THE CZERNIN PALACE

The most monumental Prague Baroque monument
The palace is dominant of the Loreto Square and it is a monumental masterpiece of Baroque secular architecture. Today, it houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
Austrian diplomat, Count Humprecht Jan Czernin of Chudenice, wanted to have a palace so big and high that it would compete with the Prague Castle. After his return from Venice, he ordered palace, which amazes by its size till nowadays. It was designed by the famous Roman architect, Bernini, whose plans were followed by architect, Francesco Caratti, who supervised the construction works in 1669 – 1679. The early Baroque frontage of the palace is 136 meters long and 32 meters high.The interior and the gardens of the palace were designed by Frantisek Maximillian Kaňka. The portal above the main entrance was built by Carlo Lurago in the middle of the 18th century. Czernin Family placed their art collection in the palace and it was one of the most significant collections in the whole Hapsburg Empire. The financial possibilities of this Noble Family were so high that they built a similar palace in Vienna. However, the huge cost eventually bankrupted the family and the palace in Prague was offered for sale in 1799 but nobody wanted it and so, the palace slowly decayed during the Napoleonic wars and it was used as a hospital or barracks. Finally, the palace was acquired by the State, the building was restored and after the formation of Czechoslovakia, it houses the Foreign Ministry. The modern mystery of the palace is the death of the foreign minister, Jan Masaryk – son of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the founder and first president of Czechoslovakia. The circumstances of Jan´s death were never cleared and the people argued about whether it was suicide or murder, and this started the play on words that “Jan Masaryk was jumped out of the window.”

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