Construction of the Melsztyn Castle was initiated in 1340, by the castellan of Kraków, Spicymir. In 1362, Bishop Bodzanta blessed the Holy Spirit chapel at the castle. The complex for 200 years remained in the hands of the powerful noble family of Leliwita Melsztyński, which in the late 14th century built a Gothic keep, located in the western wing of the castle. In the 15th century, Melsztyn was one of centers of Polish Hussite movement, and in 1511, Jan Melsztyński sold it to the castellan of Wiślica, Mikołaj Jordan of Myślenice. In ca. 1546, Spytek Jordan ordered remodeling of the Gothic complex, turning it into a Renaissance residence. After the marriages of his two daughters, Melsztyn became the property of the Tarło family, and in 1744, it came into the hands of the Lanckoroński family.
Melsztyn Castle was destroyed by the Russians in 1771, during the Bar Confederation, and has been a ruin since then. In 1789–1796, parts of the complex were pulled down, in order to gain building materials for a church at Domosławice. In the following years, the complex was neglected, which resulted in collapse of the keep (1846). In 1879-85, due to the efforts of Karol Lanckoroński, the castle gained the status of a permanent, protected ruin. Since 2008, it belongs to the gmina of Zakliczyn. The castle has been presented in paintings of Jan Matejko, Napoleon Orda, and Maciej Bogusz Steczyński.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.