People get enchanted by the breathtaking view of phenomenal ‘Baroque Gardens’ the moment they enter the Archbishop’s historic castle in Kromeriz, Czech Republic. The amazing castle that served as a summer residence of the ‘Olomouc Archbishops’ & its exceptionally beautiful gardens that dominate the landscape of the city of ‘Kromeriz’, constitute the most remarkable cultural heritage of the country! The castle ensemble & its ‘Pleasure Garden’ in particular, had served as the role model for the development of number of Baroque gardens & palace designs in ‘Central Europe’.
The castle or the chateau, as it is often referred as, belong to an elite class of some of the most beautiful places in Europe. The castle & the gardens were included in the list of UNESCO’S ‘World Heritage Sites’ in the year 1998 & the gardens played the decisive role in its inscription on the list!
HISTORY IN BRIEF:
The first construction was founded on this site in a ‘Late Gothic style’ of architecture by bishop Stansilas Thurzo in 1497, which, however, was disfigured by the ‘Swedish’ army in 1643 during the ‘Thirty Years War’.
In 1664, a bishop from the Liechtenstein clan commissioned Filiberto Lucchese to refurbish the castle in a ‘Baroque Style’. The magnificent ‘Pleasure Garden’ that has now become the identity of ‘Kromeriz’ is the example of Lucchese’s prodigy. After Lucchese’s death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla, pupil of ‘Turinese school’, completed the work on the garden, left by Lucchese & also had the castle rebuilt in the classical ‘Turinese style’ of architecture.
The castle was shattered in a major fire in March 1752. Bishop Hamilton then commissioned two brilliant imperial artists- Franz Anton Maulbertsch & Joseph Stern, to decorate the interior of the castle. The castle now hosts country’s second finest collections of paintings & artworks, including Titian’s last mythological painting- ‘The Flaying of Marsyas’. The work on the castle garden continued till the 19th century, during which, the arcades, bridges & model farmsteads were constructed.
The main building of the castle is a freestanding structure encircling a trapezoidal central courtyard with its four wings & rising three storeys above. The base is built on a high platform. The first floor houses the main rooms, including the ‘Throne Room’ & ‘Conference Hall’ with two dining rooms. The second floor has the guest room, a library & the chapel.
The castle is connected to the gardens through the ground floor rooms containing the grottoes. The gardens feature several important monuments, including a semi-circular classical styled colonnade that houses the sculptures brought from ‘Pompeii’ & a lavish Max’s Farmstead located on the western periphery of the garden. The ‘Pleasure Garden’ is located in the southwestern part of the historic center of ‘Kromeriz’ & it features an arcaded gallery containing myriad busts & statues. The gardens, decorated ornately using statues, fountains & unique species of trees are the true treasure of ‘Kromeriz’!
ART COLLECTION OF THE CASTLE:
The paintings gallery of the castle is widely known throughout the Europe for its phenomenal collection of ‘Central European’ paintings between the 15th & the 18th century.
The painting from the ace Venetian artist Tiziano Vecelli is the most valuable of all. The glorious treasury of paintings also includes original works of the master painters such as ‘Van Dyck’, ‘Diirer’ & ‘Cranash the elder’. The Bishop of Olomouc Charles II of Lichtenstein has been credited for such a vast collection of the paintings as he had employed myriad artists & copiers for adorning his gallery with the sizzling collection of some of the best paintings in the Europe.
The amazing castle & the gorgeous gardens of ‘Kromeriz’ are one of its kind & a genuine visual treat. Visiting this place at least once is definitely an unforgettable experience of the lifetime!