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Archbishop's Mansion and Gardens in Kroměříž

photo:  (mojefoto.cz)

In 1110, the Bishops of Olomouc were donated Kroměříž. In the 13th century, one of them, Bruno of Schauenburg, had a Gothic castle built on the site of a Slavic settlement.


At the turn of the 16th century the castle was rebuilt into a Renaissance residence with a four-wing building and a big tower. At the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1643, Swedish military forces devastated the chateau. In its place a grand Early Baroque Palace was constructed. Bishop Karl Lichtenstein hired Italian imperial architects Filiberto Luches and Giovanni P. Tencalla from Vienna. They also participated in other constructions after a fire. From the original castle the lower part of the main tower remained, and it was rebuilt into a grand 84-meter-high tower. On the ground plan of the original castle a three-floor building was built, as well as surrounding courtyards with arcades, pilasters and corner rizalites. Further architectural adjustments were made after the fire in the chateau in 1752 and in the 19th century. In the revolutionary years 1848-49, the session of the Reichstag was moved here from Vienna.

Inside the chateau there is a whole range of richly decorated interiors with excellent period equipment and collections, and a salla terena leading to the Below-the-Chateau Garden. The interiors served as representative spaces, presenting art and historic collections and management of the bishopric.

The chateau picture gallery concentrates showcases European painters of the 15th-18th centuries, such as Tizian, Lucas Cranach Sr., Hans von Aachen, Paolo Veronese and Jan Breughel Sr. This collection is one of the most valuable in Czech republic.

The Under-Chateau Garden was created in the Middle Ages; it was later adjusted to the Renaissance and Baroque styles. In the 19th century, it was changed into a romantic English-style park. The park is 64 hectares large and includes three artificial lakes and several Romantic buildings, such as Pompeian and Colloredo colonnades, a Chinese pavilion and Max’s Courtyard. According to the model of Renaissance gardens, the

Flower Garden was built in the second half of the 17th century. Its center creates an octagonal, richly decorated rotunda and a monumental colonnade around it, which is 244 meters long. At that point there is the Lion Fountain, the Tritons´ Fountain, a square and a circular maze.

These gardens are some of the most significant examples of garden architecture in Europe. They are included in the UNESCO list together with the chateau complex.

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Added: 01.01.2010

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