Wallenstein Palace (Valdštejnský palác)
Wallenstein Palace (Czech: Valdštejnský palác) is a Baroque palace in Malá Strana, Prague, currently the home of the Czech Senate.
The original Palace was built in years 1623-1630 by Albrecht von Wallenstein, Duke of Mecklenburg (1583-1634), who made his name and fortune as the Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial forces in the Thirty Years War. Emperor Ferdinand II feared Albrecht of Wallenstein’s calculating mind and had him assassinated in 1634 in the town of Eger (now Cheb). He lived in the palace for only a year before his death. His widow sold it to his nephew and it remained in the Wallenstein family until 1945. After the Second World War, the palace became Czechoslovak state property and was renovated to house government offices. Today, the Senate of the Czech Republic operates out of the main palace buildings. The Riding School is used as a branch of the National Gallery in Prague. The challenging restoration of the main building began in mid-1999.
To make space for this palace, Wallenstein razed 26 houses, six gardens, and two brickworks at the site. Wallenstein Palace was built to rival Prague Castle. Four courtyards are created by the palace layout. Its complex includes period gardens, the Avenue of Sculptures, stables and the large Riding School. The monumental conception of the loggia with three arcades on doubled columns recalls the Baroque style. The Italian style garden includes an aviary, a grotto, and a fountain by Adrian de Vries (c.1545-1626). After years of neglect after the war, the gardens have been reconstructed. Wallenstein would have dined in the huge sala terrena (garden pavilion) that looks out over fountain and rows of bronze statues. The sala terenna and its rich stucco decoration were modeled after the portico of a Livornese church. Today, these are copies of the Netherlander sculptor Adriaen de Vries’ works. The originals were looted by the Swedish army in 1648, and they can be seen today at Drottningholm Palace. Immortal Beloved (film), a 1994 film about the life of Beethoven was filmed in the gardens.: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valdštejnský_palác