Biebrich Palace is a Baroque residence built in 1702 by Prince Georg August Samuel of Nassau-Idstein. He wanted a more impressive seat of authority than his palace in Idstein in the Taunus. In the immediate vicinity of the Rhine, opposite the Biebricher Wörth, he began construction of a chateau. The structure was designed by the Baroque architect Julius Ludwig Rothweil and was completed in 1702. It survives today as the West Pavilion of the palace. Only four years later, a duplicate structure was built only 86 meters to the east. While the West Pavilion was reserved for the prince and his entourage, the East Pavilion served his wife.
Prince Georg August Samuel began further development of the castle in 1707. Baroque architect Johann Maximilian von Welsch linked the two pavilions with a gallery and built a circular ballroom in the exact center. The Rotunda was completed in 1721, giving Biebrich Castle its distinctive appearance.
After the death of Georg August Samuel, the House of Nassau-Idstein was extinguished and the castle came into the possession of the line of Nassau-Usingen. Prince Karl von Nassau-Usingen decided after his inauguration in 1734 to relocate his permanent residence to Biebrich. Such a residential and government office demanded further premises, so the Baroque architect Friedrich Joachim Michael Stengel designed today's eastern wing. Only three years later, Stengel built the identical western wing. The gardens were designed by landscape architect Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell in 1817 at the request of Duke Wilhelm of Nassau.
Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, sold the palace to the State of Prussia in 1935. Heavily damaged during World War II, it was renovated and partly reconstructed between 1980 and 1982 by the State of Hesse. It is now used by the state government for representation purposes and houses the state's historic preservation agency.References:
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.