U Trojského zámku 1, Prague 7
Who would have guessed that this address would lead you to one of the most important and also most beautiful Baroque monuments in our country? Who would have guessed, moreover, that where the modest homestead of a country princess stood in the middle of the 17th century, a few years later a building of almost otherworldly appearance would rise? Perhaps similar thoughts were in the mind of Count Václav Vojtěch Sternberg when he had the château built in 1679–1685. His intentions at that time destined the magnificent building to serve as the summer residence of the Sternberg family. But don’t be mistaken – summer houses did not just provide their owners with a place to relax. They were supposed to represent them, to ensure their prestige at court and perhaps even a noble title. Václav Vojtěch achieved all this. No wonder – the Count spared no expense and invited the best European artists to build his “summer palace”.
The architect Jean-Baptiste Mathey designed the château as a type of classical Roman “villa suburbana”. The interior decoration depicts mostly classical motifs; the staircase is decorated with sculptures portraying the battle of the gods with the Titans according to the ancient Greek Iliad. These scenes probably gave the château and the adjacent village their name. The residence was bought from the Sternberg family in 1763 by Empress Maria Theresa, who later bequeathed it to the Noble Women’s Institute. In 1922, the château became the property of the state. Troja Château, the distinctive dominant feature majestically towering over the Vltava River, is reminiscent of Olympus, and the concerts held here taste like ambrosia to music lovers. The main hall connects two floors and its walls and ceiling are covered with frescoes celebrating the victory of the Habsburgs over the Turks at the Battle of Vienna, thus celebrating this mighty noble family. The hall tells stories and exudes temperament while doing so. Its character ideally blends with the sublime dignity and rich colour of 17th century music in the spontaneous expression of charismatic artists.
The Summer Festivities preserve this tradition. From the hall, a double staircase leads directly to the extensive French garden, the main axis of which is directed towards the majestic Prague Castle (Hradčany). If Baroque art was characterised by the search for a connection between divinity and humanity, we find this union of divine and human in Troja Château.