One of the most significant monuments of profane architecture on the Croatian coast is the Rector's Palace, former administrative centre of the Dubrovnik Republic. Its style is basically Gothic, with the Renaissance and Baroque reconstructions. In the 15th century the Palace was destroyed twice in gunpowder explosions. Restored by Onofrio della Cava in the late Gothic style after the first explosion in 1435, the Palace got its present-day size with the central atrium and front portico. The capitals were carved in Renaissance style by Pietro di Martino of Milan, whose capital with Aesculapius has been preserved on the right half-column of the portico.
The second gunpowder explosion in 1463 destroyed the western facade of the Palace, and the two famous architects Juraj Dalmatinac and Michelozzo of Florence were engaged in the reconstruction for a short period.Although the design of Michelozzo was unfortunately rejected, his influence in the restoration of the facade and portico, mainly in Renaissance style, can not be denied. After the earthquake of 1667 the atrium was partially reconstructed with an impressive Baroque staircase.
During his one-month mandate the Rector of Dubrovnik lived in the Palace, which also housed the Minor and Major Council hall, the Rectors residence, the courtroom, administration office, prisons, an arsenal and gunpowder store-house. From the Rectors Palace one could enter the Great Council Palace.
Today the Rectors Palace houses the Cultural-historic Department of the Dubrovnik Museum with exhibition halls arranged to display the original setting with antique furniture and objects for daily use, as well as paintings by local and Italian masters.
The Museum also guards a collection of old coins used in the Dubrovnik Republic, a collection of arms and utensils of Domus Christi Pharmacy from the 15th century. Apart from being exceptionally beautiful, the Rectors Palace Atrium has excellent acoustics, and is often used as a concert venue.References:
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.