Gardens and Castle in Kroměříž, Czechia
Two gardens of Kroměříž are among the best examples of landscape art in whole Europe. Therefore, both of them inspired many artists all over the European continent during centuries.
The origins of Kroměříž date back to the 15th century when the first residence was built in the town. The Castle with both of the gardens – in their present form – were founded in the 16th century by the Bishop Karl von Lichtenstein-Castelcorno.
The Flower Garden is one of the most significant examples of European landscape architecture of the 17th century. It represents the transition from an Italian Renaissance style (best seen in the Gardens of the Villa Lante) to French Baroque and Classicism (such as gardens in Versailles).
The Castle Garden, on the other side, was founded in the 16th century (the year 1509) and has been changing over the centuries from an orchard to a picturesque castle park inspired by the English style of the 19th century.
The gardens of Kroměříž are quite different but together they represent typical European landscape art. First of them, the Flower Garden, is about one kilometer far from the Castle. It raises the feeling of never-ending magical labyrinth and it is easy to get lost among the green walls of hedgerows, lines of statues and flower arrangements. The mix of colors and scents of the Flower Garden makes it very similar to the magical Garden of Eden.
The Castle Garden shows up to the visitors of the Castle after few minutes of the guided tour. However, from the windows visitors may see just a piece of the 54-hectares of the garden. It is designed as a romantic park in which one can find more than 200 kinds of trees from all over the world. But not only flora is to be seen in the Castle Garden. There are also free-roaming peacocks, rabbits and other small animals. Above it all the landmark of the town of Kroměříž - 86-meters high tower as a dominant of the Archiepiscopal Castle - rises.
To represent was the main intention while building the imposing painting gallery in the second floor of the Castle. Up until now the Picture Gallery of the Castle of Kroměříž is the second most valuable gallery in the Czech Republic (after the one in the Prague Castle). It contains, among others, works by authors such as Anton van Dyck, Lucas Cranach or Titian. It is Titian's painting Apollo and Marsyas which is the most valuable work in the Gallery of Kroměříž.
Kroměříž Castle and also both gardens represented Bishops and Archbishops of Olomouc who were also Princes of Moravia. They hosted here several honored guests, for example Russian czar Alexander III or Austrian emperor Franz Joseph II and his beautiful wife Elisabeth, called Sissi. As such, the Castle had to be an example of power and wealth and also to provide an entertainment to nobles. Not only gardens were there to ensure it.
How to Get There
Kroměříž is about 50 kilometrs far from Olomouc. It is easily accessible by the train, bus, or even the car. Train and bus stations are within a 5-minute walk far from the entrance to the Castle Garden. The Archbiepiscopal Castle is about 10-minute walk far from the bus and train stations. Direct public transport to the Flower Garden departs regularly from the train station (Bus number 4 or 6).
When to Visit
There is no bad season to visit the gardens of Kroměříž, but both of them are at their best in the spring and summer.
The Castle Garden is open year-round. It only closes during unfavorable weather such as strong wind, heavy rain, or melting snow. The Flower Garden is also open all year long, except for a few days in February, when a large thematic exhibition of camellias is prepared as a mark of the beginning of spring and also the high season. Please check online for the exact closure dates.
The Archiepiscopal Castle’s high season lasts from April to October (except Mondays which is the sanitary day). You can choose one of the guided tours or combine them and visit everything. All types of tours and also their price and specific closure dates are available on the tour routes.
How to Visit
To properly enjoy the Archiepiscopal Castle, Flower Garden, and Castle Garden, plan to stay in Kroměříž for at least one day, and ideally an entire weekend. The main guided tour at the Castle lasts about 70 to 80 minutes, but you can visit also the tour called Sala Terrena which lasts about 30 minutes. The Gallery consist of nine rooms and its visit lasts at least 45 minutes but you can stay there as long as you wish.
The Castle Garden is a 54-hectare park, where you can stay all day and just relax. There is also an opportunity to take guided tour throughout the most interesting places of the garden with a special small train. If you want to enjoy the history from the first hand you can also choose a costumed tour organized by so called Bishopric Manes, who organizes tours of the city.
The Flower Garden is possible to visit by yourself or you can choose a guided tour which lasts about 60 minutes and can help you to understand not only the history of the garden but also the whole town.