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The history of the Wallenstein Palace is the history of a dream and an ambition. The person who should have been its owner, Albrecht von Wallenstein, never lived to enjoy his finished work but nevertheless he left us one of the most beautiful constructions in Prague.
The Duke of Wallenstein, who lived in the 17th century, soon realised that his greatest ambition was to become rich and powerful. Thus, both his first marriage with a rich widow and the second one with a noblewoman brought him closer to the Court of Ferdinand II.
Wallenstein created an army that he placed at the disposition of the emperor and gradually became a trusted person as well as his best man of arms. Wallenstein’s soldiers marked up numerous victories in the Thirty Years War. For diverse circumstances and family coincidences, he ended up possessing an immense number of properties and holding numerous titles such as the Duke of Friedland, Prince of Sagan and Head of the Guard of the lands of Bohemia.
But with his 24,000 soldiers and his boundless ambition, Wallenstein gradually became a threat to the emperor, who was not comfortable with his accumulation of power. In fact, it is said that Wallenstein aspired to the crown of Bohemia and that he had begun to negotiate with the Swedish and the Saxons.
Ferdinand II, convinced that it was better to lose a collaborator than lose the crown, did not hesitate in ordering his death. Thus, in 1634 the Duke of Wallenstein ended his days murdered at the hands of mercenaries hired by the emperor.
Seeing his most valued possession, the Wallenstein Palace, it seems reasonable to suspect that its owner was plotting something. In fact, this magnificent architectural complex not only had to be a residence for the duke but it also had to outdo Prague Castle. In order to build it, 23 houses, three gardens and a factory had to be demolished.
Its architects, Andrea Spezza, Niccolo Sebregondi and Giovanni Pieroni, gave it a late-Renaissance air. In the sala terrena, a pavilion with views to the garden, one can appreciate a Mannerist style with paintings and stuccos representing scenes from the Trojan wars and the Aenid.
In the main room, two storeys high, the Duke of Wallenstein wanted to satisfy his vanity representing himself as the God Mars riding in a war chariot.
The palace experienced restoration work and reform at the beginning of the 19th century and has been the headquarters of the Senate since 1945, when it was confiscated by the State.
The vast Baroque gardens are open to the public and are well worth visiting. In the centre of a large pond you will see a statue dedicated to Hercules. Moreover, there are several bronze statues which are a replica of those produced by the artist Adriaen de Vries. The originals were sacked by the Swedish in the Thirty Years War.
Some pavilions are today rooms for the collection of the National Museum dedicated to pedagogy. Behind the old riding school, you can visit the temporary gallery of the National Museum.
Basilica and convent of Saint George (Bazilika a Kláster Sv. Jirí) (33)
Church of St. Nicholas (Sv. Mikulas) (11)
Monastery of Strahov (Strahovsky Klaster) (26)
Town Old Building of the Old Town (Staromestská Radnice) (9)
Cathedral of Saint Vitus (Katedrála Sv. Víta) (31)
Golz-Kinsky Palace (Palác Kinskych) (4)
National Gallery, Sternberg Palace (Národní Galerie - Sternbersky Palác) (29)
Saint Nicholas of Malá Strana (Sv. Mikulás) (40)
Charles Bridge (Karlûv Most) (2)
Our Lady of the Snows (Panna Marie Snezná) (52)
The Astronomical Watch (10)
Celetná Street (7)
Church of Saint Thomas (Sv. Tomás) (44)
Jan Hus, Bethlehem Chapel (Betlemska Kaple) (6)
Lobkowicz-Schwarzenberg Palace (Lobkovicky Palác) (36)
National Theatre (Národní Divadlo) (48)
Our Lady of Loreto (Loreta) (28)
Royal Way. Nerudova. (37)
State Opera (Státní Opera) (57)
Cernín Palace (Cernínsky Palác) (27)
Convent of Saint Agnes of Bohemia (Kláster Sv. Anezky) (16)
Jewish Quarter of Prague. The Golem. (21)
Masaryk Quay (Masarykovo Nábrezí) (51)
Old Jewish Cemetery (Stary Zidovsky Hrbitov) (24)
Petrin Hill (Petrínské Sady) (42)
Saint John Nepomucene (Sv. Jan Nepomucky na Skalce) (46)
Vtrba Garden (Vrtbovská Zahrada) (38)
Charles IV Square (Karlovo Námesti) (49)
Cubist Houses (Kubistické Domy) (59)
Kampa Island (41)
Municipal House (Obecní Dum) (12)
Old Town Square (8)
Royal Garden (Kralovská Zahrada) (35)
Slav Island and the Mánes Gallery (Slovansky Ostrov) (50)
Wallenstein Palace (Valdstejnsky Palác) (43)
Church of Saint James (Sv. Jakub) (19)
Golden Lane (Zlatá Ulicka) (32)
Letná Park (Letenské Sady) (17)
National Avenue (Narodni) (54)
Old-New Synagogue (Staronová Synagóga) (25)
Royal Palace (Stary Kralovsky Palác) (34)
Slavic Monastery of Emmaus (Kláster Na Slovanech -Emauzy-) (45)
Wenceslas Square (Václavské Námeí) (47)
Castle Gallery (Obrázarna Prazskeho Hradu) (30)
Museum of Dvorák (Muzeum Antonína Dvoráka) (53)
Prague City Museum (Muzeum Hlavního Mesta Prahy) (18)
Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art (Sbirka Moderního a Soucasneho Umení) (20)
National Jewish Museum, Maisel and Pinkas Synagogues (23)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart Museum. (60)