The original Neuburg castle was built in the early Middle Ages by the Agilolfings noble family. This was acquired by the Wittelsbach dukes in 1247. When Count Palatine Otto Henry began his rule in Palatinate-Neuburg in 1522, he found a medieval fortified castle in his residence city of Neuburg, which, unlike similar than other royal residences was still not adjusted for the demands of a modern royal court. So from 1527 he ordered to re-design the castle into a Renaissance palace and to expand the artistic quality and condition to one of the most important palaces of the first half of the 16th Century in Germany. From 1537 an additional west wing was added which also includes the chapel. With his conversion to the Lutheran doctrine in 1541 the Palatine Chapel was decorated with excellent facilities, the antique-style Italian picture program painted in 1543 has been obtained. The chapel was decorated with famous frescoes by the Salzburg church painter Hans Bocksberger the Elder. The chapel is the oldest Protestant church in Bavaria. Because of the financial difficulties and bankruptcy of Otto Henry in 1544, the construction of the west wing took a long time.
Wolfgang, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken, who succeeded his cousin Otto Henry in the Duchy of Palatinate-Neuburg, ordered in 1562 to decorate the west wing facing the courtyard with elaborate Sgraffito decorations. The Knights' Hall (the lower panel room in north building) was provided in 1575 by Hans Pihel with a coffered ceiling and wall panels from a rotating timber, both of which are original. The impressive east wing was rebuilt in 1665 by Philip William, Elector Palatine in the Baroque style and complemented with two round towers.
Today the castle houses a gallery of baroque paintings, the museum is under supervision of the Bavarian State Picture Collection.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.