Valdštejnská 153/8 – The Fürstenberg palace

History of the palace

The area under the Prague castle, where there is now Fürstenberg palace situated, was since 13rd century owned by Benedictine monastery of St. George. There were mainly vineyards. At the beginning of 16th century the whole area was sold off and many utility gardens were created there. Their owners often changed. In the year 1580 Imperial Councillor Václav Berka of Dubá and Lipá bought a large part of these lands and at 1583 he started to build a representative residence in a late Renaissance-style. The coat of arms of the Berkas of Dubá – black branches on golden background can be still found on several places inside and outside the building.

In the year 1714 the palace passed by inheritance to the Vrbno family and other changes were done and in 1743 Václav Kazimír Netolický from Eisenberg got it. The building was given its present Baroque appearance under his ownership and the garden was landscaped.

Architecture of the palace

The entire complex consists of the palace buildings and gardens. The palace was built by successive additions to the Renaissance construction and its today appearance is more from 1840. It is four-winged building with an inner courtyard. There is a stair hall in the eastern wing and a ceremonial hall over two storeys high in the western wing. The hall is decorated with murals of unknown painter. There are two ground-floor outbuildings on the west side. This part is joined with the main palace with the big baroque gate with wooden doors. The so-called Great Fürstenberg Garden is on the slope above the palace. It is terraced and it is a supreme example of Italian Baroque garden design. It is the only garden of the old Prague gardens in which we can find an impressive cast-iron staircase and other cast-iron elements. The lower, flat part, has been converted into a romantic park. There are two fountains. One with a stone statue of Neptune and one with a metal statue of a boy with a heron. The original of the metal statue is located inside the building on the ground floor.


Use of the palace

The Fürstenberg palace got the name after further owner Karl Egon II from Fürstenberg. Karl owned foundries and smelters at Křivoklát and he was looking for a place where he could place a warehouse and sales rooms of his goods. He bought the house in 1822. After modifications the palace was used for economic business and clerk offices. The garden area was used for wood storing and the cellars for storing steel and iron products. The timber store was cancelled in 1854 and the building was then more used for representative purposes of the family.
In 1920 the palace was acquired by the Czechoslovak state and from 1922 it was rented by the Polish representation. The Embassy of the Republic of Poland is still here today.