Libeň château

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Libeň château (Libeňský zámek)This charming Rococo mansion is situated in the heart of Libeň, on a well-groomed green at the edge of an extensive park. Once, a Gothic castle was located where the mansion (House No. 1) now stands. The castle was located in the middle of a settlement, mentioned for the first time as a property of the wealthy Rotlev family of the Old Town in 1363. Eliška Hoff manová of Donín bought the estate for 52,000 threescore Meissen groschen from Jiří Bryknar and his brother Albrecht in 1595. She built a small Renaissance mansion on the site.

Soon, the Libeň mansion became the venue of an event that entered history textbooks: this is where Emperor Rudolf II concluded the Peace of Libeň with his brother Matthias on 25 June 1608. At that time Matthias’s forces were preparing for an incursion in Prague but a resolute action of the Czech nobility secured the throne for Rudolph, although not for a long time. Naturally, the Emperor had to make extensive concessions. He was forced to surrender rule over Hungary, Moravia and Austria to Matthias.

The mansion, which was even owned briefly by Albrecht of Wallenstein, was damaged several times during the Thirty Years’ War. The owners of Libeň changed several times during the turbulent times after the Battle of White Mountain and in 1651 the estate fi nally came into the hands of the Nostitz family, who enlarged and partly restructured the premises in the Baroque style. In 1662, however they sold the estate to the Prague Old Town. For the following 220 years, the Libeň mansion was used as a summer house by Prague mayors.

The mansion, together with the village and its broad environs were considerably damaged during the Prussian incursion in the spring of 1757. The then burgomaster of the Prague Old Town, Václav Fridrich of Friedenberg, decided to utilize the necessary repairs of the mansion for thorough renovation in the Rococo style. He won fi nancial support from Empress Maria Theresa herself for his project, off ering her the mansion as a temporary residence during her journeys to Prague and visitations to the Terezín Fortress construction site. The Libeň Mansion House received its current form during redevelopment designed and carried out by the Prague architect Jan Josef Prachner in 1769– 1770. The existing building was enlarged by a splendid eastern wing with a small turret and a clock and by the Chapel of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception. The chapel was consecrated on 2 December 1770 and one year later it was declared public as it was used in place of a Catholic church in Libeň until 1905.

Chapel of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception – virtual viewingEmpress Maria Theresa did indeed visit the Libeň mansion after the construction works fi nished in 1770 and stayed there several times during 1771–1773. Emperor Joseph II stayed at the mansion during the 1786 fi eld exercises and Emperor Franz I stayed there on a similar occasion at the end of 1803 and the beginning of 1804. Emperor Leopold II stayed there overnight before his coronation as Czech king in August 1791; this was where his magnifi cent coronation procession started on 31 August 1791, an event so vividly described in Jirásek’s novel F. L. Věk. But the mansion chambers also remember a plague hospital hastily established during a major epidemic in 1772 as well as a military hospital during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.

The Libeň Mansion House is a remarkable historic Rococo style building. While its outer architecture has not undergone substantial changes since 1770, its original interiors have been preserved only in part. Special attention should be paid fi rst of all to the festive hall on the fi rst fl oor of the eastern wing, which has been one of the most popular wedding halls in Prague since the 1960s. The interior is supplemented with a Late Empire style tiled stove; the original furniture has not survived. The interior of the mansion’s chapel also has indisputable value. All the decorative paintings were created by the outstanding 18th-century Czech painter Ignác Raab. The altar itself is a work of Richard Jiří Prachner, a sculptor and a carver, father of the mansion’s redevelopment designer. The side altar and the pulpit were created by the Old Town carver A. Krimm and the master joiner Jakub Emplert.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Libeň Mansion House premises have regularly hosted spring and autumn concert series; since 1995, it has also been the venue of the Libeň Youth Spring music festival.

Libeň château – marriage hall – virtual viewing