The Imperial family once used Halbturn Palace, Burgenland’s most important Baroque building, as a hunting lodge and summer palace. The palace, in northern Burgenland, and its splendid parklands, is regarded as one of Burgenland’s most esteemed historic attractions.
Halbturn palace was built in 1711 during the reign of Emperor Charles VI by Lucas von Hildebrandt, one of the most important Austrian figures in late baroque architecture. It has gone through good times and bad. Its heyday may well have been the epoch shown in an oil painting from the middle of the 18th century. During the first Turkish siege the imperial stud had been destroyed. The Halbturn estate was mortgaged for several years and passed back into imperial-royal ownership under Emperor Charles VI. After the death of Emperor Charles VI his daughter, Maria Theresia, succeeded to the throne on account of the Pragmatic Sanction of 1740.
In 1765 Maria Theresia acquired Halbturn Palace, part of the estate of Hungarian Altenburg at the time, from the Hungarian crown. She gave it as private property to her favourite daughter, Archduchess Marie Christine, as a present for her wedding to Duke Albert-Casimir von Sachsen-Teschen. For this occasion the baroque artist Anton Maulbertsch was also commissioned to paint the ceiling fresco, “Triumph of Light”.
Halbturn Palace offers a varied programme of art, culture, wine and gourmet food all year round. Fascinating annual exhibitions, high quality concert series, various summer events and the famous Pannonian Christmas Market in the historical setting of the palace draw thousands of visitors and tourists from home and abroad every year.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.