Rundale Palace is a baroque palace complex in Latvia. Located 12 km north-west of the town of Bauska in the village of Pilsrundale. The Rundale Palace was built according to the project of F.B. Rastrelli as the summer residence of the Duke of Courland Biron.
The first stone was laid May 24, 1736. In 1740 Biron was arrested and exiled, he returned to Courland only in 1763. Then, by 1768, Rastrelli completed the interior decoration of the premises.
The ensemble of the palace consists of the palace itself with stables and other outbuildings to which adjoins the French garden of 10 hectares, closed on all sides by a canal, behind it extends a hunting park (34 hectares). On two floors of the palace suite there are 138 rooms. The south side of the central building is occupied by the grand duke’s apartments, on the north side are his private living rooms. In the eastern building there are the main halls – the Golden Hall, the former Throne Room and the White Hall, once the Dance Hall, connected by the Grand Gallery. It is noteworthy that in the brickwork of the palace Rastrelli used a brick of unusually large dimensions, which was produced at a nearby factory. Some of these bricks were transported to St. Petersburg and used for the construction of Strelna Palace.
Rundale Palace after Biron:
After the accession of Courland to the Russian Empire in 1795, the palace was granted to the favorite of Empress Zubov. After the death of the latter, his young widow, Fyokla Valentinovna, married Count Andrei Shuvalov. The palace was the property of the princes Shuvalov until 1920, when as a result of the agrarian reform in the Republic of Latvia the Shuvalov counts lost their rights to the Rundale Manor.
Rundale Palace suffered during the war between Russia and Napoleon in 1812, but in a particularly disastrous state it was in 1919 when it was defeated by soldiers of the adventurer Bermont-Avalov. In 1933 the palace was transferred to the State Historical Museum, which began restoration of the palace complex. After the Second World War, the halls had a grain depot, and the building itself, inhabited by residents, was in a deplorable state. In 1972, restoration work began, and continues to this day.
Nowadays Rundale Palace is one of the most famous sights of Latvia. The Rundale Palace and the adjacent garden are a museum. The palace is also used for the reception of high-ranking foreign guests by the President of Latvia.