When you visit the Prague Castle, don´t forget to look around at the Castle Square before the main entrance. There are several historical palaces and the Martinic Palace is one of them – it is one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Prague, built in the 16 th century.
There used to be a residence of Ondrej Tefl of Kinsdorf at the place. He sold the house to Jiri Borita of Martinic in 1583.
Second Prague defenestration
The new owner started to rebuild and enlarge the palace, but the work was discontinued by dramatic events in 1618: the Czech Protestant noblemen rebelled against Emperor Matthias, who had violated their religious freedom. Noblemen came to the Prague Castle to the office of imperial vice-regents. Jaroslav Borita of Martinic, owner of the palace, was a vice-regent at the time. The angry noblemen threw the vice-regents and their clerk out of the window. This event is known as “the second Prague defenestration” and it started the Thirty Years´War.
Suprisingly, the vice-regents were not injured, but they had to run away from the country for some time. The Martinic Palace was finished in early-Baroque style later.
Replica of the Royal Palace
The frontage is decorated with symbol of Martinic family – a water-lily and a star. The palace was built as a half-sized replica of the Royal Palace at the Prague Castle, because Count Martinic wanted a palace, symbolizing his political power.
Martinic Palace is decorated with numerous figural sgraffitoes, depicting scenes from life of Joseph in Egypt, King David and Hercules. There are well preserved Renaissance beam ceilings inside the palace. The ceilings are painted with allegorical pictures and lots of sayings are written there.
Many fresco paintings adorn the Martinic Palace, for example the above-lifesized figures of Adam and Eve, painted according to the artwork by A. Dürer.
The Martinic family died out in 1788 and the new owner of the building let most of the rooms for rent. The palace was badly devastated at the beginning of the 20 th century: around 70 families lived there and various workrooms were made there as well. The palace was finally restored in 1960s.