Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Rondel, built in 1591-1598

The Rondel is part of the Renaissance additions to the Castle. This gorgeous music hall was built for entertaining the nobility and their guests on special occasions. There are several unique things about this structure....first, is the fact that the musicians played in the basement underneath the floor, and the sound from their instruments came up through the floor (see photo) and went directly to the top of the dome and then descended so everyone in the nobility could hear the music! Of course this was in the period where the musicians couldn't be seen by the nobility (they were commoners, after all!).

Then, to Neil's surprise, he ran across motifs of corn on the cob (Zea mays), which is a New World crop brought back to Europe by Columbus in 1492. The corn is at the top of these two motifs....reigning as king (somewhat symbolic of how this crop has become 'king corn' throughout the world...sometimes a good thing, sometimes the case of corn syrup).  At any rate, this means that a mere 100 years after Columbus returned from the New World, corn was already integrated into the Bohemian culture and became ensconced in the art along with the Old World fruits.  We'll have to tell Dr. Jules Janich (Purdue University) about this historic find (he's researched this topic!). The guide was quite surprised when I pointed this out.

We couldn't take pictures in the rest of the Renaissance Tour or of the 1900s tour either.  But, we did see a pianoforte that Mozart played on and a bed that belonged the Napoleon!  Incredible!


  1. A pianoforte that Mozart played? That's just amazing! I'm proud to be a commoner -- see you in the basement!

  2. I was incredible! Too bad we couldn't take a picture of it.
    Yes, always proud to be a commoner in the basement.....much cooler there on hot days!