Royal Summer Palace – Belveder
The Royal Summer Palace might sometimes be referred to as Queen Anne’s Summer Palace. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Renaissance architecture found North of the Alps. It was built here by order of the Emperor, Ferdinand I. whose intention it was to devote it to his wife as a gift of love. Unfortunately, Queen Ann died before the completion of the palace. The construction works were started on the eastern edge of the Royal Garden in 1538 by the architect and stonemason Paolo della Stella. After his death, the construction of the upper floor was continued by the architect Bonifaz Wohlmut during the years 1556-1564.
The palace is surrounded by an arcaded gallery with rich ornamental and figural relief decoration. It was concieved as an intimate social area with a ballroom on its upper floor. Apart from its architectural and sculptural decoration, it is especially remarkable for its unique Renaissance roof which is in the form of an inverted ship’s hull covered with copper plating. The Royal Summer Palace and enhanced gardens were intended to serve as venues for the entertainment of the court, as well as a pleasurable visit. The Italian source of inspiration is illustrated by the way in which the adjoining part of the garden are laid out as a giardinetto with a regular composition of flower beds.
History Of The Royal Summer Palace
The palace was severely damaged during the Thirty Years War especiallyso during the wars during the reign of the Empress Maria Theresa. During the years 1779-1838 it served as an artillery laboratory which had detrimental effect on the structure of the building. Between 1841 and 1855 the interior of the palace was modified by Pietro Nobile and Bernard Grueber. In the course of the 20th century, the Royal Summer Palace was further reconstructed several times and modified for exhibition purposes.
The bronze Singing Fountain was founded based on a model by Francesco Terzio and by the court founder, bell-founder and gunsmith Tomas Jaros of Brno in the years 1564-1568. It was named the Singing Fountain because of the sound made by drops of water falling on the bell-metal of the bowls. Legend has it that whoever stands by the Singing Fountain and hears wedding bells will be married within a year.