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A beautiful wooded park to the south of old Warsaw, laid out in the 17th century by the Utrecht-born Baroque architect Tylman van Gameren (Tylman Gamerski), who settled in Poland at the age of 28, and worked for, among others, Queen Marie Casimire, wife of King John III Sobieski. A man-made lake is hidden in the trees below the Belweder Palace and a monument to Chopin, where Sunday recitals are given.
One of the houses open to the public in the park is the charming Palace on the Isle, originally a grotto-bathhouse was built by Van Gameren for the philosopher, politician and writer Prince Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski but transformed into a Baroque pavilion in 1764 by King Stanisław August, inspired by Italian models such as the Villa Borghese, Villa Albani, Villa Medici and Villa Ludovisi, and opened eventually in 1792 as Warsaw’s first modern public museum, to display the King’s remarkable collection of paintings, schulptures and prints. The Italian born Domenico Merlini and Johann Christian Kammsetzer, who was born in Dresden, were his architects. The palace is open daily 10–18, but closed on Mondays. It is also occasionally closed for ceremonial functions.
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