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Rundāle Palace is one of the two major baroque palaces built for the Dukes of Courland in what is now Latvia, the other being Jelgava Palace. The palace was built in two periods, from 1736 until 1740 and from 1764 until 1768. It is situated at Pilsrundāle, 12 km west of Bauska.
The palace and its garden are among the top 10 destinations to visit in Latvia.
We have been heading to Rundāle once in a while, when in Latvia, preferably in Summer.
Rundala palace and its garden
In 1735 Duke of Courland Ernst Johann von Biron bought land in Rundāle with an old medieval castle in the territory of a planned summer residence. The old castle was demolished and construction after the design of Bartolomeo Rastrelli started in 1736.
Construction proceeded slowly because part of the materials and resources were transferred to the construction of Jelgava Palace, a project which was more important for the duke. Following Biron's fall from grace in 1740, the palace stood unfinished and empty until 1762 when Biron returned from his exile.
Under the supervision of Rastrelli its construction was finished in 1768. Johann Michael Graff produced lavish stucco decorations for the palace during this time. Ernst Johann von Biron loved the palace and moved there already in 1768. He often visited palace and spent summers there until his death in 1772. Son of an Ernst Johann duke Peter von Biron visited palace only a few times because unlike his father he preferred to spend summers in his Vircava manor.
Garden at Rundale place
The garden is really impressive. It can compete to the famous Keukenhof tulip fields in the Netherlands.
The palace is one of the major tourist destinations in Latvia. It is also used for the accommodation of notable guests, such as the leaders of foreign nations. The palace and the surrounding gardens are now a museum