Kroměříž Castle and Park (World Heritage)

The magnificent late baroque palace was the summer residence of the Olomouc archbishops. The castle park and the flower garden are particularly beautiful.

Kroměříž Castle and Park: Facts

Official title: Kroměříž Castle and Park
Cultural monument: Summer residence of the Archbishops of Olomouc: a mighty four-wing complex of the castle with an extensive picture gallery. including works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Tizian and Pieter Bruegel the Younger, as well as with extensive palace gardens
Continent: Europe
Country: Czech Republic, Moravia
Location: Kroměříž, east of Brno (Brünn)
Appointment: 1998
Meaning: well-preserved residence of the European Baroque period

Kroměříž Castle and Park: History

around 1100 Acquisition of the Kromeríz / Kremsier settlement by the then Olomouc bishop
around 1260 Granting of city rights, fortification of the city and construction of a castle and a monastery
1643 almost complete destruction of the renaissance castle by Swedish troops
1664-1695 under Karl von Liechtenstein-Kastellkorn outstanding position as bishop’s residence
1666 baroque layout of the castle park
1686-1711 Construction of the baroque palace complex
1752 after a fire renovation of the baroque palace
1758-1760 In the style of the Rococo ceiling painting in the armory with scenes from the history of the diocese’s origins
1777 Kromeríz becomes an archbishopric
1948 Task as the summer residence of the bishops of Olomouc

The “Athens of Hanna”, finally awakened from its slumber

The city can be seen from afar, in a gently undulating stretch of land on the fertile “Große Hanna” plain directly on the March river artery, and at first glance its silhouette, dominated by church towers and turrets, may be reminiscent of old copper engravings. Cromesir, Kremsier and Kromeríz are three names of the seat of the bishops and archbishops of Olomouc in central Moravia, with which they were used in all kinds of documents: in Latin, German and Czech; In three languages ​​that have always entered into a cultural symbiosis here, as in many other places in Bohemia and Moravia.

Kromeríz experienced ups and downs with the ecclesiastical patrons, who gave the city a special status and on top of that evidently also inspired it to a will to survive, through which it awakened to a new life after every war, epidemic or conflagration. Three of the oldest churches bear witness to overcoming obstacles in turbulent times: the monumental Moritzkirche, which alone endured all phases of Gothic development until its completion, and its peers, the Marienpfarrkirche and the Johannes-Baptist-Kirche.

But the former archbishop’s palace, now simply referred to as the “Castle of Kromeríz”, is the most famous landmark of the city far more than this church trio. In this palace, the ambition of the client and at the time the most powerful feudal lord in all of Moravia, Karl von Liechtenstein-Kastellkorn, is evident. He had his bishopric converted into a magnificent residence. For thirty years he spared no expense or effort to have a harmonious building and garden architecture resurrected from the ruins of the city destroyed by the Thirty Years War at the end of the 17th century: the majestic and somewhat austere looking castle, the one based on the model The park, which was designed in the Italian Renaissance and the early Baroque, was given an equivalent counterpart.

The castle allows today’s visitor an impressive encounter with the fine arts, as the episcopal lords of the castle set up a picture gallery in part of the richly decorated halls and surrounded themselves with paintings by famous baroque painters such as Peter Paul Rubens and Anton van Dyck. The castle’s picture gallery is the second most important in the Czech Republic after the Prague National Gallery. In the past only intended for “noble ears”, today (not only) baroque music can be heard at countless concerts for the “common people” as well. The traces of great politics, however – in the autumn of 1848 the session of the Reichstag was relocated from Vienna, and so were majesties such as Franz Josef I and the Russian Tsar Alexander III. found their way here – have long been blurred.

The »flower garden«, masterfully designed thanks to filigree garden art, and the older castle park, which has been transformed into a well-tended nature park due to changes in time, leave no doubt that outdoor recreation was also envisaged. It may be that time has stood still in the castle and its surroundings, but not in the city itself. Your soul can be found on the Great Square, which was generously laid out in the 13th century to the extent that it is today. This is where the pulse of the historic city can be felt after Kromeríz, often called the »Athens of Hanna«, awoke in 1989 from his last forty-year slumber.

Kroměříž Castle and Park (World Heritage)