The premises of the Bishop´s Courtyard are first mentioned in 1306 when it is stated that the dwelling of the provost of the Brno chapter is to be found on the slope below the St. Peter and Paul Church. In 1588, bishop Stanislav II. Pavlovský (1579–1599) bought the house. Since then the place has been called Bishop´s Courtyard. The oldest parts of the Bishop´s Courtyard are buildings in the north-western corner, from the prismatic tower to the break in the facade of the western wing. The bishop had the complex rebuilt in the new style by Brno architect Antonio Gabri († 1593), however the building was completed only under the bishop Franz, Prince of Dietrichstein (1599–1636). In 1803, the project of the reorganisation of the scientific work in Moravia brought along the idea of the foundation of a „land museum“ in Brno. The intention at the roots of which stood an eminent personality of Moravian spiritual life of the early 19th century, Christian Carl André (1763–1831), was supported by the authority of enlightened Moravian aristocrats, representatives of the Agricultural Society, old-count Franz Hugo Salm-Reifferscheidt (1776–1836), count Joseph Auersperg (1767–1829) and the Moravian-Silesian governor count Anton Friedrich Mitrovski (1770–1842). The creation of a new museum in Brno got preciser shape in 1816 and as soon as on 29 July 1817 emperor Franz I approved the foundation of the museum (and granted it with his name). He also confirmed the narrow legal connection of the new museum to the Agricultural Society the member of which Mendel later became. Soon after the foundation of the museum, a solid basis for further scientific research and documentation of natural resources of the country and later of its history was established in Brno. Today, the Bishop´s Courtyard is the core of the exhibitions of the Natural History Museum of the Moravian Museum and has been renovated for this purpose. Lapidarium in the Bishop´s Courtyard The courtyard was formerly used as lapidarium, too. Several cartouches originating from demolished Brno houses and grave stones have been set in the parapet of the western arcade. Mercur Fountain The sculptural group in the middle of the Bishop´s Courtyard was situated on the nám. Svobody square until 1858. Its author was the painter, sculptor, medailleur and engraver working mostly in Vienna and Brno, Ignaz Johann Bendl († around 1730). The figures of ancient gods (Mercur, Neptun, Vulcan and Ceres) were created in 1693–1699 and represent elements constituting the Earth according to Aristoteles. Bendl is also the author of the Parnas Fountain at the Cabbage Market in Brno. D’Elvert Wing The building (the construction of which started in 1883) enclosed the Bishop´s Courtyard in the direction of the fortification and its last phase implemented in 1888-1889 gave the place its today shape. The festive handover event, when the museum became a „land museum“ on 11 January 1900, deprived the Moravian Museum of rich collections of manuscripts and archive materials that were taken over by the Moravian Archive; on the other hand the Museum got new exhibition premises in the Dietrichstein Palace next door in 1911 (fully used for museum purposes since 1923). Balcony portal with Atlantes Primitively it was part of the demolished Mitrovský Palace at the corner of the nám. Svobody square and Běhounská street; it comes from the first half of the 18th century. Today it is part of the so called d’Elvert Wing.