The international service of Czech Radio 
27-10-2020, 01:06 UTC

A Czech nobleman and the supreme commander of the army of Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand II, Wallenstein was also a great tradesman, strategist and politician. He was also a patron of the arts and architecture, as well as a sponsor of charities. An orphan in childhood, Wallenstein later displayed ambitions and a thirst for power which saw him become one of the most influential figures in Europe during the period of the Thirty Years' War.

Wallenstein Palace in Prague

Albrecht of Wallenstein had this palace complex built in Prague in the years 1623 - 1630. The site includes famous gardens and the Wallenstein Riding School. The area of the palace is 340 metres in length and 172 metres at its widest. Unique statues, groups of statues, and fountains are found in the gardens. The original statues were plundered by Swedish forces in 1648 and were later replaced by copies. On May 9th 2003, the EU awarded the Czech Senate - responsible for the palace and palace grounds - the Europa Nostra award for the site's renovation.

Wallenstein Towns

In 1625 Albrecht of Wallenstein became the supreme commander of the Imperial Army and was named Duke of Frydlant. Under his rule the Frydlant region became a duchy - exclusive of nobility land records, becoming in effect a state-within-a-state. The region was not burdened by taxes and was entitled terra felix, or "fortunate land". The symbol of the Duchy of Frydlant was a crowned golden eagle with golden armor on a red field.

Jicin was the central town of the Frydlant duchy. Albrecht of Wallenstein planned to found a bishopric there as well as a university and local parliament. In 1628 the town gained the right to mint its own coins as well as to name nobility. Wallenstein also invited the Jesuits to found a college there. To this day the town's square is also the site of the commander's palace.

Albrecht of Wallenstein was stripped of his command of the imperial army in 1634 and branded a traitor. He traveled to Cheb with the aim of reaching an agreement with the Swedes, but was murdered along with his compatriots on February 25th, 1634. Wallenstein's officers were murdered at the castle in Cheb, while the leader himself was stabbed in his sleep at the Pachelbel House by Irish officer Walter Deveroux.

A number of cultural events as well as symposia were being held in so-called 'Wallenstein towns' in 2007 in connection with the upcoming anniversary of the nobleman's birth. The main event was an extensive exhibition at the site of the Wallenstein Riding School on the grounds of the Czech Senate. The exhibition was the result of cooperation between the National Museum and the Military History Institute: it offered, for the first time a new perspective on Wallenstein, including never-before publicly viewed pieces from his period. The show also included a rich look at the Thirty Years' War, as well as a look at life and culture in the Czech lands during this period. The only such exhibition dedicated to Albrecht of Wallenstein in the past was held in 1934 in the Wallenstein Riding School and palace representational rooms, on the 300th anniversary of his death.

Photogallery of the exhibition

The ceremonial opening of the exhibition 'Albrecht of Wallenstein and his Era'

Wallenstein's horoscope
A unique feature of the exhibition was the Wallenstein horoscope, which was recently discovered at the National Museum. The horoscope itself was relatively well-known and had been reproduced in various publications. However, nobody had any idea that it belonged to Wallenstein himself. Just recently museum staff noticed that it featured Wallenstein's date of birth.