Muráň Castle is noteworthy for its unusually high altitude of 935 m. It also figures in several romantic legends about its remarkable owners. Muráň Castle was built in the 13th century on a cliff overlooking a regional trade route. Its name was mentioned for the first time in 1271.
One of its owners, the robber baron Matúš Bašo, transformed the castle into a stronghold of bandits who robbed merchants and looted villages. After a siege by the royal army, the castle fell in 1548 and Matúš Bašo was executed.
Another famous owner was Maria Széchy, better known as 'The Venus of Muráň'. This astonishingly independent woman divorced her second husband to marry the love of her life – magnate Ferenc Wesselényi. When Wesselényi was besieging Muráň Castle, which was occupied by her relatives at the time, she even managed to get his soldiers inside through trickery. In 1666, Wesselényi organized a failed coup against Leopold I, but he died before any major confrontation. Subsequently, Maria Széchy bravely led a defense of the castle against Imperial troops. Outnumbered, she eventually surrendered to Charles of Lorraine in 1670.
The castle was damaged by fire in 1760 and today it is in ruins.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.