Despite it being a typical arranged marriage, Anne Jagiellon’s husband King Ferdinand I loved her passionately and had a summer palace built for her on the eastern end of the Royal Garden at Prague Castle: Queen Anne’s Summer Palace.
The building is often called the Belvedere, which is not the correct designation. The royal summer palace is considered to be the most beautiful and purest luxurious renaissance building outside of Italy.
Construction of the summer palace started in 1538 based on a project by Paolo della Stella. Because of the fire at Prague Castle which erupted three years later, construction had to be postponed until 1556. Paolo was no longer alive at the time, so the summer palace was completed based on a design by architect Boniface Wohlmut.
What is saddest about the story, however, is that not even the intended owner of this magnificent building lived to see it completed. Queen Anne, who was supposed to delight in this luxurious summer palace, died in 1547. Not even King Ferdinand enjoyed the palace for long: he died within a year of its completion.
This unique, romantic building was also occupied by the successor to the throne Rudolf II, who housed several items from his luxurious art collections inside. In 1648, the lavishly furnished rooms were looted by the Swedes and some of the masterpieces now rest in the Louvre in Paris.
The building now serves for exhibition purposes and is a beautiful site, often the destination of romantic walks. The unique singing fountain also plays a part in this. The drops of water falling into the bronze basic create an extraordinary sound similar to quiet singing. But legend has it that it is a water fairy imprisoned in the metal by artist Tomáš Jaroš.