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 Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.
British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.
Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.
Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.
On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.