Cīrava Palace is a national architecture monument included in the list of the culture monuments under state protection. The oldest county administrative documents relating to the subsequent estate are no longer found in publications or extracts from the Baltic German historians archives.
The palace has its roots in a time when the Aizpute and Sakaslejas county belonged to the bishopric of Courland. It was built in 1752 as a hunting palace for the German Baltic baron family von Manteuffel-Szoeges. It was an unimpressive, simple building. In 1868 the palace was rebuilt and expanded in the Tudor–Neo-Gothic style by the project of Teodor Zeiler. Interior elements in the palace are partly preserved, there are ornamental plafonds in some rooms and hearth with marble decorations dating back to beginning of nineteenth century. After this reconstruction, the palace became a quite impressive building with very individual forms and look.
On 16 December 1730 the king confirmed that Otto Friedrich von Behr and his wife Katharina, and their descendants, were the owners of the old Cīrava manor. In 1774 King Stanisław August Poniatowski confirmed Herman Friedrich von Behr and his wife Elizabeth, and their descendants, as the new owners of the estate. In October 1781 the property was inherited by Šarlote Katarīna, and in the summer of 1781 it was acquired by Karl Gothard Ernst von Manteuffel-Szoeges, landlord of Kazdanga Palace.
In the spring of 1921 the estate was nationalized and became part of the Latvian state, which took hold of the manor, some 700 ha. of arable land and 150 ha. of grasslands. From 1922 until 1951 the technical school of forestry (Meža skola) was housed in the palace. Later it served as technical school of agriculture. The last few decades the palace has stood empty and needs renovation jobs. There are some plans to renovate it and transform it to a hotel.
The palace is surrounded by a 19th century landscape park. There is also a decorative pond with two islands and a big collection of trees and bushes in the park. G. Kuffalt, the main gardener of Riga, took part in the creation of the Cīrava Palace park.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.