Yesterday I told you about Duke of Courland Ernst Johann von Biron primary residence at Jelgava Palace and how it was turned into a university. Well today I want to talk about the much better Rundale Palace, which was the summer residence he started in 1735. Unlucky for him it took until 1768 to complete because he was exiled to Siberia for a couple decades.
When the palace was absorbed by the Russian Empire in 1795, Catherine the Great presented the palace to Count Valerian Zubov, the youngest brother of her lover and he spent his declining years there. His young bride remarried Count Shuvalov and whose family it remained until the German occupation in World War I when the German army established a hospital and a commandant’s office there. As with Jelgava Palace, Rundale Palace was turned into a school after the establishment of the Republic of Latvia in 1920 and it stayed there until 1978.
Rundale Palace has now been completely restored and is an absolute marvel to visit. I was lucky and arrived right when it opened, so I was the first person in each of the amazing rooms. Just like most palaces, you move from room to room and admire the architecture and decorations along with the furnishings.
The two things that impressed me the most was the lavish stucco decorations in many of the rooms and the formal garden outside. The garden had a fountain in its center and radiating back from there it was broken up into 20 different sections with a different feature for each. The rose garden was amazing and was the outdoor theater.
Rundale Palace is definitely a must see when you visit Latvia!!!!!