The written history of Laukko manor dates back to year 1416, but according the folklore the local chieftain Matti Kurki received it as a manor from the king of Sweden in the 13th century. The most famous of the medieval lords of Laukko was Klaus Kurki, the tragic hero of a ballad called The Death of Elina. In real life Klaus’s son Arvid became the last Bishop of Catholic Finland. At around the beginning of the 16th century the Kurcks had a stone castle built at Laukko as a symbol of their might and prosperity. The Kurki family owned Laukko until 1817. After that it has been owned by several families, for example famous industrialists Adolf Törngren and Rafael Haarla. Nowadays Laukko is a residence of the Lagerstam family.
The present neo-classic manor house was built in the 1930s. The estate reopened to the public in the summer of 2016, as the estate celebrates its 600th anniversary. For the first time, visitors can see the estate in its entire splendor. The visitors can now admire the main building’s unique collections of arts and antiquities and stroll in the estate’s vast gardens and grounds.
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.