Waldstein Palace

Valdstejnský palác (Waldstein Palace)

(Waldstein Palace is just behind the roofs in the front of the picture)

For this pretentious work, Waldstein choose the Italian architect Andrea Spezza, whose work was to be finished by other Italians. The baroque had come to Prague, even if some details, especially on the façade, indicate renaissance simplicity. As entrance there is a passage on the north side with simple steps. The main staircase is behind the first courtyard in the second section.

Next to these stairs is a chapel with frescos. Waldstein also had built a hall, which is two storeys high and is to be found south of the chapel. The walls of this hall are richly decorated with sculptural relief and the ceiling fresco of Baccio Bianco depicts Waldstein as the god of war.

East of this hall are the Knight Hall and Waldstein’s office. The so-called astronomical corridor, where there was once an observatory in the roof, the hallway to the private rooms and the rooms themselves are all beautifully decorated with wall and ceiling frescos.

The Sala Terena is a remarkable creation. On three sides it is open to the garden by three large arches, supported by toscan columns. It has a roof after the roman-renaissance model of the churches in Livorno and in Villa Madama, but its impressiveness comes from the baroque style.

The walls and the arches are painted with scenes from greek mythology. North of the Sala is a cave containing a water reservoir, which it is believed was once a spa. The Sala Terena stands in the garden which is surrounded by a high wall with arcade relief. The garden is decorated by a fountain and copies of statues by the Dutch sculptor Adriaan de Vries. The originals were confiscated by the Swedish during their occupation of Prague in 1648.

On the east side of the garden is the riding school. The north section is arranged as stabling for, according to one report, three hundred horses but according to another one thousand horses.