Classicism and the Empire style

Kynžvart Chateau
13. 2. 2014

Symmetry. Clean, simple lines. Antique motifs. Beauty, harmony, the ideal. All these are hallmarks of the Classicist and Empire styles.

Enter a dream world, the endless search for the ideal! Our forebears found this ideal in the form of Classicism and the Empire style. These sober, simple styles, preferring strict symmetry, were the exact opposite of the restless, curvy Baroque. They were applied in urban design and the architecture of newly-built theatres and spas.

Chateaux in the Antique style

Harmony, clean beauty and the use of motifs from ancient Greece and Rome are the key features of Classicism and Empire. Do they seem too simple, too austere? Then go and take a look at Kačina Chateau near Kutná Hora and you’ll change your mind! This grandly laid-out chateau, the most beautiful Empire chateau in the Czech Republic, is designed in the form of a 227 m long crescent. The main building is joined to two symmetrical, single-storey wings with colonnades and pavilions. Similar ideals were held by the architects who designed Kynžvart Chateau, a Viennese-style Classicist palace built on the orders of the famous Chancellor Metternich. In the chateau you will see the famous Cabinet of Curiosities, and the chateau gardens boast several ponds, a Neo-Gothic chapel, a gazebo with a view and a number of statues. You can also go for a round of golf.

The Garden of Europe and inch-perfect towns

Classicism soon became the style of choice for normal urban buildings; in fact, some towns or districts were designed purely in this style. Worth a look are the Estates Theatre in Prague and Františkovy Lázně, which has, thanks to its Classicist architecture and white and yellow tones, retained the magic and atmosphere of an old-time spa centre! A special atmosphere can be experienced in the towns of Terezín and Josefov, with their regular network of streets and squares, both constructed according to similar designs. For a true experience, take a walk around the Garden of Europe, the Lednice-Valtice Complex and its small Romantic buildings, spread across the landscape.

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