Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Czech Embassy Building in Vienna

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: August 4, 2022; 17:59 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Czech Embassy building in Vienna has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. Read the captivating story of this beautiful building.

The Czech Embassy in Vienna at Penzinger Straße 11-13. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons, Gugerell, CC0

The Czech Embassy in Vienna resides in Palais Cumberland in the west of Vienna. The Palais is a beautiful building that regularly captivates visitors. The building is bursting with surprises and has an extensive history.

Penzinger Strasse itself, where the property is located, has always been an important part of the road network that brought visitors to Vienna from all over Europe. The streetscape was initially dominated by extensive estates, vineyards and fields.

It was not until 1744 that the area was massively upgraded, after the former Schönbrunn hunting lodge was converted into the imperial summer residence. Living there was part of the "good manners".

In 1745, Emanuel Teles de Silva, who came to the Viennese court from Lisbon in 1730 and later became court architect, had a palace built on the site of today's Czech Embassy. Da Silva-Tarouca was considered a confidant of the empress, her "mentor" to a certain extent; he was one of the few followers who were allowed to criticise the empress.

Maria Theresa, for her part, expressed interest in the building director's estate and Silva-Tarouca had no choice but to sell his residence to the Crown. This became the residence of Prince Charles of Lorraine a little later.

The Silva family built a new palace next door at number 11. House number 13 next door housed imperial hunters who went hunting in the area of today's Lainzer Tiergarten from 1747 to 1781.

In 1866 King George V, 2nd Duke of Cumberland, came to Vienna. Here he acquired both buildings (house numbers 9 and 11) in 1868. In addition, the imperial hunter's house at number 13 was purchased and converted into a residence for exiles.

In 1878, the blind King George V of Hanover died in Paris and was buried in London. Even before his father's death, his son Ernst August, 3rd Duke of Cumberland had the magnificent Cumberland Castle built as an exile residence in Gmunden on the Traunsee in the neo-Gothic style fashionable at the time.

After the end of the First World War and the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy, the Embassy of the Czechoslovak Republic moved into the building at numbers 11-13 in 1921. Today it is the seat of the Embassy of the Czech Republic. In 1940, the Max Reinhardt Seminar, the famous drama school, moved into the part of the palace with house number 9.

Embassy of the Czech Republic