The location of Svartsjö Palace (Svartsjö Slott) has housed several royal buildings. During medieval times there was a stone house where prominent Swedish royalty lived. Gustav Vasa and his sons Erik and Johan erected a lavish renaissance palace with a round inner courtyard. It was at least partly designed by Willem Boy and completed in 1580 but burnt down in 1687. The remaining building material was shipped to Stockholm to be used in the build of the castle Tre kronor. The stone foundation was left and is visible today.
The current buildings middle section was started in 1734 and finished in 1739 on the order of Fredrik I. It was built as a hunting palace for then current queen Ulrika Eleonora using drawings by Carl Hårleman. The now Rococo palace, raised by inspiration of French palaces, became a model for Swedish country mansion architecture during the later part of the 18th century. The palace was extended on both short ends by drawings of Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz, together with a bell tower. It was given to the Queen dowager Louisa Ulrika of Prussia in the 1770s.
The palace was abandoned for over a hundred years after the death of Lovisa Ulrika in 1782. Due to the large areas of minable granite in the area the palace was transformed in 1891 into a prison. Prisoners mined the granite until 1910, when a successful trial with farming and logging proved to work better for the prison. As more violent criminals were admitted to Svartsjö Palace, a special closed section was created with 337 cells built with steel walls. In 1966 the palace ceased to be used as a prison, and the prison walls were torn down. The prison warden house still remains in the palace gardens, as well as several prison personnel houses in the nearby area.
After years of neglect the palace was restored from 1994 to 2003 by the state, to a cost of 36 million SEK. The façade has regained its light shade, made to resemble French sandstone. The windows are painted in a gold brown oak color. None of the original wallpaper was kept but wallpaper based on nearby Drottningholm Palace was used.References:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.