Prague Castle – Royal Summer Palace

Royal Summer Palace(czech: královský letohrádek) – a landmark, garden with singing fountain.  While walking through the beautiful Royal Gardens we get to the landmark, located in the eastern part. Here is located a building that captivates every visitor with its magnificent construction elements. Let’s have a look at the area of the Queen Anne’s Summer Palace or if you want you can call it- Belvedere, and let’s look into the past and the interior of this magnificent building.

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Back to the beginning Royal Summer Palace
The Summer Palace was built by Ferdinand I, along with the royal garden. A mansion appeared in the garden in 1538. This mansion was built for his wife Anna Jagiellonian(czech: Anna Jagellonská). Construction took too much time and unfortunately Anna passed away before she could see her summer palace. She died in 1547 when she was giving birth to her fifteenth child. Ferdinand didn’t see the official completion either, because a fire broke out in 1541 and he left Prague at that time.

Royal Summer Palace Many characters had been at that building
Queen Anne’s Summer Palace is considered the purest Wallachian Renaissance architecture, located on another territory than Italy. The palace owes its existence to the Italian builder and stonemason named Paolo della Stella. We continue in the style of Italian Renaissance with an architect Giovanni Spati, after that G. Maria del Pambio made a merit of Palace’s completion. However, construction was stopped because of the fire that broke out at Prague Castle in 1541. After that construction continued again in the hands of Paolo della Stella during the period 1548-1552. The builder was responsible for the beautiful stone reliefs on the gallery arcades that he carved together with his stonemasons. Stella really did not spare the rich decoration.

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Beautiful decoration
Here we find eighty centimeters high ornamental and figural frieze, then we can see incredible thirty-six columns of the external arcades that include a decorated Tuscan capital. You can see on the walls one hundred and fourteen reliefs, illustrating mythological scenes, huntings and wars. If you look carefully, you can see here the character of the founder, Ferdinand I., which is wearing on his chest the order of the Golden Fleece. According to the illustration he is giving a fig flower to his wife Queen Anne.

And construction is continuing Royal Summer Palace
After many changes and peripetea the Summer Palace was completed in 1563. It happened thanks to Hans Tirol and especially Boniface Wohlmut. These two builders of the Summer Palace built up another floor. Each visitor, for sure will stop for a while to see the unique copper roof. Its shape reminds you something, doesn’t it? Yes, it is like this, because the roof has the shape of an inverted ship’s keel. Previously, it was decorated with red and white stripes and painted symbols of the Czech Kingdom.

Royal Summer Palace and Singing Fountain Summer Palace with its many attractio

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Now let’s have a look into the interior. Ground Floor, together with living rooms were surrounded by a beautiful arcaded gallery; then a dance hall and a gallery were situated on the first floor. However, the Summer Palace was used the most by Emperor Rudolf II., who is responsible for an establishing of the astronomical observatory on the first floor. There came several significant astronomers, such as Tycho de Brahe or Johanes Kepler. Observatory was visited very often by the Emperor himself, who after losing his king title died here in 1612. After his death the Summer Palace began to desolate. Then, after the attacks of the Swedish troops in 1648 the Summer Palace were looted and ransacked.

The Summer Palace has had several names during its existence. Some people called it Belvedere, because of its nice view. Others called it Ferdinandeum, according to the name of its founder. Then, after the building of the Observatory it’s called Observatory.

Important historical moments
The reign of the Emperor Joseph II. brought to the Summer Palace a new owner, because its emperor gave it into the hands of the army that established an artillery laboratory here. In 1836 count designate Karel Chotek moved out all the artillerymen. Then, the architects Bernard Grueber and Peter Nobile restored the building, repaired it and turned it into the Picture Gallery of Patriotic Friends of Art. During this period the Summer Palace obtained beautiful classical monumental stairs. From 1851 to 1965 the walls on the first floor, were painted by series of historical scenes, depicting important historical moments in the Czech history. All this was designed by the Director of the Academy Christian Ruben. In the early fifties, under the guidance of Pavel Janak, the restoration of the building had started and it has been used as an exhibition hall since that time.

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Another of the many objects of art Singing Fountain
The well-known Singing Fountain
is located directly in front of the Summer Palace. This Renaissance fountain was built in the period 1564-68. This fountain was made of bell-metal and bronze. The fountain is located in the area where formerly was a stone pool, which was fitted in 1573. Water drops that fall to the edge of the bottom bowl, producing lovely tones. In the center of the fountain is depicted a shepherd and protector of the Greek forests and springs – the god Pan. At the top, we can find a figure of a bagpiper. Therefore, bend towards the bottom bowl of the fountain and listen to a special sound that recalls a bells’ ringing. Today, the Royal Summer Palace is mainly used for fine arts exhibitions and handicrafts exhibitions.

Because of the reason that The Summer Palace was intended for courtly entertainment and making the stay in the garden pleasant we hope that you will enjoy the visit of this building.

Address:
Mariánské hradby 52/1
Praha 1 – Hradčany 118 00

Opening hours:
Open only during exhibitions.

Entrance fee:
Depends on the type and extent of the exhibition.

GPS: Loc: 50 ° 5’37. 98 „N 14 ° 24’19″ E

Public transport:
tram: number 1,8,15,18,20,22,26,
subway station , underground stop  –  Line A – Malostranská

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