an important defensive point, was modernised by Austrians with defensive walls. The interior of the castle was changed and some of the buildings pulled down. In the second part of the 19th century the Austrians redesigned the defensive walls making them a part of a stronghold. However, in 1905 the emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria gave an order for Austrian troops to leave Wawel. Restoration works began, with the discovery of the Rotunda of Virgin Mary as well as other relics of the past. The renovations of the Wawel Hill were financed by public subscriptions.

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Additional Photos by georg nowak (jurek1951) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2669 W: 162 N: 5788] (42198)
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