Czernin Palace

Czernin Palace

A monumental Baroque palace with a turbulent fate

Seeing Prague Castle is a must for every visitor coming to Prague, but not everybody visits the other streets of the Hradčany quarter to discover more beautiful buildings. It would certainly be a shame to miss the Loretta Church with its Baroque curves and the Early Baroque Czernin Palace standing right opposite it. The palace will certainly impress you with the majestic architecture that shaped it 350 years ago. Today, it is the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its interiors are used by the state administration. However, in the tourist season you can admire its Baroque garden.  
Czernin Palace on Loretta Square in Prague holds an interesting record. With its 150 metre facade, it is the longest Czech Baroque building. It was founded in 1669 by Czech nobleman Jan Humprecht Czernin, who was then the Austrian Emperor’s Ambassador in Venice.

The size and monumentality of this building was widely admired and confirmed the unique position of the Czernin family, who wanted to compete with the Imperial House of Habsburg. The interiors were decorated by the most significant artists of the time. Some of the sculptures were created by Matthias Benard Braun, whose work can also be seen on Charles Bridge in Prague or in the Kuks Hospital grounds in East Bohemia. However, the cost of the construction work and maintenance caused the bankruptcy of the Czernin family, who eventually sold the palace to the state in the mid-19th century.

A place where history was made

The 20th century was not a happy time for the palace. After the formation of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, the palace was renovated and started to be used by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which still has its seat there today. During World War II and the Nazi occupation, it was the residence of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich. After the fall of the iron curtain, the Warsaw Pact, the communist response to NATO, was disbanded there.

Although the interiors are not open to the public, you can still admire the majestic building from the outside or visit the adjacent small Baroque garden.