Duchcov palace houses a museum with a collection of historic furniture. Also on display is the painting and portrait gallery of the Waldsteins, including portraits of the most famous member of this family, Albrecht von Wallenstein, Duke of Friedland, by Anthony van Dyck. One room is dedicated to Giacomo Casanova, who was employed here as a librarian from 1785 to 1798, and his memoirs were written here in the years before his death in 1798.
The château was founded as a fort in the 13th century by the Hrabišic family, which resided at the Osek Castle. Not earlier than 1527, the Lobkowicz family replaced the fort with a one-wing Renaissance palace. Marie Polyxena of Thalmberg, the widow of František Josef of Lobkowicz, married secondly Maximillian, Count of Waldstein in 1642. Their son Jan Bedřich, Count of Waldstein, later the Archbishop of Prague, was apprised with the French architect and painter Jean Baptiste Mathey, and he brought him to Duchcov for the purpose of rebuilding the residence. The château was incorporated in the Waldstein's family fideicommis and passed on through inheritance to Ernst Joseph Count Waldstein and to his descendants until it was nationalised in 1945.
Mathey designed a huge Baroque complex, including a large park and a hospital. The decoration of the building was provided by the best Baroque artists in Bohemia, like the sculptors Matyáš Bernard Braun, Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokoff, and painter Václav Vavřinec Reiner. Between 1785 and 1798, Giacomo Casanova, the so-called secretary of the 18th century, spent the last thirteen years of his amazing life in Duchcov.
In the 19th century, the château was rebuilt in the classicist style and the garden in the romantic style. The Waldstein family left the place in 1921. At present, the château is state-owned and open to visitors.References:
The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.
According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.
In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.
The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.
The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.
In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.
The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.