Rundale Palace

Rundāle, Latvia

Rundāle Palace is one of the two major baroque palaces built for the Dukes of Courland in what is now Latvia, the other being Jelgava Palace. The palace was built in two periods, from 1736 until 1740 and from 1764 until 1768. It was constructed to a design by Bartolomeo Rastrelli as a summer residence of Ernst Johann von Biron, the Duke of Courland. Following Biron's fall from grace, the palace stood empty until the 1760s, when Rastrelli returned to complete its interior decoration.

After Duchy of Courland and Semigallia was absorbed by the Russian Empire in 1795, Catherine the Great presented the palace to Count Valerian Zubov, the youngest brother of her lover, Prince Platon Zubov. He spent his declining years there after the death of Valerian Zubov in 1804. His young widow, Thekla Walentinowicz, a local landowner's daughter, remarried Count Shuvalov, thus bringing the palace to the Shuvalov family, with whom it remained until the German occupation in World War I when the German army established a hospital and a commandant's office there.

The palace suffered serious damage in 1919 during the Latvian War of Independence. In 1920, part of the premises were occupied by the local school. In 1933, Rundāle Palace was taken over by the State History Museum of Latvia. It was dealt a serious blow after World War II, when the grain storehouse was set up in the premises and later, the former duke's dining room was transformed into the school's gymnasium. Only in 1972 was a permanent Rundāle Palace Museum established.

The palace is one of the major tourist destinations in Latvia. It is also used for the accommodation of notable guests, such as the leaders of foreign nations. The palace and the surrounding gardens are now a museum.



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Founded: 1736-1768
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Latvia
Historical period: Part of the Russian Empire (Latvia)


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Janina Hangas (11 months ago)
Beautiful palace with lots of different things to see. Great information about the history of the palace and area. It took about two ours to tour the place and exhibitions.
João Jesus (15 months ago)
A really cool museum. If you like museums and history this is a must visit. You can buy a ticket to visit the museum that includes a tour guide and if you want to visit the gardens you have to get an extra ticket. There are some shops around but not much choice.
Irmantas Ceckauskas (15 months ago)
Beautifull palace with excellent garden, easy to find, in palace a lot information about paintings and other exhibition objects in latvian, lithuanian, german, english, russian languages. We have good time visiting this interesting and nice place in Latvia.
Léa (16 months ago)
We spent about 1h in the gardens and 1h30 in the castle (quick visit, you can spent much more time if you read all the information), so 2h30 would be the minimum to plan. There was an event preparing in the garden so chairs and a stage were on the way, but I think it is cool to have events in such a place. There are many rooms in the castle, all magnificently decorated. We just missed a map to know all what there is to see and to be sure to see everything, because I think we missed some parts because we did not find the way…
Azar Safarov (17 months ago)
It’s a great place and one of must go places in Latvia during the visit. Unfortunately we didn’t get garden the garden during the flowering. Ticket room is located in very hidden place, almost every 2nd group was asking where to buy tickets. Hopefully there is possibility to buy tickets online. Price is 11.70€/person for palace and garden visit. Kids till 7 is free to enter. Also it was possible to listen digital guide through website. Recommended place. It was our first but not last visit.
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