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Wallenstein Palace

Wallenstein Palace (Valdštejnský palác) was the first large building of the Baroque style to be constructed in Prague, and was constructed by Albrecht von Wallenstein, who died in 1634. He was a military commander who won many victories over the Protestants in the 30 Years War and he was soon seen as indispensable to Emperor Ferdinand II. The titles he received weren’t enough for him though; he had eyes for the crown of Bohemia. After he negotiated with the enemy without approval from the Emperor, he was killed for his ambitions.

Wallenstein Palace was built with the intention of constructing something that would dwarf Prague Castle and construction began in 1624 – it wasn’t finished until 1630. Due to the size of the land needed for this venture, 23 houses had to be purchased, as well as three different gardens and the city’s brick kiln. One of the highlights of the palace is the main hall, which has Wallenstein himself depicted as Mars in a chariot painted on the ceiling.

Nowadays the palace is an important political building, as it is the home of the Czech Senate. The gardens – a real attraction for many – are still laid out in the way Wallenstein had them, with a gigantic terrena looking out over statues and a magnificent fountain. The statues are replicas though, as the real ones were stolen in 1648 by the Swedes. In the garden, you’ll also find a pavilion with a spectacular display of frescos, depicting scenes from the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece. This subject was chosen as Wallenstein was the holder of the Order of the Golden Fleece, the highest order of chivalry available to him.

If you go to the far end of the garden, you will find a beautiful ornamental pond with a statue rising from the centre of it. You will also find an old riding school, which is now used to display works of art from the National Gallery. Visit the website at www.senat.cz for more information.

Location: Valdstejnske nam. 4; Open: Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4:30pm (April-October, open until 5pm).

PAT

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