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The Foundation of the Island Complex

The supposed founder of the complex was Franz Cardinal Dietrichstein, who did so after taking over the Mikulov family estate following his brother Maxmilian’s death in 1611. A preserved copy of the Mikulov estate land register from 1629 mentions Portz in more than one place. The previous land registers do not know any manor on Portz. According to the 1629 land register, by the first third of the 17th century the island estate included a summer house (Lusthaus), an ornamental garden or a “paradise of pleasure” (Lustgarten) with art objects arranged within it, a fruit and kitchen garden and an ice cellar (Eisgrube). The land register from 1655, made out after the death of Franz’ nephew, Maxmilian II of Dietrichstein, recorded that “there are more parks on Portz planted with flowers and various trees, and also a mansion called Lusthaus, with gardens situated in front of it“.

Franz Cardinal Dietrichstein

Franz Cardinal Dietrichstein is a widely known figure of central European history in the early modern times. He would purposefully bring to Moravia the period concepts of Italian Recatholization culture that he was intimately familiar with. As a clergyman, the Prince initiated the building of several works of religious architecture in Mikulov, inter alia Loreta and the Way of the Cross on the Sacred Mound. The walled summer residence complex, complemented by other buildings and majestic gardens, was to display the grandeur and majesty of its builder, the Prince, moving in the circles of high clerical and secular dignitaries of the Catholic world. Source: Austrian National Library, inv. no. PORT_00000091_02.