Schwarzenberg Palace - Family and History

A Brief History of the Schwarzenberg Palace

Schwarzenberg Palace is the biggest Renaissance palace in Prague located on the Castle District Square. It was built at the site of 4 burned houses, destroyed in the fire of Lesser Town in 1541.

Schwarzenberg Palace was designed by the architect Agostino de Galli for Count Jan Jr. Lobkowicz, whose family owned the palace till the end of the 16th century. It was confiscated by Emperor Rudolf II in 1594, who exchanged it for a different palace, that was owned by the Rosemberg family, inside of the Castle Complex. It is unclear if Rosenbergs were happy about the exchange, but who dares to argue with the Emperor :)

Few decades passed, and the palace changed its landlord again. The Eggenbergs moved in after the victory of Habsburgs at the Battle of White Mountain, but even they did not stay for too long. Their dynasty died out unexpectedly in 1717, and the widow of the last Eggenberg, Maria Ernestina, signed the palace away to her son, Adam Schwarzenberg. Phew! It was rather complicated, but now you know what twists and turns of fate can help someone to inherit a palace!

Schwarzenbergs owned it the longest, from 1719 to 1947 until it was, you guessed right, confiscated! This time, it was done by the Communist party during their Nationalization process. Swarzenbergs had to immigrate and were able to come back only after the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

 

House of Schwarzenberg 

Schwarzenberg is a Bohemian and Franconian aristocratic family, whose prominence in modern Europe can hardly be denied. After acquiring the title of Princes of the Holy Roman Empire in the 1670s, their position strengthened and Sschwarzenbergs were able to secure a marriage alliance with the House of Eggenberg. That brought a lot of Czech properties to their hands and they eventually moved their main seat to Český Krumlov, in the south of the Czech Republic. 

One of the most famous members of the Schwarzenberg's House is Karl Phillip, Prince of Schwarzenberg, who was an Austrian general. He started his brilliant military career in 1788 and only 5 years later was awarded Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa for his bravery during the French Campaign in 1793. The French Revolutionary Wars promoted him to the rank of lieutenant general. He served as the Austrian ambassador in Russia and was even entrusted with the negotiations of Napoleon's marriage to the Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria. 

Nowadays, the head of the Schwarzenberg family is Karl VII Schwarzenberg, who united the two family branches. Karl Schwarzenberg served as a Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and ran in 2013's Presidential elections when he lost to a current Czech President, Milos Zeman. 

 

Fun Fact about Schwarzenberg Palace Prague

  • Schwarzenberg Palace is decorated with a sgraffito technique. Every pattern you see on the facade was created manually by scratching off the light top layer of plaster and revealing the darker one underneath. 

 

Visit Prague Schwarzenberg Palace

  • Schwarzenberg Palace has been the seat of the Prague National Gallery since 2002. It has a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Old Masters - Renaissance and Baroque works of art. Check out the Prague National Gallery official website to find out more!

See more of our Prague Travel Tips.