photos: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
The most important and the biggest Baroque palace in Prague runs along the whole western side of the Loretto Square (Loretánské náměstí); its front face is 136 metres long and its height is up to 32 metres. Construction of the palace in place of a few Renaissance houses was started in 1669 by F. Caratti commissioned by the Černín of Chudenice family, later on carried out by G. B. Alliprandi, F. M. Kaňka, A. M. Lurago, G. B. Maderna and others.
The decorations were done by stone-masons M. Allia, G. B. Allia and J. Santini-Eichel, stuccateers G. B. Cometa, T. Soldati, B. Spinetti, sculptors M. B. Braun, I. F. Platzer, K. J. Hiernle or F. O. and J. A. Quittainer, painters V. V. Rainer, D. E. Rossi, P. J. Brandl and S. Nosecký. The wings of the palace close off two courtyards, there is a large French-style garden with a greenhouse, two salla terrenas and a number of fountains lying adjacent to the northern side. After the palace construction was completed, the famous Černín picture-gallery and other collections were placed there.
Černín got so heavily indebted due to the construction costs that they had to sell the palace and since 1777 it has not been permanently inhabited – it was used for cultural events, served as a hospital, shelter for the poor people, there were even flats for rent and workshops. In 1851 it became the property of the state; firstly the barracks were located there, since 1930´s it has been the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The interiors are equipped with period furniture and works of art (including a precious tapestry collection). Below the terrace there are ruins of a Christian burial site from the 10th-12th century, foundations of houses from the 16th century and also of a circular chapel of St. Matthew, built between 1727-32 by F. M. Kaňka and knocked down in 1791.