Next door to the Rosenberg Palace is another palace which strictly speaking is not a part of Prague Castle, because it is again (after two interruptions) the private property of the Lobkowicz family, an aristocratic family which has “played a prominent role in Central European history for over six hundred years”, according to their palace website.
The palace was acquired by this family in 1604 through the marriage of the 1st Prince Lobkowicz (1568-1628), who served as Chancellor to three Habsburg emperors. Ever since then, the palace has been in the family except when it was confiscated by the Nazis (1939-1945) and the Communists (1948-1989).
The current “prince”, who doesn’t use the title and in fact is not allowed to under Czech law, is William Lobkowicz, born in Boston in 1961. He studied European History at Harvard and became a successful businessman in America. In 1990, after the fall of the Communists, he returned to the Czech Republic to reclaim and restore his family’s properties, including their huge art collection which had been dispersed by the Nazis and Communists.
Many of the art works from the family collection are now on display at the Lobkowicz Palace Museum, which has only been open to the public since April 2007. They have one Brueghel, namely “Haymaking” by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, and two paintings of London by Canaletto, along with many other paintings from several centuries.
Also on display are items from the family’s large music collection, including rare historical instruments and musical scores such as the original handwritten manuscripts of symphonies by Mozart and Beethoven. The seventh Prince Lobkowicz, Joseph Franz Maximilian (1772-1816), was the patron of Beethoven, supporting him financially so he could compose his symphonies and other works.
The price of admission to the Lobkowicz Palace Museum (currently 295 CZK which is 11.56 Euros) includes an audio guide, available in eight languages. The English version is narrated by William Lobkowicz himself, with guest appearances by other family members and by the curator of the art collection.
Going through the Lobkowicz Palace Museum with the audio guide gives you an overview of several centuries of Central European history, along with art history and music history, all tied together by the story of sixteen generations of the Lobkowicz family.
This is the Baroque 17th century concert hall in the Lobkowicz Palace, where classical music concerts are held daily at 1.00 pm. The concert hall can seat over a hundred people, but there were only sixteen of us in the audience on the day I attended.
The concert, I’m sorry to say, was a flop, consisting of the most hackneyed and trivial tourist-concert selections played by three totally unmotivated musicians. Though the concert hall is beautifully painted, the acoustics are unfortunate, accentuating the shrillness of the flute and the clunkiness of the piano. Only the viola sounded normal. So my recommendation would be to skip the concert and just concentrate on the marvelous museum collections instead.
GPS 50° 5’29.37″ North; 14°24’16.93″ East
My photos in this post are from 2011. I revised the text in 2019.