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Discover the Beauty of Latvia’s Rundāle Palace
The Baroque-styled palace in Rundāle was built for the Dukes of Courland, now Latvia, between 1736 and 1768. It was designed by Russian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, recognized for his late Baroque style, featured in his designs for the Winter Palace and Catherine Palace in Russia and Latvia’s own Jelgava Palace which was being built in parallel with Rundāle Palace.
The palace has not been maintaining its current state ever since it was built. It has experienced a series of damages and changes in its function until the state-funded restoration works on the palace started in 1992 and lasted for 23 years, to be finished in 2015.

The series of damages, the palace has suffered from, started with its partial burning in 1919 during the Latvian war of independence. The palace was then rehabilitated and made a property of the Ministry of Agriculture. The property was later shared with Ministry of Education, as it was partially occupied by the local school, and used as a residence for Latvian military veterans. In 1933, the palace was completely transformed into a school, and it remained that way, even after suffering some serious destruction in World War II. The talk about the restoration of the palace started in 1965, and the palace was officially turned into a museum in 1972, but it was not until 1992 that the restoration works, actually, began.

The palace is a beautiful example of the 18th century late baroque architecture. The heavy detailed ornaments, sometimes in gold, and the distinct color palette visible on the wallpaper, furniture, and ceiling art takes you back to the time of the lord and ladies, royal balls, powdered wigs, and extravagant gowns.

Image: Vytautas

The palace’s interior was not the only restored part. The formal French Garden, on the way to its main gates, was replanted in place of the outdoor playground that belonging to the school that was once there. So, now take your virtual tour inside the Rundāle Palace and live the past at its best.

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