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Slavkov Castle (Château Austerlitz)
Slavkov, Czech Republic
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Slavkov Castle ranks among the oldest well-preserved manors in Moravia. In the first half of the 13th century, a Teutonic Knights Commandery was built in place of the present Baroque Castle; Slavkov is first mentioned as being in their possession in 1237. Parts of the residential building and circular stairway tower of the commandery are preserved under the northern tract of the Baroque castle and beneath one part of the castle courtyard. The central oval salon is an absolutely unique interior, designed and constructed by the architect Ignacio Valmaggini.
At present, almost the entire first floor of Slavkov Castle is accessible to the public, comprising parts of the once extensive Kaunitz gallery, the beginnings of which date to the first half of the 17th century. The biggest expansion of the family’s gallery of paintings occurred in the second half of the 18th century under Václav Antonín of Kaunitz, when the gallery contained not only copies but also original works by famous European masters.
Slavkov Castle is famous not only for its architecture but also because of its connection with the Battle of Three Emperors at Slavkov at the beginning of December 1805.
Several independent galleries are located in the castle, which host seasonal exhibitions and other art-related productions. For example, there are exhibitions on glass, ceramics and floristry; fine art, graphic art, photography, jewellery, textiles and lace, as well as seasonal exhibitions, such as that held at Christmas. Exhibitions of wine and wine-tasting are among many other events held at the Castle.
Guided tours with expert commentary make the otherwise inaccessible Museum depositories and collections of the History Museum in Slavkov u Brna, with its exquisite period furniture, accessible to visitors.