Excursion to Rundale Palace: Tour starts from Riga hotel reception with private guide and by car/minivan to Rundale Palace (entrance), which was built in the 18th century as the summer residence of the Duke of Courland, Ernest Johann von Biron and the palace was supposed to have 2 floors and 2 wings and additional servants' quarters, stables and a park starts in Riga hotel and after 1 hour drive enter in Rundale with its Palace. The construction was inaugurated in 1736 and as von Biron was favored by the Russian Czarina, Anna Ivanovna, he succeeded in engaging the Italian architect, Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the main architect of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.
Tour shows present 40 rooms on the first and second floors with original interior and furniture are open to the public, on the second floor the central part of the palace with the Duke's apartments, the Duchess and the other members of the family were living in the western wing, where restoration works are still being continued, the entire eastern wing was intended only for court representation, there you will find the impressive Throne Hall, the White Hall and the Small and Grand Gallery. According to history, the construction was interrupted in 1738 when von Biron and Rastrelli inaugurated the construction of an even larger residence in the Courland capital of Jelgava.
When Czarina Anna Ivanova died in 1740 von Biron was exiled and could return accompanied by Rastrelli only in 1763 when he was reinstated by the Russian empress Catherina the 2nd. The palace and the interior was therefore only completed in 1763-1768 and it was fairly devastated in the course of time and in 1972 a comprehensive restoration of the palace was started.
Meeting/pick-up point: Pick-up at hotel.
Duration: Six hours.
Start/opening time: At 10am.
Languages: English, German, Spanish, Italian, French and Russian.