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:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.