Built in 1910, the Emperor's Castle in Poznan was the last royal castle erected in Europe
The Emperor's Castle in Poznań, erected between 1904 - 1910, was supposed to constitute the main element of a royal district built in place of the fortification walls. The residence, designed by Franz Schwechten, is a Neo-Romanesque building dominated by a 74-meter clock tower (it was destroyed during WW2 and today it is 30 meters lower). The castle built for an exorbitant amount of 5 million marks as a royal residence hosted Emperor Wilhelm II only three times: in 1910 at the opening, in 1913 r. (at the inauguration of the royal chapel) and during WW1 when the command of the German army in the East was quartered in the building in 1915. After the outbreak of the Wielkopolska Uprising it fell into the hands of Poles, becoming the seat , first of the minister of the former Prussian District, and in 1922 of the President of the Republic of Poland during his stay in Poznań. The lower floors of the building were occupied by the Poznań University. During WW2, the Germans began a complete reconstruction of the castle for an amount exceeding 16 million marks, of which 1 million was handed over by Hitler personally. The key modifications included the reconstruction of the chapel, which was turned into Hitler's study (the apse was disassembled and a small balcony facing St. Martin Street was built) and the construction of a representative entrance from St. Martin Street. On 31 January, 1945 the castle was bombarded by the Russians, as a result of which the tower was destroyed. After taking over the building, the castle was transformed into a POW camp. After the war attempts were made to demolish the residence completely as it was considered a symbol of Prussianism. The castle was saved by general K. Świerczewski, who convinced the residents of Poznań that the Red Army had insufficient amounts of explosives to blow up the building. In the end, only the damaged tower was pulled down, and the building, transformed into the New Town Hall, became the seat of the Poznań authorities (and fulfilled this function till 1962, when the authorities moved to Kolegiacki Square). In 1979, the Castle was entered into the register of historical monuments. In 2004 the renovation of the castle and its surroundings was initiated, as a result of which the building regained its original, light colours, the castle's park and fountain imitating the 13th century lion fountain in Alhambra, Grenada were refurbished. Today, the Castle is administered by "Zamek" Cultural Centre, a city institution which has been the most important cultural centre in Poznań for decades. The Castle is home to many cultural institutions such as the Animation Theatre, Palace cinema, the Profil gallery and "Pf" gallery (the only photographic gallery in Poznań), "Pro Sinfonika" Youth Music Lovers and the Children's Art Centre (organiser of the International Young Audience Film Festival "Ale Kino!). The Castle also engages in educational projects; it runs 23 different music, art, theatre, literary, film and technical workshops, clubs and groups attended by more than 1,200 participants. Furthermore, the Cultural Centre organises exhibitions and concerts as well as large art projects. The Castle also houses one of the best jazz clubs in Poland called, "Blue Note" and the "Pod Pretekstem" restaurant which addresses its artistic programme mainly to poetic music lovers.