The Wawel Royal Castle is a castle residency located in central Kraków, Poland, and the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world. Built at the behest of King Casimir III the Great, it consists of a number of structures from different periods 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.
The castle is part of a fortified architectural complex erected atop a limestone outcrop on the left bank of the Vistula River, at an altitude of 228 metres above sea level. The complex consists of numerous buildings of great historical and national importance, including the Wawel Cathedral where Polish monarchs were crowned and buried. Some of Wawel's oldest stone buildings can be traced back to 970 AD, in addition to the earliest examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture in Poland. The current castle was built in the 14th-century, and expanded over the next hundreds of years.