The official seat of Olomouc bishops and archbishops, the place marked by history and the building that hosted many famous personalities – this all is the Archiepiscopal Palace in Olomouc, a significant example of Baroque palace architecture in Moravia.
First to start building the original Renaissance palace on the site of today’s residence was Bishop Stanislav Thurzo at the beginning of the 16th century; his successors then continued in the work. However, the Thirty Years’ War and a fire in 1661 seriously damaged the building and Bishop Karl II von Liechtenstein-Kastelkorn thus had the residence rebuilt and significantly expanded in the Baroque style between 1664 and 1669. The building acquired its present appearance during the reconstruction after the fire at the beginning of the 20th century.
The two-storey building with a richly decorated Neo-Baroque facade and three Baroque portals is arranged around two enclosed courtyards. On the first floor, several representation halls have preserved rich Rococo, Empire and Neo-Baroque artistic decoration, as well as period furniture.
These rooms were the scene of a number of important historical events. The Russian Tsar Alexander and the Austrian Emperor Francis II met here for consultations before the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, the Austrian Emperor Ferdinand I abdicated and his nephew Franz Joseph I ascended the throne in 1848 and an important peace treaty, the so-called “Punctation of Olmütz”, was signed here between Austria and Prussia in 1850.
The halls also hosted many other significant people: Empress Maria Theresa, Archbishop Jean Cardinal Verdier of Paris, Pope St. John Paul II or Presidents T. G. Masaryk, Edvard Beneš, Václav Havel and his successors. These halls also form the main part of the sightseeing tour available for the public, which also includes a room for short-term exhibitions.
The Archbishop’s Palace is thus a unique complex created by history and personalities that have given the palace an authentic and lively atmosphere of a historical space.
The palace has served and continues to serve as a living space and the furnishings have been preserved in the period context of use and in the authentic space for which they were created. Although the historic halls are supplemented with exhibits, it is a unique collection that is not merely an artificial and grouped museum display. Rather, its spaces fit into the context of residential settlements such as castles and chateaus, which have their own historical continuity and fluidity over time. Its price has been shaped over many centuries by the unique history and events that have left their mark on it.