Prague Castle - Rožmberk Palace–Institute of Noblewomen (Rožmberský palác – Ústav šlechtičen)
This originally Renaissance palace was built between 1545 and 1574 by the lords of Rožmberk (Rosenberg). In the mid-18th century, it was radically rebuilt into the Institute of Noblewomen. This was founded by Maria Theresa in 1753 and served to educate 30 impoverished aristocratic daughters until 1918. Its unique chapel, Renaissance hall, and the permanent exhibition, which aims to evoke the life of unmarried aristocratic ladies in the first half of the 19th century, is a part of the Prague Castle guided tour.
November – March
- Whole week
- 09.00 – 16.00
April – October
- Whole week
- 09.00 – 17.00
The Rosenberg Palace (later Institute of Noblewomen) includes the unique chapel of the Holy Trinity and Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. Because of its monumentality and fresco decoration the chapel is unrivalled in Prague. The greatly restored Renaissance Rosenberg Hall is also accessible. One part of the Rosenberg Palace is furnished like an apartment of a noble lady living in the Institute, which was founded by Empress Maria Theresa.
The exhibition, evoking the life of an unmarried noble lady consists of 60 items from the depository of Prague Castle in popular Biedermeier and second rococo styles. Beside the furniture visitors can see stoves, stationery, lamps, candlesticks, glass, porcelain or timepieces.
Part of the Prague Castle circuit A.
Admission fees in detail here.
Solitary houses started to appear in place of this spacious building complex in the 13th and 14th century. A part of the land for the future palace was acquired by the Rožmberk family in 1513. All the local objects were destroyed or damaged greatly during the fire in 1541, which cleared the area for building a new, larger-scale construction. At first a four-wing palace was built under the guidance of builder Hans Vlach with arcades in the two shorter wings and with a gate towards Jiřská Street. Later on, when the Rožmberks acquired the neighbouring houses of the Švamberk family and of the lords of Rožmitál, they completed their palace by an extensive garden on the Western side, bordered by an arcade gallery. The construction was lead by Ulrico Avostalis in the years 1573 - 1574. In 1600, Emperor Rudolf II acquired the palace via an exchange, and connected it with the Ludvík’s wing of the Royal Palace via a wooden passageway on pillars. In the 1720s, the palace was raised with the 2nd floor, and divided by partition walls inside (Thomas Haffenecker). From 1753 on, there was a reconstruction for the purposes of the Institute for Noble Women (A. Luragho according to N. Pacassi’s project). Reconstruction works lasted from the 16th September 1753 until the 7th December 1756, although it was festively open as early as at the end of 1755.
The Institute was designed to educate thirty noble daughters, older than 24 years - except for the orphans, who were allowed to stay in the institute at the age of 18. It was managed by an unmarried archduchess from the Habsurg-Lorraine family. The first abbess was Maria Theresa’s daughter - archduchess Marie Anna. The order had an emblem depicting the painting of Virgin Mary’s immaculate conception in a golden oval medal, lined by white enamel. The noble women dwelled on the 1st and 2nd floors of the institute. Further on, there was the abbess’ suite, social gathering rooms, capitular room, choir, Baroque chapel of the Holy Trinity and Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception (one of the titles of the chapel), and rooms for the maintenance. Pacassi’s reconstruction touched the interior layout as well as all the facades. The layout with two courtyards was preserved from the original building of the Rožmberk Palace, with the third courtyard added in the West, and also the ground floor of the Rožmberk Palace with the entrance arcade, the Eastern wing of the former Švamberk Palace, cellars below the central courtyard and cellar parts by the Southern fortification wall. Basically (apart from minor changes), the premises are still the same today. In the years 1787 - 88, the institute was adapted under the management of the project author prof. engineer František Leonard Herget and the building inspectors František Josef Röll and Jan Ludvík Stuppl. Stonework was done by master Koller, painting by master Winkler.
The Institute for Noble Women was disbanded on the 1st May 1919 and the building was leased to the Ministry of Interior, for which several interior adaptations took place during the 20th century. Complete reconstruction took place in the years 1996 - 2007. Extensive work on repairing the Institute for Noble Women and reconstruction of the original Renaissance building of the Rožmberk Palace and its courtyards was definitively completed in January 2008. Since April 2010, the Palace has been open for public and is a part of the sightseeing tour at Prague Castle.