Carnevale Praha – Prague Carnival Celebrations The magic and mysterious world of the Carnival in Prague has a genuine Baroque atmosphere. Starting with the initial Gathering of Masks and colourful parade, continuing with themed evenings, concerts, theatre and dance performances and jugglers’ shows and finishing with the Carnival dance in Prague’s Venice – close to Charles Bridge – you will find yourself in Baroque Prague, with some Baroque banquets thrown in. The centre of the Carnival is the splendid Clam-Gallas Palace, the seat of the Institute of Baroque Culture. Languages available for foreigners: EN www.carnevale.cz Opera Barocca Festival While in winter the Clam-Gallas Palace roams with the carnival, summer welcomes the Opera Barocca Festival. It is a unique project featuring Baroque music, dancing and singing in an authentic style – as presented at the time of their creation. Gems of Baroque music, leading musicians, historical instruments, period set designs, attractive illumination by candle light and the atmosphere of the majestic palaces of Prague generate a magical ambience at the festival. Languages available for foreigners: EN www.operabarocca.cz Baroque Evenings with Collegium Marianum Prague’s ensemble – Collegium Marianum presents 17th and 18th century music focusing on Czech and Central European composers. Its repertoire includes not only concert pieces, as it is also regularly engaged in scenic projects. The ensemble works closely with major European conductors, soloists, directors and choreographers. The Baroque Evenings concert series combines music with historical areas of time-honoured Prague. Languages available for foreigners: EN www.collegiummarianum.cz Baroque Gallery A rare collection of Baroque art is displayed in the magnificent Schwarzenberg Palace on Hradčany Square. Situated on three floors, the National Gallery’s permanent exhibition of “Baroque in Bohemia” presents 160 sculptural exhibits and 280 pieces of late Renaissance and Baroque fine art, created in the territory of the lands of the Crown of Bohemia. One part of the exposition focuses on the everyday workshop practice of Baroque studios. The prestigious premises of the palace have been reserved for the work of Baroque key artists, Karel Škréta and Petr Brandl. The basement is home to the permanent exhibition of “Baroque Arts and Crafts”. Located much higher, under the unique Baroque truss, the “Imperial Armoury” exposition displays the most valuable weaponry from the 15th to 19th century. Languages available for foreigners: Main expositions: EN; Printed guides: EN; Guide: EN, DE, FR – a foreign language guide must be booked 14 days in advance. Visitors to the locality in 2015: 543,308 www.ngprague.cz Lapidary Situated in the Prague Exhibition Grounds (Výstavište), the Lapidary is one of the largest museum expositions of this kind in Europe, having given a home to statues, which were removed from public spaces, as well as originals of sculptures, replaced by copies in their former locations. In addition, one can admire columns, windows, portals, apex stones, arch stones, spouts, brackets, baldachins, and further carved and relief tombstones, water pools and fountains, memorial plaques, reliefs, garden vases and statues, sculptures and monuments… Languages available for foreigners: Information boards and signs: EN; Printed guide: EN, DE, FR, IT, RU; Guide: EN – a language guide must be booked – guided tours by prior arrangement. Visitors to the locality in 2015: 8,520 www.nm.cz More Baroque within easy reach In Prague visitors will come to know Baroque in its urban appearance. However, the driving force of the Baroque concept was to create a harmonious landscape complex with cultural elements. So it is important to leave the capital and explore Baroque in individual regions of the Czech Republic. Only then will one truly know what Czech Baroque looks like.
Church of St. Nicholas
Old Town Square
Baroque Library of Strahov Monastery
Church of St. Nicholas in Lesser Town
Klausen Synagogue in Josefov
Wallenstein Palace with a Garden
Built by Jesuits, this College is actually more of a small town. After Prague Castle it is the second largest architectural complex in Prague. It used to house classrooms and halls, a theatre, printing works, astronomical observatory, library, outbuildings, accommodation premises, pharmacy with a laboratory, customs buildings and of course, churches and chapels. Today it is the seat of the National Library. Klementinum Baroque library was voted the world’s most beautiful in several polls. Finished in 1722, its appearance has hardly changed since then. It is decorated with ceiling frescoes, carved shelves, paintings, rare giant globes, an astronomical clock, and obviously thousands of books. Choice of experiences on offer Guided tours, exhibitions, events. The guided tour will take you to the Baroque Library Hall, Meridian Hall and the Astronomical Tower. And exhibition of the Vyšehrad Codex facsimile promises unique enjoyment. In addition one can experience a romantic dinner for two here or take photos of Prague at night from the Astronomical Tower gallery. The Mirror Chapel regularly hosts concerts.
One of the most splendid 17th century Baroque chateaux in the country inspired by an Italian suburban villa, surrounded by a large garden with fountains, statues, orangery and a natural labyrinth beautifies the Vltava bank at the edge of Prague. Its Grand Hall with adjacent lounges decorated with murals and ceiling paintings is the central feature of the chateau. Tower-like belvederes rise up from each end of the structure. The chateau houses an exposition from the collections of the Prague City Gallery. Choice of experiences on offer Guided tours of the chateau and garden. The permanent exhibition – “Architecture and Decoration of Troja Chateau” can be viewed individually or with a guide, other exhibitions and the garden just by yourself. Botanical Garden. Located in the Troja Basin close to the chateau, the Botanical Garden features the famous Fata Morgana Greenhouse, as well as outdoor expositions, including vineyards.
The Prague Palace Gardens are amazing examples of Baroque fashion and the architectural thinking of the day. Fortunately, the subsequent landscaping did not damage any of the beauty or symmetrical perfection of these soul-pleasing areas. The largest among them is the Wallenstein Garden presented above. Quite possibly the Vrtba Garden is the most beautiful of them all. Situated on the slope of Petřín Hill, as are another three Baroque gardens, Vratislav, Schönborn and Lobkowic Gardens, it is the only one of them open to the public. This terraced garden features a sala terrena (garden pavilion) and sculptures by Matthias Braun. Similarly, the Palace Gardens beneath Prague Castle – Ledeburk, Pálffy, Fürstenberk and Kolowrat Gardens have held onto their distinctive Baroque features. The same applies for the Garden of Czernin Palace, which opens to the public in the summer. Choice of experiences on offer Guided tours, exhibitions, concerts. Some of the gardens can be viewed during sightseeing tours; some are open occasionally and others regularly from April to October – such as the Vrtba, Wallenstein and beneath the Prague Castle Gardens. These places often host garden celebrations, garden parties, concerts…
The Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians at Strahov ranks among the world’s oldest still existing Premonstratensian Monasteries. The Theological Hall, one of the two main halls of Strahov Library, is yet another rare example of Baroque architecture. Having been built between 1671–1679, it was designed by the Prague architect of Italian origin, Jan Dominik Orsi, and decorated with frescoes by Siard Nosecký, a Strahov Premonstratensian and artist. The adjacent Philosophical Hall, created by Jan Ignatius Palliardi, is perhaps even more remarkable thanks to the ceiling painting by Anton Maulbertsch. Choice of experiences on offer Guided tours, celebrations, events. The monastery grounds can be viewed on two separate tours – Strahov Library and the Strahov Picture Gallery in the Convent Building. The complex also hosts occasional exhibitions and concerts.
The largest synagogue in the former Prague Jewish Quarter and the only surviving example of the Early Baroque style to be found here. Three smaller structures called “Klausen” had stood on its spot from the 16thcentury. After the 1689 fire in the ghetto a single temple in the Early Baroque style was erected in their place in 1694. Klausen Synagogue was the second main synagogue of the Prague Jewish Community and many of its prominent rabbis used to serve here. Currently it is administered by the Jewish Museum in Prague. Choice of experiences on offer Jewish traditions and customs.
Twenty-three houses, three gardens, a brickyard and one palace had to give way to the construction of the gigantic Wallenstein complex. Albrecht von Wallenstein spared no expense and invited the most prominent architects to Prague, which resulted in the creation of one of the most significant constructions of Czech Early Baroque. Today housing the Senate of the Czech Republic, this vast palace is set amidst the magnificent Baroque Wallenstein Garden with a pond, artificial island, fountains, statues and grotto. Flanking the area, the Wallenstein Riding School hosts prestigious exhibitions organized by the National Gallery. .
Undoubtedly the most precious gem among all of the exquisite and architecturally unique Houses of God is the Church of St. Nicholas in Lesser Town. Since its construction lasted the entire first half of the 18th century, it is more than likely that it brought together two legends of Czech Baroque, the father and son Dientzenhofer. The main frontage won’t let you be still for a second, as the dynamic Baroque principle is so powerful here. The gigantic dome next to the intricately shaped bell tower enhances this remarkable impression. The interior is actually an encyclopaedia of Baroque, its lavishness and decorativeness. Choice of experiences on offer Classical music concerts. Apart from viewing the church, you can also visit one of the many concerts held here. The Organ Wednesdays series is a very intense experience enjoyed by many.
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Visitors in 2015 the garden is freely accessible