Visitors with tickets for “Circuit A” of the Prague Castle can also go into the Rosenberg Palace, which was originally built as a Renaissance palace for the aristocratic Rosenberg family. In the eighteenth century it was rebuilt in Baroque style. Starting in 1756 it was used as a “residence for unmarried women from insolvent noble families.”
The residence was run by a ‘Princess-Abbess’ who was appointed by the emperor. Up to thirty women could live here at any one time. Aside from being noble, impoverished and unmarried, they had to be at least 24 years old to be admitted, but exceptions were made for orphans, who could be as young as 18.
Although the residence was organized like a convent, the residents were not nuns. Technically they were ‘secular canonesses’ who were allowed to have servants and did not have to take vows of chastity. They could leave at any time to get married, which apparently was what most of them did, provided they succeeded in finding suitably aristocratic husbands.
One apartment in the Rosenberg Palace has been furnished to look like the apartment of a noble lady living here in the eighteenth century, using antique furniture and other items from the depository of Prague Castle.
The furnishings of the apartment include an eighteenth-century mousetrap (note the mouse approaching cautiously in the lower left-hand corner of the photo) and a private toilet box, which in those days must have been quite a luxury.
For most of the twentieth century the Rosenberg Palace was used for offices of the Interior Ministry and later the Castle Administration. After a thorough restoration, the palace was opened to the public in April 2010 for the first time in its history.
GPS 50° 5’28.83″ North; 14°24’14.59″ East
My photos in this post are from 2011. I revised the text in 2019.
See more posts on Prague, Czech Republic.