Imperial Generalissimo Albrecht of Wallenstein, one of the most important personalities in Bohemia in the 17 th century, had built an ostentatious residence in Prague Lesser Town. It is the first monumental Baroque building in the city and it was supposed to overshadow all Prague palaces, even to compete with the Prague Castle.
Albrecht of Wallenstein
Albrecht of Wallenstein was very ambitious and ruthless person. He strengthened his political power after the rebelling Protestant nobles were defeated in 1620. He supported the Habsburg monarchy during the rebellion and when the rebels´ property was confiscated afterwards, he gathered enormous wealth.
However, he had a disagreement with the emperor later and he secretly negotiated with the emperor´s enemy about a betrayal. Ferdinand II. got to know about the plan and Albrecht of Wallenstein was finally murdered at the emperor´s bidding in Cheb in 1634.
Building of the Wallenstein Palace
When he had his palace built in Prague, he bought 26 houses, 6 gardens and 2 brickworks for it and almost everything had to be demolished. People who didn´t move out quickly enough, had his houses demolished right above their heads. Albrecht of Wallenstein allegedly didn´t even pay for some plots he bought, because nobody dared to remind him of the debt.
The Wallenstein Palace was built by Italian Andrea Spezza and later finished by Niccolo Sebregondi. It is a large complex of several buildings, five courtyards, a beautiful Wallenstein garden and a riding hall.
The interior of the palace is richly decorated in Italian style. The most important room is the Knights´ Hall. Its ceiling is adorned with a fresco painting by Baccio Bianco, depicting Albrecht of Wallenstein as an Antique god riding a chariot. The Audience Hall has a fresco of God Helios and an allegoric painting of four seasons. There is the St. Wenceslas Chapel in the Wallenstein Palace, decorated with scenes from the St. Wenceslas legend.
The extraordinary Astrological Corridor is embellished with astrological motifs by Giovanni Pieroni, the mathematician and astrologist, a pupil of Galileo Galilei. This corridor is the place, where Galilei´s discoveries were made public and painted for the first time. Albrecht of Wallenstein was very interested in astrology and he deeply trusted the horoscope, made for him by Johannes Kepler.
Seat of the Senate
The palace was a possession of Wallenstein family till 1945, then it was expropriated by the state. It became a seat of the Senate of the Czech Parliament in 1990s. The Senate sits in the former stabling, which came through large reconstruction.