Through the Nádasdy family, the castle of Sárvár, now called Nádasdy Castle, played a significant role in the progress of Hungarian culture in the 16th and 17th centuries. The first Hungarian book, The New Testament of 1541, was printed here. The knight's hall of the castle is decorated with the battle scenes of Lord Chief Justice Ferenc Nádasdy (married to the notorious Elizabeth Báthory) and with scenes from the Old Testament.
The Nádasdy Castle and estate later became a property of the kings of Bavaria, and the former King Ludwig III died there in 1921, three years after being deposed. During the Second World War, the castle was used as the retreat of Ludwig's grandson Prince Albert of Bavaria.
The present day castle has developed from the three-storey, 13th century dwelling tower in its southwest corner and the single-storey northern wing. The castle’s first mention is from 1288. The next great building operations took place in the second half of the 15th century, in Gothic style. During the times of the Kanizsai family a three-storey dwelling structure adorned with representative objects and suitable for nobility was raised where the southern wing stands today. The lower level of the present-day gate-tower was created at the end of the 15th century. By the beginning of the 16th century the large, closed courtyard came into existence, while the castle’s protection, apart from its natural assets, was assured by earth ramparts with notched planks. Between 1534 and 1671 the Nádasdy family owned the castle. As a result of the Renaissance style constructions the castle’s current form took shape.
The ceiling frescoes of the Great Hall were done in 1653. The defensive system of Old Italian style bastions that can be seen today was built between 1588 and 1615. The ceiling frescoes of the Great Hall were created by Hans Rudolf Miller, while the wall pictures depicting images from the Old Testament were painted by István Dorffmeister in 1769. In 1803, the Archduke Ferdinand Estei bought the castle, which was renovated by his successor. The Renaissance arcade along the eastern wing was walled up. On the wing’s upper level corridors were built, so that the castle could be walked around. The water was drained from the castle moat, and the present-day bridge was built. During the 19th and 20th centuries only minor alterations took place, so even today the castle presents an image of the fortified late Renaissance castles of the 16th-17th centuries.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.