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4. Kroměříž Chateaux

Since 1777, the Kroměříž Castle, had been the principal residence of the bishops and archbishops of Olomouc.  The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497.   The building was designed in a Late Gothic style, with a some Renaissance detail.  During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was destroyed by the Swedish army in 1643.  It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family hired architect Filiberto Lucchese to renovate the palace in a Baroque style.  The primary attraction built by Lucchese's 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, to decorate the halls of the palace with their works.  In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses a notable art collection, considered to be the second finest in the Czech Republic.  One of the most significant works is 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 exquisite musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.

Kroměříž  is now listed by UNESCO among the World Heritage Sites.  The castle is a good example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe.  The Pleasure Garden is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden.  Apart from the formal areas, there is also a less formal 19th century English garden, still standing even after the floods of 1997.

Interiors of the palace have been used by Miloš Forman as a substitute for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during the filming of Amadeus in 1984, based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž.  The main audience chamber has also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.