The Chateau and the Gardens of Kromeriz dominate the town and they are the main magnet for visitors of the Urban Historical Reserve of Kroměříž. Originally the village of serfs, since it obtained the status of a town in the 13th century it was the residence of bishops and archbishops of Olomouc. After destruction by Swedes during the Thirty-years war Bishop Karl II von Lichtenstein - Kastelkorn decided to build up an Early-Baroque palace, a representative aristocratic seat and the place of noblemen’ meetings and courts on the site of the former Great Moravian castle-site and the Gothic and Renaissance castle. Architectural conception of the whole castle complex as well as other objects of the Urban Historical Reserve are works of Filiberto Lucchese and Giovanni Pietro Tencalla, Italian architects. A visitor will certainly notice the artistic design of the Chateau with the splendid decoration created by Italian artists (Baltazaro Fontana, P.A.Pagani) together with local craftsmen (influence of post-Michelangelo school of G.B. Vignola). The square block of three-storied building with a court yard and the huge octagonal tower (84m) is decorated with corner risalits, facade pilasters with roman chapiters and lisene system of sunken oblongs. After fire in 1752 the original attic balustrade was brought down, the corner bastions removed, the court yard amended, the new roof put on and afterwards at the turn of the last century the Castle moat filled in and the staircase leading to the Garden and the pompous porticoes by the Garden entrance built. Interior of the Chateau, permanently opened to visitors since 1950 is the unique example of an aristocratic seat with furnishings, in keeping with the position of a prominent nobleman of Moravia. The Hunting Room with the Entrance Hall - not only the exposition of the trophies of frequent hunts, but also the demonstration of economical activity of bishops (products of smelting). The room holds examples of the weapons used during the Hussite war, the Thirty-years war as well as during inroads of Turks into the region about three hundred years ago. The Pink Parlour - decorated nicely with interior furnishings and pictures. The cristalline chandelier and the Venetian mirror show artistic cleverness of the Czech and Italian craftsmen. The Czar´s Room - served as a reception salon for the Russian Czar Alexander III (1885) and it is decorated with portraits of the Emperor Franc Joseph I and his wife Elisabeth, the Empress Marie Terezie and Franc de Lorraine, the Emperor Franc I and Bishop Leopold William the Habsburg. The Consultation Hall is a gallery of bishops and archbishops of Olomouc. During the Constitutive Imperial Assembly in 1848/49 in Kroměříž it served for meetings and sessions of ministers and deputies. The Throne Hall - holds a rich decoration with pictures in carved frames on walls (boiserie), which replaced textile wallpapers and served for official receptions. Also the Small Dining Room is decorated with numbers of originals of the Chateau Art Gallery. The Great Dining Room was built up in the part destroyed by the fire and nowadays it is known as the Assembly Hall. It is the most beautiful and the largest rococo hall in the country being recommended by František Palacký and approved by the Emperor Ferdinand for meetings of the Imperial Assembly in 1848. Gilded stuccoes, cristalline chandeliers, mirrors, portraits of Archbishop Kohn and Bishop Hamilton - the builder of the hall - and ceiling picture of him (the largest in the castle - more than 400m2) predetermine it for concerts, festivals of music, conferences and congresses. Its Ante-Hall with fresco-decoration serves for short expositions and completes the sight-seeing of this „piano nobile“. The collection of paintings is the most valuable art collection of the Chateau with its origin going back to the 17th century. Its artistic and historical value places it next to the most distinguished European collections. Pictures attained in the auction of the collection of Karl I - King of England form the core of the Gallery in the halls on the second floor of the Chateau. Visitors can see there works of Gothic and Renaissance paintings from the Central Europe (Marian cycle, Lucas Cranach el. and others), portrait art of the German and Dutch painters of the 16th century (Q.Metsys, H.v. Aachen, H.Suess, V.Kulmach and others), genre pictures of the 16th and the 17th centuries (F.Floris, A.Mirou, D.Vinckboons, J.Brueghel el. and others), master works of the Rubens´ pupils and the painters of his age (T.v Loon, A.v.Dyck, H.Safltleven, F.Francis, F.Wouters, P.Boel and others) and the Italian painters of Venice and Bologna (A.Carracci, P.Amalteo, P.Caliari-Veronese, G.A.Fasolo and others). Also the most valuable and precious painting in the country - „Appolo and Marsyas“ by Tizian Vecelli waits for admiration of visitors. Heritage of the Master to all mankind is hidden by means of symbols in the composition of the story. Large paintings on canvases with the topic of Biblical Flood were created as a cycle (Building of Arch, Bringing Animals into Arch, Flood, Noah´s Sacrifice) by Jacopo dal Ponte-Bassano. Next hall is fixed for the masters working in the castle (P.A.Pagani, P.Abbiatti and others) and the painters operating in Italy (German ones e.g. Joh.Liss, J.A.Eismann and others). The Gallery ends in the former Castle Theatre Hall and the Musical Hall with works of J.H.Schonfeld, Chr.Paudiss, Joh.Fuger and Still Life by F.W.Tamm. The sight-seeing the of historical halls continues throughout the rococo pearl of Moravia - the Castle Chapel of St. Šebestián and the Vassal´s Hall with the large fresco by Fr.Ant.Maulbertsch and the decoration of Italian stuccoers. The Castle Library Rooms are in the end and contain more than 80 000 volumes (handwritings, manuscripts, old prints) as well as the grafic collection (19 000 inv. nos.), the musical archives (6 000 inv. nos.) and the world-renowned religious mint collection of coins and medals, the second largest following the one of Vatican. The sight-seeing tour can be completed with the climb on the Chateau Tower offering an interesting view around the Haná Plain or with the visit of Sala Terrena, which used to form an entrance from the Garden. Ceiling frescoes, artificial grottoes, sculpture and stucco-decoration were created by Italian artists (e.g. P.A.Pagani, B.Fontana), being invited to work in Kroměříž by Bishop Lichtenstein. The Chateau Garden was gradually changing from a vegetable and fruit garden in the 15th century during period of the Castle Baroque reconstruction to a landscape park being in the 19th century enlarged into the area of 64 ha, replacing moorlands surrounding the Morava river with meadows, precious trees and shrubs, ponds, rivers and romantic buildings. Frequent use of water (water features) in the Garden has got a great importance for its development and composition and places the Garden to the most important landscape parks in Europe. The second historical garden, founded behind the town walls on moors and uncultivable land as a Pleasure garden called Flower Garden now is the unique example of an Early-Baroque garden design. It became a model for the Central-European gardens, especially these of the Donau river area. Architectural features of the Flower Garden - a gallery called Kolonade, a central Rondel, known as Rotunda together with its top garden art remind the gardens of Italy, especially for its sculptor´s, painter´s and handicrafts qualities. Visitors are attracted by its atmosphere of tranquillity suitable for relaxation. The sight-seeing footbridge on the top of the Kolonade enables to look down on the geometrical division of the high espaliers, the colourful ornaments of parterres as well as the historical panorama of the town, surrounded by modern suburbs today. During 1998 the restored building of the Bishop Mint joint the Castle complex and offers permanent expositions of mintage in Kroměříž now. The Chateau and the Gardens of Kroměříž are registered as the National Cultural Monuments of the Czech republic and in December 1998 were inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List. This is evidence of the good relationship of the local people and their responsible care devoted to the historical monuments, created for present as well as for future.
THE CASTLE LIBRARY
on Aug 16, 2008
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Last updated on Aug 16, 2008