The Estates Theatre (Stavovské divadlo) is a historic theatre in Prague. It was built during the late 18th century in response to Enlightenment thought regarding general access to the theatre, and theatres themselves demonstrating the cultural standards of a nation. The Estates Theatre was designed by Anton Haffenecker and built in a little less than two years for the aristocrat František Antonín Count Nostitz Rieneck.
Prague's first standing public theatre, the Sporck Theatre, operated from 1724 to 1735. The owner of this theatre, Count Franz Anton von Sporck, permitted the free use of it to subsidize the commercial venture of the Venetian impresario Antonio Denzio. The next commercial theatre, the Kotzentheater, operated sporadically from 1739–1783 under a series of Italian impresarios. The final closure of the Kotzentheater coincided with the opening of Count Nostitz’s Nostitzsches Nationaltheater. The theatre opened in 1783. The building itself was constructed in a Neoclassical style and remains one of the few European theatres to be preserved in its almost original state to the present day.
The Estates Theatre has undergone several changes in its history. It first acquired the name Royal Theatre of the Estates in 1798 when it was purchased by the Czech Estates. With the opening of the Provisional Theatre in 1862, the Theatre of the Estates was dedicated to a German ensemble and renamed the Royal Provincial German Theatre. During the period between 1920 and 1948 the theatre regained the name Theatre of the Estates and became affiliated with the National Theatre. In 1948 the theatre was renamed the Tyl Theatre and would be known as such until 1990 when, at the end of an eight-year reconstruction project, it became known again as the Estates Theatre.
The Estates Theatre currently offers performances of dramas, ballets and operas with the focus of the opera company on the work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A more contemporary claim to fame originates from the Oscar-winning film Amadeus, directed by Czech director Miloš Forman. The scenes of Mozart in Prague were shot at the Estates Theatre for authenticity.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.