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2017 | 65 | 4 |

Article title

The Making of the Habsburg residence in Prague Castle



Title variants

Vznik habsburské rezidence na Pražském hradě

Languages of publication



When the Habsburg dynasty came to the Czech throne in 1526 and then ruled the lands of the Czech Crown for almost four centuries, its first member, Ferdinand I, entered a splendid royal palace in Prague, standing in the centre of the extensive area of Prague Castle. Less than a century later, however, the situation there was completely different. The Czech King and Roman Emperor Rudolf II resided on the very edge of Prague Castle, in a topographically unsuitable place, and the Old Royal Palace was left to the Czech Royal and professional offices and traders. Even though this was a radical change and one of the most important events in the history of Prague Castle, the questions of why, when and how this great transfer of residence took place, fundamental to the understanding of this central location of the Czech State, have not yet been asked. The most important action was the relocation of the vice-regent of the government of Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol around 1555 to a small palace by the White Tower. The Habsburg architects Hans Tirol and Bonifaz Wohlmut unsuccessfully proposed linking the small palace with the Old Royal Palace by means of a new wing and thus building a worthy residence with a sufficient number of rooms. After ascending to the throne in 1576 the Emperor Rudolf II returned to this idea and had two Florentine architects (Antonio Lupicini in 1579 and Giovanni Gargiolli in 1586) carry out the new proposal, which was consulted in Florence with Francesco I de’Medici and in the second case also adjusted by Bernardo Buontalenti. In the end, however, Rudolf selected a different strategy and concentrated only on extending the palace by the White Tower to the areas of the former ditches, where he built wings containing areas for his collections. It was Rudolf II, then, who moved the Royal and Imperial Residence in Prague Castle to a new location, quite apart from the historical centre of the Castle.








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  • Umění, redakce, Ústav dějin umění AV ČR, v.v.i., Husova 4, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic


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