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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Details

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

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Evelyne B (10 months ago)
Beautiful palace! Entrance is €11 (adult) for the palace and garden. We visited in October and it was very calm and there were even still some flowers in the garden.
Ankha La Vey (10 months ago)
Excellent place with a lot to see. The palace itself is restored and nearly fully furnished. The gardens are gigantic and kept in excellent shape and condition.
Arturas Medeisis (11 months ago)
World-class palace museum, with beautiful interiors, sublime art pieces and curious artefacts. Plan for a couple hours to visit museum, another couple hours to spend in the beautiful French garden. But there is a convenient ample parking, couple of cafes, both inside the museum and near the parking lot, some souvenir shopping. So overall - a great tourist destination and worth a detour to this rather remote spot in the countryside.
Lenka L. (11 months ago)
Beautiful Palace with a beautiful history. The garden by the palace is also beautiful with a fountain. The tour of the palace without guide. Explanations in three languages. We enjoyed this place
Davis Strubergs (11 months ago)
Very well restored and maintained palace! You can buy seperate tickets to view the inside or just for the gardens - though I reccommend experiencing both. The garden is exceptionally well maintained and there are hundreds of different varieties of roses.
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