This unique Renaissance building was built on a ground plan of a six-pointed star – a hexagram. It was built for the Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol, who was interested in symbology of numbers, alchemy and hermetics. The shape of the building represents a junction of two contradictory forces in harmony. It was supposed to enlighten and provide vitality. The Summer Residence Hvezda was meant to be a “philosophical building”.
Numerological background of the building
Ferdinand of Tyrol chose the year 1555 to start building the summer residence. It was no coincidence: the year 1555 was the 311 th lustrum after Christ´s birth, i.e. a five-year period, connected with purgatory sacrifices in the ancient Rome. The year 311 was also the year, when Christians were given freedom of belief for the first time by the Roman Emperor Galerius. The name of the residence “Hvezda” means “Star” in the Czech language.
Ferdinand of Tyrol was the second son of the Holy Roman Emperor and Bohemian King Ferdinand I. He was the vice-regent of Bohemia from 1547 to 1566 and he had many buildings built in Prague. He enjoyed the Renaissance lifestyle – banquets, tournaments and hunting.
The Summer Residence Hvezda was finished in 1556. It was built by Royal Court architects Italians G. M. Aostalli and G. Lucchese. The ground floor ceiling is decorated with stuccoes by M. del Pambio and G. Lucchese, inspired by the Antique mythology. There is a mosaic flagstone floor preserved in the Banqueting Hall in the second floor.
Model of the Battle of the White Mountain
One of the most important battles in the Czech history took place in a park near the Summer Residence Hvezda. The Czech Protestant estates rebelling against the Emperor Matthias were defeated in the Battle of the White Mountain in 1620 and it started a sad era of repressions. A model of the battle can be seen in the basement of the Summer Residence Hvezda.
Museum of Czech Literature exhibitions
The building was devastated during the Thirty Years´ War and restored by Ferdinand III. in 1652. The Enlightenment Emperor Joseph II. decided, that there will be a storage of gunpowder in the residence in 1779. It stayed there till 1874 and it had a negative effect on the building. The Summer Residence Hvezda was restored in the 20 th century.
You can find the Summer Residence Hvezda in the Prague quarter Liboc, Prague 6. It is an exhibition space of the Museum of Czech Literature.