A natural spot from which to start exploring the Old Town is triangular Castle Square (Plac Zamkowy). Attracting snap-happy tourists by the hundreds each day is the square's centrepiece, the Sigismund III Vasa Column. This lofty 22m-high monument to the king who moved the capital from Kraków to Warsaw was erected by the king's son in 1644 and is Poland's second-oldest secular monument (after Gdańsk's Neptune fountain).

It was knocked down during WWII, but the statue survived and was placed on a new column four years after the war. The original, shrapnel-scarred granite column now lies along the south wall of the Royal Castle.