Friday, May 25, 2012: The Beauty Above

Opus Osm

Where is it? Once you've seen it, you won't forget it ...

The Beauty Above You: A 17th Century Ceiling

Anyone for tea?

How about tea for 550?

That’s the capacity of the gorgeous room beneath this incredibly beautiful ceiling. Clearly, it’s a unique and special place.

Do you recognize it?

It was built in the 17th century, naturally for an emperor (Rudolf II). After all, the guy needed a place to keep his sculptures.

And his giant collection room (43 metres long, 21 metres wide, 12 metres tall) got its name not from art, but because of the breed of horses living in the stables that used to sit below it.

As things usually go in history, the magnificent room wasn’t able to protect Rudolf’s treasures for long. Some of his art was stolen by the Swedish army during the Thirty Years’ War. Some was carried off to Vienna as possessions of the Royal Hapsburg collection. Some pieces were just moved to another part of the huge complex which later emperors called home.

As for entertaining at home, this room was the place for the most prestigious, courtly balls, parties, and concerts. It was damaged by the Prussian army in 1757, enlarged with an extra floor above by KI Dienzenhofer in the 18th century, and, it’s said, a century or two later TG Masaryk offered tea here.

These days it’s officially open to the public just two days a year (in May and October), unless you’re lucky enough to get tickets to a concert here.

Where is it? The Spanish Hall, Prague Castle. — oo

Photo Credits: Frank Trollman

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