Palaces, manors and town halls in Czech Republic

Municipal House

Municipal House (Obecní dům) is a civic building that houses Smetana Hall, a celebrated concert venue, in Prague. The Royal Court palace used to be located on the site of the Municipal House. From 1383 until 1485 the King of Bohemia lived in the property. After 1485, it was abandoned. It was demolished in the early 20th century. Construction of the current building started in 1905 and it opened in 1912. The bu ...
Founded: 1905-1912 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Wallenstein Palace

Wallenstein palace is the first large secular palace of the Baroque era. The original Palace was built in years 1623-1630 by Albrecht von Wallenstein, Duke of Mecklenburg (1583-1634), who made his name and fortune as the Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial forces in the Thirty Years War. Emperor Ferdinand II feared Albrecht of Wallenstein’s calculating mind and had him assassinated in 1634 in the town of Eger (now Ch ...
Founded: 1623-1630 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Liberec Town Hall

Liberec Town Hall is a Neo-Renaissance building, which was built from 1888 till 1893 by design of the Viennese architect, Franz Neumann, replacing earlier structures dating to 1602. The building has a richly decorated façade, integrated artwork, and very rare stained glass windows. Above the entrance portal is a sculptural relief by Viennese sculptor Theodor Friedl, showing the establishment of the old and new to ...
Founded: 1888-1893 | Location: Liberec, Czech Republic

Konopiste Palace

Konopiště is a palace, which become famous as the last residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne, whose assassination in Sarajevo triggered World War I. The bullet that killed him, fired by Gavrilo Princip, is now an exhibit at the castle"s museum. The castle was apparently established in the 1280s by Prague Bishop Tobiaš as a Gothic fortification with a ...
Founded: 1280s | Location: Benešov, Czech Republic

Hrádek u Nechanic

Hrádek u Nechanic is a 19th-century Gothic style Romantic château near the town of Hrádek. It was built between 1839 and 1857 as a representative and summer seat by Count František Arnošt of Harach, one of the most important representatives of the Jilemnice dynasty. The young Austrian architect Karl Fischer led building operations and suggested decoration of the chateau"s interior. T ...
Founded: 1839-1857 | Location: Hrádek, Czech Republic

Veltrusy Mansion

Veltrusy Mansion is a baroque château situated near the banks of the Vltava River, about 25 km north of Prague. The mansion is open to the public for visits. The mansion was initially built in 1716 by architect František Maxmilián Kaňka for Count Václav Antonín Chotek of Chotkov and Vojnín. The original mansion was extended in 1764 by architect Giovanni Battista Alliprandi on the orders of Count Rudolf ...
Founded: 1716 | Location: Veltrusy, Czech Republic

Kacina Palace

Kačina is a significant empire style palace built in place of the defunct medieval village Kačín. It was built as a prestige mansion of the supreme burgrave of the Kingdom of Bohemia and president of governorate Jan Rudolf Chotek (1748–1824) from 1806 to 1824. The architectural scheme was drawn up by Saxon royal architect Christian Franz Schuricht (1753–1832) from Dresden. Johann Philipp J&oum ...
Founded: 1806-1824 | Location: Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

Krásný Dvur Palace

Krásný Dvůr is a Baroque palace with English-style landscape park and a garden inspired by that of Versailles. The first records of Krasný Dvůr date back to the 14th century, since then numerous aristocratic families held possession of it until Count Hermann Czernin von und zu Chudenitz bought it in the middle of the 17th century. Count Franz Josef Czernin von und zu Chudenitz decided to sta ...
Founded: 1720-1724 | Location: Krásný Dvůr, Czech Republic

Duchcov Palace

Duchcov palace houses a museum with a collection of historic furniture. Also on display is the painting and portrait gallery of the Waldsteins, including portraits of the most famous member of this family, Albrecht von Wallenstein, Duke of Friedland, by Anthony van Dyck. One room is dedicated to Giacomo Casanova, who was employed here as a librarian from 1785 to 1798, and his memoirs were written here in the years before ...
Founded: 1675-1685 | Location: Duchcov, Czech Republic

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.

Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.

In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.

In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.

Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.