Castles and ch창teaux
Castles and chĂ˘teaux The Czech Republic comprises three historical lands â€“ Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia â€“ which from time immemorial were at the crossroads of trade routes. This role was predetermined by its location in the heart of Europe. It is if the Czech lands were destined to perform the role of a bridge between East and West, between Germanic and Slavic peoples. The influences of both have mixed here for a millennium and have created a unique culture. The trade routes brought to the Czech lands not only goods but also a wide variety of cultural influences and ideas. Many of them became absorbed and integrated, while others merged with local traditions and gave rise to new ones. In this land protected by a ring of border mountains and forests, the Czech nation was born in the course of the 10th and 11th centuries. In order to resist invasions by foreign forces and internal provincial powers, it needed to have a foundation of centralized power. Thus, castles began appearing in the 12th cen-
A millennium of Czech history has produced some two thousand castles, chĂ˘teaux, fortresses â€“ and their ruins.
tury, first for sovereigns and then also for the nobility. Romanesque and, later, Gothic castles were not only able bases of power but also administrative centres and guaranteed protection for local inhabitants as well as merchants and pilgrims passing through. The mixture of cultural influences in the Czech lands resulted in a great diversity of architectural expression, which has often been preserved to this day. In remote areas, mainly near the borders, the castles generally remained isolated, while further inland, villages and fortified towns grew up around the castles. The golden age for castles was in the 13th and 14th centuries, when the Gothic style washed over the Czech lands and the Bohemian kings of the PĹ™emyslid and Luxembourg dynasties helped to shape the destiny of Europe.
The 16th century ushered in the Renaissance, which had tentatively begun appearing at the end of the previous century. The new outlook on the world was reflected most lastingly in architecture. Mighty fortresses were replaced by elegant châteaux, which in many cases forwent an elevated location on a hill or rock in favour of placement near the daily life of a town or on flatlands along a river. It was only in the Baroque period of the 17th and 18th centuries that the Czech and Moravian landscape got its indelible character. The dynamics of the new style had a great influence on the Czech lands. At nearly every step, you can encounter a church, chapel or village house in this style. Not only many châteaux of the high aristocracy but also smaller residences of the lower nobility were built in the Baroque style. Gardens make up a special chapter of Baroque architecture. The 19th century also contributed significantly to the treasury of Czech cultural heritage. Empire, Classicist and historicizing styles were employed in a number of residences, including both châteaux and castles. Castles were seemingly rediscovered in the second half of the 19th century, and many were altered in the Gothic Revival style. Even if these styles did not affect the outward appearances of castles and châteaux, their influence is certainly apparent in the interiors. The progressive 19th century already placed great emphasis on comfortable living, which incorporated modern amenities. A millennium of Czech history has produced some two thousand castles, châteaux, fortresses – and their ruins. Around one-tenth of them are open to the public from April to October (some of them all year round). The tours, usually lead by knowledgeable guides, present beautifully furnished interiors with superb collections, lookout towers with breathtaking views, mysterious cellars, and beautiful gardens, parks and game reserves. Many of these places hold historical celebrations and markets, evening tours, theatre performances and concerts, and many historical spaces can be rented for private events – such as for wedding ceremonies.
Bečov nad Teplou
Náměstí 5. května 13, Bečov n. Teplou
At the foot of a castle from the first half of the 14th century, a Baroque palace was built in the early 18th century. The 18th- and 19-century interiors, of which the library and St Peter’s Chapel stand out, are a testament to the noble lifestyle of the time. Inside the château the unique Shrine of St Maurus is on display, a 13th-century Romanesque relic of European significance.
Zámek 1, Bechyně Petr Vok of Rosenberg (Rožmberk in Czech) had a royal castle from the 13th century rebuilt into a Renaissance residential palace after 1569. Today’s appearance dates to the 18th century, when it belonged to the Paar family.
mini-zoo, Museum of Ceramics
Some of the Renaissance interiors are preserved, as are the frescoes on the courtyard façade. You can visit a vaulted hall whose central pillar has the form of a tree with branches, the courtroom, the armoury, and the Vok Wedding Hall with wall paintings from the late 16th century.
Benešov n. Ploučnicí
exhibition of Gothic and Renaissance sculpture
www.zamek-benesov.cz Zámecká 51, Benešov n. Ploučnicí
Two adjacent residences originated in the first half of the 16th century when the Salhausen family rebuilt an old Gothic castle and in its close proximity had a new château built with side gables in the shape of an ogee arch. The châteaux have been preserved in their original Renaissance form. You can tour the residential rooms, with period furniture, coffered ceilings and tile stoves.
www.hrad-bezdez.eu Státní hrad Bezděz, Doksy
This early Gothic castle from the 13th century, which survives as a ruin, was built by Czech King Přemysl Otakar II. After the king’s death, Bezděz became a prison for his wife and their son Wenceslas II, the heir to the throne. Its atmosphere was inspirational and became a place of pilgrimage for artists in the 19th century. The tour takes you through the burgrave’s palace and the royal palace with its unique chapel; there is an excellent view of the surrounding countryside from the Great Tower.
Státní hrad Bítov, Uherčice This castle was built in the 11th century as a pillar of royal power and as part of the defences along the Moravian-Austrian border. Later, it came into the possession of important noble families. It was used as a family residence until modern times. The interiors, with Gothic Revival decoration, have period furnishings, but the historical zoological collection and a collection of taxidermied dogs draw the most attention.
You can view the residential rooms, the armoury, the kitchen and the Church of the Virgin Mary on the castle grounds. In the cellars of the former brewery there is an exposition of woodland and water spirits for younger visitors. There is also a wine shop and porcelain shop.
www.zamek-blatna.cz Na Příkopech 320, Blatná This late Gothic-Renaissance château dates back to the 13th century. In the 15th and 16th centuries it was transformed into the splendid seat of the family of the powerful Lords of Rožmitál. The three-storey palace from the early 16th century is the work of the royal architect Benedikt Ried. Blatná has been owned by the Hildprandt family since 1798.
café, carriage rides
You can view the rich family collections here. In the Green Sitting Room, there are preserved Gothic-Renaissance wall paintings with coats of arms of the Czech nobility. You will also visit the Hunters’ Salon with hunting trophies, an Empire-style salon and the family gallery. The château is surrounded by an English park.
Hradní 6, Boskovice This ruined Baroque monastery was rebuilt in 1819–1826 into an Empire-style château, which became the family residence of the Dietrichsteins.
The reception hall, salons, library and private rooms have their original furnishings and décor. castle ruin
hot-air balloon festival at the end of August
Státní hrad Bouzov, Bouzov
Bouzov, a Gothic castle from the 14th century, was bought in 1696 by the Teutonic Knights. Today’s appearance is the result of a reconstruction in 1895–1910 in the Romantic style. It was initiated by the Habsburg Archduke Eugen of Austria, a grand master of the order. Most of the furnishings come from the collections of the archduke and the order or were newly constructed. The castle has been the setting for several dozen films and fairy tales.
In the chapel with a Gothic altar are the tombs of masters of the order from the years 1395–1515. A tour presents the princely rooms, the Knights’ Hall and the sumptuous spiral staircase.
Brandýs nad Labem
www.brandysko.cz Plantáž 8/402, Brandýs n. Labem
This Gothic castle came into royal hands in 1547. It was converted into a Renaissance château with a game reserve and park, and served as a hunting lodge. Before 1914, the future AustroHungarian Emperor Charles I and his wife, Zita of Bourbon-Parma, lived here. The Renaissance sgraffiti on the façade of the château has been preserved. Visitors may view the imperial rooms, the Renaissance halls, the chapel, the hunters’ hall and the library.
www.zamek-breznice.cz Zámecký obvod 24, Březnice
Imperial Vice-Chancellor Jiří of Lokšany had this Gothic stronghold from the 13th century rebuilt into a Renaissance manor in 1547. In 1557 it was the site of the secret marriage between Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol and Philippine Welser, who then lived in Březnice. The library (from 1558) with a painted ceiling, wall paintings and the original cabinets was probably made for Philippine. In the large dining hall there is a tile stove from 1627, and in the Knights’ Hall the coffered ceiling is preserved.
Zámecké náměstí 7, Bruntál
picture gallery, café, carriage rides in the park (in summer)
The château has an unusual layout of a pieshaped wedge. A Late Baroque reconstruction in the years 1766–1769 preserved interesting Renaissance features such as arcades in the courtyard. Newer modifications affected the interior and park more. In the Renaissance rooms are exhibitions of the regional museum. Visitors may view 20 representational halls on the first floor with Rococo decorations and furnishings. The rich collections include an armoury and a picture gallery.
www.bucovice-zamek.cz Zámek 1, Bučovice
This château was built in the late 16th century in the style of the Italian late Renaissance. The four-wing palace set in a formal garden served as a noble residence for only one century, and it is preserved in its original form. The courtyard is surrounded by a three-storey arcade, and the interior is famous for its unique Hare Room with wall paintings. You will find rich Mannerist decoration in the Emperor’s Room, the Venus Hall, the Hall of the Senses and the Bird Hall.
www.hrad-buchlov.cz Polesí 418, Buchlovice The castle was built in the 13th century as a stronghold near the Moravian-Hungarian border. The last owners of Buchlov, the Berchtold family from Uherčice, established a museum here and opened the castle to the public in the first half of the 19th century.
cultural events throughout the year, castle pub
You will see an open-hearth kitchen (or “black kitchen”), Gothic representational halls and residential rooms from the 19th century. Included on the tour are the natural history and Egyptology collections of the Berchtold family, an armoury, and a view from the castle tower.
www.zamek-buchlovice.cz Zámek Buchlovice, Buchlovice
This château in the style of an Italian Baroque garden villa was built around 1700. In the early 20th century it was the residence of Count Leopold Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, and became a place for informal diplomacy.
floral exhibition, zoo and first-aid station
You can view the salons and private rooms with their rich collections and furnishings. The castle nursery has a collection of 1 200 fuchsia varieties.
www.zamek-castolovice.cz Masarykova 1, Častolovice This water fortress from the 13th century was later rebuilt into a Renaissance château. The façade of the courtyard is decorated with very valuable paintings from the early 17th century. In 1694, Častolovice became the seat of the Sternberg family. Modifications in the early 20th century gave the château its current appearance.
restaurant, café, guest house, mini zoo, playground
Private and representational rooms have period furniture. The Knights’ Hall with its Renaissance ceiling is one of the largest in the Czech Republic.
www.zamek-cervenalhota.eu Červená Lhota 1, Kardašova Řečice
This Gothic fortress on an island in the middle of a pond was converted in the 16th century into a Renaissance château. It was later modified, but in the early 20th century it was returned to its Renaissance appearance. You can visit the representational, private and guest rooms of the last owners, dating to the first half of the 20th century. There is a Renaissance church with the original paintings and ceiling in the château park.
www.zamek-ceskykrumlov.eu Zámek 59, Český Krumlov
Český Krumlov UNESCO
+ Five-Petal Rose Festival, music festivals, revolving amphitheatre
The castle was established around 1250 by the Lords of Krumlov; in 1302 it was inherited by their relatives, the Lords of Rosenberg (Rožmberk in Czech), who then lived here for 300 years. The castle, which was gradually rebuilt into a château, has retained a large part of its Gothic-Renaissance appearance, just like the town itself. In the 16th century, the Rosenbergs turned Krumlov into a stately Renaissance residence. Its cylindrical Gothic tower, a dominant feature of the city, also got a new appearance. In the 17th century, the domain moved in the hands of the Eggenberg family, and since 1719 it has belonged to their relatives, the Princes of Schwarzenberg. These families all left their marks on the interiors you see today and also built a Baroque garden and a unique theatre. Several tour circuits present the Renaissance-style Rosenberg residential complex with wall paintings, the Baroque and Classicist salons of the Schwarzenbergs, an Eggenberg-era room with the Golden Coach from 1638, and the famous Masquerade Hall from 1748. From the cylindrical tower there is a splendid view of the city. The original Baroque theatre can be seen only during favourable weather.
www.hradceskysternberk.cz Hrad Český Šternberk, Český Šternberk Since its establishment around the year 1241, the castle has belonged to the Sternberg family (Šternberk in Czech), one of the leading Czech noble families. It appears to be a medieval fortress, but the interiors are from the Baroque and Empire periods. The chapel and the main Knights’ Hall have rich stucco decoration. The residential rooms contain the family collections of historical furniture, copperplate engravings, hunting weapons and portraits.
www.zamek-dacice.eu Havlíčkovo náměstí 85/I, Dačice This originally Renaissance château was given its current Empire-style appearance in the early 19th century by the Dalberg family. The Renaissance period is recalled by the glazed arcades in the courtyard and the vaulting of some rooms.
A staircase – an Empire-style masterpiece – leads to the first floor rooms with their original furnishings. Notable are the Hall of Mirrors and the French Salon, as well as the Art Nouveau Great Library and the Empire-style Ballroom.
www.zamekdobris.cz Zámek Dobříš, Dobříš
Dobříš Château emerged from modifications made in 1745–1765 to an earlier residence. It was inspired by French Rococo and still retains this character, even in the interiors, which are decorated with stucco and frescoes.
exhibition of historical motorcycles, hotel
You can view both the private rooms and rooms used for social occasions and also the main representational room, the Hall of Mirrors. The French garden spreads over five terraces and has rich sculptural decoration.
www.zamek-duchcov.cz Náměstí Republiky 9, Duchcov
At the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, an older château was given a Baroque appearance, and then in 1812–1818 the façades were updated to the Classicist style. The residence of the Wallenstein noble family (Valdštejn in Czech), Duchov Château is noted in the history books because Giacomo Casanova spent the last 13 years of his life here as a librarian,. You can view the Ancestral Gallery in the Wallenstein Hall and also an exhibition of historical furniture, the billiard room, the library, and Casanova’s quarters.
www.zamek-frydlant.cz Zámecká 4001, Frýdlant v Čechách This originally Gothic castle was expanded by the Redern family in the 16th century into a Renaissance château with sgraffiti on its façade. It later became the residence of Albrecht of Wallenstein, the supreme commander of the Habsburg forces in the Thirty Years’ War. After 1634, Frýdlant was claimed by the Clam-Gallas family, who in 1801 opened it to the public as the first “castle museum” in Central Europe.
The castle contains the museum’s collections from 1801, and in the château you can see the Heraldry Hall, the Blue Salon, the Knights’ Hall, St Anne’s Chapel and a valuable display of arms.
Státní hrad Grabštejn, Hrádek nad Nisou
Grabštejn has been standing since the 13th century near the place where the borders of the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany meet. In the 16th century, it was rebuilt into a Renaissance château. Its complex architectural development over the following centuries, when it belonged to the Clam-Gallas family, resulted in its appearance as a comfortable residence. You can view the Gothic cellars, the interiors with their original furnishings, the unique Renaissance-era St Barbara’s Chapel, and a lookout tower with a view of three countries.
symposium of artistic blacksmiths
Hrad Helfštýn, Týn nad Bečvou This strategic fortress from the 13th century, today a ruin, was modified many times up until the 17th century. At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, a late Gothic-Renaissance reconstruction created a massive fortress with a large outer ward, ramparts with bastions, a system of towers, and six gates. The castle also performed an important function during the Thirty Years’ War, but afterwards it was abandoned. On the last weekend in August for the past 30 years, artistic blacksmiths come to the castle from all over Europe for the Hefaiston symposium.
Hluboká nad Vltavou
www.zamek-hluboka.eu Bezručova 142, Hluboká n. Vltavou
Reconstruction of Hluboká Château was inspired by English residences and was carried out between 1840 and 1871 by Prince Johann Adolf II of Schwarzenberg, giving rise to a princely seat and a comfortable family residence with an English park.
zoo, Ohrada hunting lodge, hotel
exposition on the life of the Japanese-born Countess Mitsuko Coudenhove-Kalergi
You can view the original luxurious interiors including Princess Eleonore’s suite, representational salons, the Great Dining Hall, the library, the armoury, the private suites of family members, and the kitchen. The 52-metre-high main tower offers a view of the surrounding countryside.
Náměstí Republiky 1, Horšovský Týn This castle, the luxurious residence of the Prague bishop, was built in the 13th century. In 1547 it burnt down and the owner at that time, Jan of Lobkowicz, had it converted into a Renaissance residence. It retains this form to the present day. The most valuable part of the castle’s interior is the early-Gothic pontifical chapel, an architectural highlight of the period. In the castle, can view the residential rooms, the banquet hall and a ceremonial hall; in the adjacent château, you can see the salons, the ballroom, the Knights’ Hall with a gallery of Bohemian rulers, and the Heraldry Hall with Renaissance paintings.
Vrbnovská 22, Hořovice This Baroque château in the shape of the letter H was built at the turn of the 17th and 18 centuries. Later, it was surrounded by a garden with a Sun Gate entrance. The current appearance is from the 19th and early 20th centuries, when it was converted into the seat of the princely Hanau family.
In addition to the château rooms, library, salons, game room and dining hall, you can also see an exhibition of games and toys of the young aristocrats and a display of music boxes and jukeboxes from the 18th to 20th century. In the château cellars there is an exhibition of mysterious beings.
www.zamek-hradec.cz Mestečko 2, Hradec nad Moravicí
Hradec n. Moravicí
The château stands on the site of a royal castle from the 13th century. From 1778–1945 it was owned by the princely Lichnowský family, who after a fire in 1796 gave the château its current Classicist appearance. The Lichnowskýs were friends and patrons of Ludwig van Beethoven and later Franz Liszt, who likewise stayed at Hradec. An exhibition commemorates their visits. A tour includes a visit of period salons, the Heraldry Hall, the Beethoven Hall, the château chapel and the library.
Správa zámku Hrádek u Nechanic, Nechanice
Beethoven’s Hradec Music Festival
Hrádek u Nechanic
This château was built in the English Romantic Gothic style between 1841 and 1857 for František Arnošt, the count of Harrach. The inspiration by English aristocratic residences is also evident in the interiors. It has a park with a game reserve and pheasantry. The representational rooms, the guest rooms and the family’s rooms convey a sense of the aristocratic lifestyle in the second half of the 19th century.
www.hruby-rohozec.eu Státní zámek Hrubý Rohozec, Turnov Originally a Gothic castle, it was gradually modified and rebuilt into a château. In 1628 it was bought by the Counts of Des Fours, who in the 19th and 20th centuries gave the château its current appearance.
Tours of the château present a picture of the life of the nobility in the 1930s. You can view rooms including the library, salons, the billiard room, the dining hall in the style of a romantic Knights’ Hall, the private suites of the count and countess, the children’s rooms, and the rooms for the staff.
www.janackovy-hukvaldy.cz Hrad Hukvaldy, Hukvaldy Hukvaldy Castle, today a ruin, dates back to the 13th century. The massive unimpregnable fortress succumbed to fire 1762. Five castle gates lead to the Gothic-Renaissance palace. The composer Leoš Janáček, a local native, liked to sit on the Baroque fortifications, which serve as a lookout point.
game reserve, Janáček’s Hukvaldy International Music Festival
Concerts are held in the Baroque St Andrew’s Chapel, as well as in the so-called round amphitheatre, a massive fortification where the castle garrison was based. Since 1994, the castle has held the Janáček’s Hukvaldy International Music Festival. A herd of fallow deer and mouflons are kept in the game reserve below the castle.
Zámek Humprecht, Sobotka Count Humprecht Černín had this hunting lodge, to be used for the summer pleasure of the nobility, built in 1666–1668. The château is a testament to how the Baroque nobility spent their time in a countryside summer palace. On the ground floor are the servants’ quarters, an open-hearth kitchen (or “black kitchen”) and libraries; upstairs are residential rooms, parlours and a banquet hall with 16-metre ceilings and excellent acoustics.
www.kinskycastles.com Pražská 1, Chlumec nad Cidlinou
Chlumec nad Cidlinou – Karlova Koruna
Count František Ferdinand Kinský had this Baroque château built in 1721–1723 according to the plans of the outstanding architect Jan Blažej SantiniAichel. The layout of the château recalls a crown, which, together with the visit of Emperor Charles VI., gave rise to the name Charles’ Crown. A guided tour of this residence with 18th- and 19th-century interiors presents the history of the château and the Kinský family. You will also learn about the local tradition of par force hunts, horse breeding, and the special breed of horses being raised right in Chlumec.
www.muzeum-km.cz Náměstí Svobody 30, Chropyně
This 17th-century château, which belonged to the Olomouc bishops, got its current Baroque form in 1701–1703. The interiors were later updated in the Romantic style. In the Knights’ Hall there is an exhibition of Baroque arms; the Ječmínek Hall has a coffered ceiling and is equipped with a tile stove from the 17th century. In addition to the historical halls, you can view an exhibition about the history of Chropyně; the second floor is devoted to the native painter, sculptor and graphic artist Emil Filla (1882–1953), one of the leading proponents of Czech Expressionism and Cubism.
www.chyse.com Chyše 30, Chyše
Haná Festivities folklore festival
The château’s Gothic Revival form dates to the mid-19th century, when it had been in the hands of the Counts of Lažanský for a century. In 1917, the future world-famous writer Karel Čapek came here as a tutor. Inside the château you will find a salon with a fresco by the Bohemian Baroque painter Petr Brandl, the gentlemen’s study, the summer dining hall and an exposition about Karel Čapek.
Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou
music festival, wine shop
www.zamek-jaromerice.cz Náměstí Míru 1, Jaroměřice n. Rokytnou This stately Baroque residence of the Counts of Questenberg with the Church of St Margaret was built between 1700 and 1737. In the château there is a theatre, a ballroom and a music hall, recalling the glorious history of Jaroměřice as a musical centre. In 1730, the local bandmaster František Václav Míča wrote the first opera in the Czech language, The Origins of Jaroměřice.
You can also view the parlours and music salons, the Hall of Ancestors, the count’s study and private suites, the multi-storey Ballroom and the Church of St Margaret. The French garden leads out to an English park.
Javorník – Jánský Vrch Státní zámekwww.janskyvrch.cz Jánský Vrch, Javorník This château, originally a castle from the the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, soon became the property of the bishops of Wrocław. In the 18th century the castle was transformed into a Baroque residence, which became a musical centre for all of Silesia. In the 19th century it was modified into a summer residence. Inside the château you can see the representational rooms with their original furnishings, mostly from the 19th century, and also take a look into the kitchen and servants’ rooms. On display here is one of the largest collections of historic pipes and smoking accessories in the country.
www.jemniste.cz Jemniště 1, Postupice
This Baroque château was established in the early 18th century. A residence built in the shape of the letter H, it is notable for its outstanding façade and gardens.
restaurant, picnic baskets available, mini zoo
The interiors with decoration from the 18th century give an idea of the manner of life in a country château. The St Joseph’s Chapel contains artistically valuable frescoes and an altar. Baroque gardens around the château are complemented by an English park.
www.zamek-jindrichuvhradec.eu Dobrovského 1/I, Jindřichův Hradec
This Gothic castle, first mentioned in 1220, was expanded in the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec into a Renaissance palace in the Italian style. The castle has a garden with a music pavilion. Subsequent owners have not made any substantial changes to the the castle. In the castle, the Royal Hall and a hall decorated with wall paintings of the St George legend from 1338 are preserved; also interesting is the open-hearth kitchen (or “black kitchen”). In the Renaissance wing are the so-called green rooms with their original furnishings, decoration and coffered ceilings. Also accessible are apartments from the 18th and 19th centuries and the 32-metre-high Black Tower, the oldest part of the castle.
www.kacina.cz Svatý Mikuláš, Kutná Hora
Count Jan Rudolf Chotek had this Empire-style château built in 1806–1824. In the main part of the château are the common rooms and the family’s residential rooms, and in the wings are the guest rooms, a theatre and the famous circular library hall, which popular with filmmakers because of its architecture. In the castle, you will learn how nobility lived in the countryside in the 19th century, and you can walk through the dance hall, reception room, library and theatre.
www.hradkamen.cz Kámen 1, Kámen
part of the château houses the Museum of the Czech Countryside
In the 16th century, the Gothic castle was expanded into a Renaissance palace, which was later modified and supplemented with a Baroque wing and tower. Further alterations did not significantly affect the outer appearance of the castle. In the palace there is an exposition on the lifestyle of the nobility in the 19 century. In the Knights’ Hall the Renaissance vaulting is preserved, and in the salons there are original tile stoves and fragments of Renaissance frescoes.
exposition of historical bicycles and motorcycles from the late 19th century
Karlštejn wine festival, Royal Procession from Prague to Karlštejn
Karlštejn 172, Karlštejn The most important Czech castle, Karlštejn is a national symbol. The Gothic castle was founded in 1348 by Charles IV, the best-known Bohemian king and Holy Roman Emperor, as his residence and a fortress to protect the imperial crown jewels. Later, Karlštejn safeguarded the jewels of Bohemian kings. Even after modifications in the late 19th century, the medieval character of the castle was retained, as was a large part of the unique decorations: murals with the theme of Revelation in the Church of the Virgin Mary, and in the Holy Cross Chapel, which is decorated with gold, semiprecious stones and 129 panel paintings by Master Theodoric – one of the most valuable collections of European Gothic painting.
The Church of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Cross Chapel are part of a guided tour which, in order to protect the interiors, is open only to a limited number of visitors and must be booked in advance. The main tour route includes the Imperial Palace with the Audience Chamber with its original wainscoting, the Hall of Ancestors and the Banquet Hall. In the Marian Tower there are copies of the imperial and the Bohemian crowns.
Žlíbek 55, Kašperské Hory This castle was erected in 1356 by the Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV to safeguard the border between Bohemia and Bavaria and the Golden Trade Route. The castle palace with two towers is today a ruin. Since 1616 it has been owned by the nearby town of Kašperské Hory.
Border guards’ path
In addition to the burgave’s palace and remnants of the palace, you can visit the 30-metre-tall castle towers capped with partially preserved brick pyramid roofs.
Klášterec nad Ohří
Chomutovská 1, Klášterec nad Ohří
An earlier Renaissance château was reconstructed in the Baroque style in the 17th century by the Thun family. After a fire in 1856, the château got its current Gothic Revival appearance. In 1794, the second Bohemian porcelain manufactory was founded in Klášterec. The porcelain brand Thun is still produced today. porcelain museum
An exposition in more than 20 rooms charts the development of Bohemian porcelain since 1792.
Hrad Kokořín, Kokořín A Gothic castle from the 14th century was bought as a ruin in 1894 by the aristocrat Václav Špaček and in 1911 work began on restoring it to its medieval appearance. This was the first rescue of a medieval castle in the Czech lands. The cylindrical tower with a view of the surrounding area and the palace were preserved; after 1911 it was newly furnished and decorated.
Konopiště 1, Benešov Konopiště Castle, originally a castle from the 13th century, was bought in 1887 by the successor to the Austrian throne, Franz Ferdinand d’Este, who had it converted into a stately and comfortable residence surrounded by hunting grounds. He lived here with his wife, Countess Žofie Chotková, until 1914, when both died in the assassination in Sarajevo. Their deaths sparked World War I, after which the castle passed into the hands of the state. Representative, private and guest rooms look as they did at the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to period furnishings and works of art, the greatest attention is drawn by the numerous hunting trophies and the so-called Este Armoury, one of the most valuable in Europe. You can also visit the St George Museum, with an art collection centring on the theme of St George, and a game room with a unique shooting gallery.
bears kept in the moat, hotel, golf
www.hrad-kost.cz, www.kinskycastles.com Hrad Kost, Mladějov v Čechách
Kost Castle, founded in the 14th century, looks almost as it did in the Middle Ages, despite later architectural changes. It always was held by prominent families, and a further testament to its importance is that during the Prussian-Austrian war in 1866, the Prussians took pictures of Kost for military purposes. They are probably the oldest photographs of a Bohemian castle. You can tour the Gothic and Renaissance palaces, the Gothic castle chapel, the open-hearth kitchen (or “black kitchen”) and the torture chamber. You will learn all about the fortifications of the castle and its unusual strategic position, but also about the equipment used to build medieval castles. 21
www.zamek-kozel.cz Šťáhlavy 67, Šťáhlavy The Classicist-style Kozel Château, built between 1784 and 1789 as a hunting lodge, was soon expanded to include a chapel, a riding school and stables, and it began serving as a summer residence for the Černín family. It has luxuriously furnished rooms with rich painted decoration in the style of Louis XVI. A French garden leads out to a park.
Private, guest and common rooms with lots of furniture in the Rococo, Empire and Biedermeier styles are supplemented by rich collections of ceramics and 35 original tile stoves. The highlight of the tour is the family theatre and an Empire-style chapel.
www.krasny-dvur.cz Zámek 1, Krásný Dvůr Count František Josef Černín had this Baroque château built in 1720–1724 on the site of a Renaissance villa from the 16th century. In the late 18th century, the château game reserve was turned into an English park covering an area of nearly 250 acres (100 hectares) with many small structures, such as an obelisk, a Gothic temple, or the Chinese Pavilion.
In the interiors with their historical collections, you can admire the decoration and furnishings from the end of the 18th and the 19 centuries. You can visit the parlours, private rooms, music salon and manor library.
www.zamek-kratochvile.eu Kratochvíle, Netolice
This summer palace, which Vilém of Rosenberg (Rožmberk in Czech) had built in 1583–1589, is a perfect example of the Bohemian Renaissance in the Italian style. The palace is set in an ornamental garden and is symbolically protected by a moat. Both private rooms and the rooms used for social occasions are richly decorated with the original stucco and painted decoration. The spectacular Golden Hall served not only as a representational room but because of its acoustics it was also used for concerts.
www.zamek-kromeriz.cz Sněmovní náměstí 1, Kroměříž The Archbishop’s Palace in Kroměříž is one of the most important sites in Moravia. After the destruction of an earlier château during the Thirty Years’ War, a new Baroque summer residence was built for the bishops of Olomouc. The representational halls of the palace reflect the social, political and cultural status of the owners of Kroměříž. The Assembly Hall made history in 1848 as the venue for the Constituent Imperial Congress of the Austrian monarchy. The archbishops’ outstanding collections of European painting from the 15th to 18th century are on display in a picture gallery.
The pride of Kroměříž are the palace gardens, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There is the Baroque Flower Garden, with geometrically designed flower beds, a pavilion, historical greenhouses and a 244-metre-long colonnade, and the Palace Garden, which was also originally Baroque but in the 19th century was given the form of a landscaped park.
www.krivoklat.cz Křivoklát 47, Křivoklát
One of the most visited castles in the Czech Republic, it is also one of the oldest royal castles. It was the main rural residence of Czech kings and it also served as a representational hunting castle. Its silhouette with a cylindrical tower recalls its medieval origins, even though it was later modified. Throughout the year, events take place here in which history comes to life – markets, historical festivals, concerts, theatrical performances and a woodcarvers’ symposium. The most attractive interior spaces are the chapel with its late Gothic decoration, the Royal Hall – one of the most extensive halls of his time in Europe – a rich library, and a tower with a hunting exposition.
cultural events throughout the year, it is often used by filmmakers
Frýdlant Grabštejn Benešov n. Ploučnicí Velké Březno
Zákupy Střekov Bezděz Sychrov Duchcov Ploskovice Hrubý Ro Mnich. Hradiště Trosky Kozel Kost Humprech Kokořín Libochovice N. M Klášterec n. Ohří Mělník Nelahozeves Brandýs n. Labem Krásný Dvůr Lemberk Loket Chlumec n. Cidlinou Prague Bečov n. Teplou Radyně Chyše Kuněti Trója Château Castle Kač Vyšehrad Křivoklát Manětín Kynžvart Točník Žebrák Karlštejn Č. Šternberk Hořovice Mníšek p. Brdy Konopiště Dobříš Jemniště
Nebílovy Horšovský Týn Švihov
Ratibořice Kámen Bechyně
Hluboká n. Vltavou Kratochvíle
Jindřichův D Rožmberk Land Třeboň
Český Krumlov Nové Hrady
Bečov nad Teplou B3
Jindřichův Hradec D5
Benešov nad Ploučnicí C1
Hluboká nad Vltavou D5
Horšovský Týn B4
Klášterec nad Ohří B2
Brandýs nad Labem D2
Hradec nad Moravicí H3
Hrádek u Nechanic E3
Hrubý Rohozec D2
Krásný Dvůr B3
Chlumec nad Cidlinou – Karlova Koruna E3
Častolovice F3 Červená Lhota E5 Český Krumlov C5 Český Šternberk D3 Dačice E5
Chyše B3 Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou F5 Javorník – Jánský Vrch G2
Křivoklát C3 Kunětická hora E3 Kynžvart A3 Landštejn E5
Castles and châteaux
Náchod Kuks Město n. Metují
Javorník – Jánský Vrch Opočno Hrádek u Nechanic Rychnov n. Kněžnou Velké Losiny ická hora Častolovice Pardubice Bruntál čina Litomyšl Slavkov Hradec n. Moravicí Žleby Bítov Šternberk Úsov Bouzov
Lipnice n. Sázavou
Žďár n. Sázavou
Chropyně Náměšť n. Oslavou
Telč Hradec Dačice dštejn Jaroměřice n. Rokytnou Vranov n. Dyjí
Bučovice Brno Buchlov Špilberk Buchlovice Milotice Mikulov Lednice Valtice
Nové Město nad Metují F2
Točník and Žebrák C3
Lipnice nad Sázavou E4
Prague Castle D3
Prague – Trója Château D3
Prague – Vyšehrad D3
Velké Březno C2
Velké Losiny G3
Mnichovo Hradiště D2
Vranov nad Dyjí E5
Mníšek pod Brdy C3
Rychnov nad Kněžnou F3
Náměšť nad Oslavou F5
Žďár nad Sázavou F4
Nové Hrady – castle D6
Nové Hrady – château D6
www.hosptalian-kuks.cz NKP Hosptalian Kuks, Kuks
On the banks of the Elbe River, Count František Antonín Špork started to build a unique Baroque spa complex in 1700. The luxurious and prosperous spa was one of the top ones in Central Europe, but it ceased to exist after a flood in 1740. The spa part disappeared, but the hospital and church have been preserved. An exhibition in the hospital building presents the history of Kuks. Displayed in the lapidarium are the original Baroque sculptures of Virtues and Vices by Matyáš Bernard Braun from the terrace in front of the church. It also holds the Czech Pharmacy Museum, which charts the development of pharmacies from the Baroque period to the 20th century.
www.hrad-kunetickahora.cz Správa hradu Kunětická hora, Staré Hradiště The Castle of Kunětická hora dates back to the 14th century. In 1491 it was bought by the Lords of Pernštejn, who in the 16th century converted it into a fortress with massive ramparts and an early Renaissance palace. Beginning in the late 16th century, the castle began to lose its importance and fell into decline.
Today, the partially restored castle is attractive not only because of the views of the countryside it offers but also for its palace interiors with their preserved Renaissance features. You can visit the Knights’ Hall, the armoury, the chapel and the cellars. Part of the exposition is a presentation of the history of par force hunting, which has a centuries-old tradition in this part of Bohemia.
www.kynzvart.cz Zámok Kynžvart, Lázně Kynžvart The Austrian statesman Prince Klemens von Metternich had the Baroque ancestral Kynžvart Château rebuilt in 1821–1839 in the style of Viennese Classicism. After 1848, he lived in the château and also placed the family collection of books, paintings, sculptures and curiosities here.
château restaurant and hotel, golf
In addition to representational interiors and an entrance hall with sculptures by Antonio Canova, you can also see the personal belongings of famous personalities, findings from Pompeii and Egypt, and a collection of helmets and caps of European regiments.
Správa státního hradu Landštejn, Slavonice
This border castle from the 13th century was expanded by the Lords of Landštejn and turned into the seat of the leading family of the kingdom. It was rebuilt in the 16th century into a three-storey palace, but its fortress character remained. After 1771, when the castle burnt down after being struck by lightning, it was abandoned and became a ruin. During a tour you will visit the castle’s St George’s Chapel with a observation gallery and frescoes. The Great Tower provides a view of the borderland forests.
www.zamek-lednice.com Zámek 1, Lednice na Moravě
+ greenhouse, falconry demonstrations, picture gallery Lednice was acquired by the Liechtenstein family in the 13th century. At the end of the 17th century, a Baroque château was established, from which the monumental riding school is still preserved. In 1846–1858 the château was rebuilt in the spirit of Tudor Gothic and it served as a summer residence for the Liechtensteins. Highlights inside the château are the original luxuriously appointed rooms with rich woodcarvings. On the château grounds is a 92-metre-long greenhouse with a cast iron framework from 1845 – a technical monument. In the countryside around the Thaya (Dyje) River between Lednice and the nearby Valtice Château, one of the largest man-made nature complexes in Europe has been created. Across an area of 300 km2, there are a number of small structures from the early 19th century, including a hunting lodge, a romantic semi-ruined castle, Apollo’s Temple and the Border Castle, located on the old territorial boundary between Moravia and Austria. There is also a 60-metre-high minaret that serves as a lookout tower. After climbing its 302 steps, in good weather you can catch a glimpse the tower of St Stephen Cathedral in Vienna. The nature park is suitable for walking and also for cycling.
Lvová 1, Jablonné v Podještědí This castle dates back to the 13th century and is associated with St Zdislava of Lemberk, the wife of the founder of the castle, Havel. Today, Lemberk has the appearance of an early Baroque château from the 17th century, with preserved representational halls, a chapel with rich stucco decoration and Zdislava’s Chamber. Tours include the open-hearth kitchen (or “black kitchen”) and the lordly study; the pride of the castle is the Fable Room with a Renaissance coffered ceiling from 1610 with 77 scenes from Aesop’s Fables.
www.zamek-libochovice.cz Libochovice 1, Libochovice
The present appearance of Libochovice dates from the years 1683–1690, when the château was modified in the early Baroque style as the seat of the Counts of Dietrichstein. Its architectural form has remained almost unchanged. It also had a splendid Baroque garden, which is partially preserved. Inside the château you can admire the original Baroque interiors, such as the multi-storey historical greenhouses Saturnine Hall and salons with tile stoves from 1685. There is also a collection of rare tapestries from the 16th and 17th centuries. Part of the château’s exposition is devoted to the local native Jan Evangelista Purkyně, a world-renowned naturalist and physiologist.
Lipnice nad Sázavou
www.hrad-lipnice.eu Státní hrad Lipnice, Lipnice n. Sázavou
The history of Lipnice Castle reaches back seven centuries. The huge Gothic fortress was founded in the early 14th century by the Lords of Lichtenburk, who owned the nearby silver mines. Later it was modified in the late Gothic and Renaissance styles. After a fire in 1869 the castle was abandoned.
Jaroslav Hašek Memorial
Despite the alterations to Lipnice, it has retained its medieval character. In the partially restored ruin, the castle chapel, the palace and the massive Samson Tower are preserved.
Státní zámek Litomyšl, Litomyšl
Litomyšl was acquired in 1567 by Vratislav of Pernštejn, who built here for himself and his Spanish wife, Maria Manrique de Lara, a Renaissance château. The façade of the luxurious residence, decorated with sgraffiti in the form of envelopes, is a distinctive feature of the château, as are its open arcades and ornate gables.
music festival, family home of Bedřich Smetana Inside the château you will find rooms decorated mainly in the Rococo style. Attention-worthy are the Baroque château theatre, with a unique collection of original stage scenery from the late 18th century, and an exhibition of historical keyboard instruments. The castle is the setting for the Smetana’s Litomyšl International Opera Festival, held here since 1949 and named for one of the most famous Czech composers, Bedřich Smetana, who was a local native.
www.hradloket.cz Zámecká 67, Loket
The history of this royal border castle, which dates back to the 12th century, is very complex. From its Romanesque form, the main castle tower is preserved. A Gothic reconstruction was initiated by King Wenceslas IV, and another one in the early 16th century by the Šlik family. In the 19th century, the castle was converted into a prison. Today, after reconstruction, it is a leading landmark of the region. You can view expositions on weaponry, archaeology and the manufacture of porcelain. In a hall with frescoes, paintings from the early 15th century have been preserved.
Zámecká 1, Lysice The originally Renaissance château has a Baroque exterior. Inside are the richly furnished rooms and salons of the noble Dubský family from the 19th century. Noteworthy is a rare collection of weapons and historical shooting targets. The library is dedicated to the Austrian writer Marie Ebner-Eschenbach, born Dubská. You can visit the garden, with its multi-storey columned colonnade, and see the orangery and historical château nursery.
www.zamek-manetin.cz Manětín 1, Manětín This château in the centre of town was built on the site of an older building following a fire in 1712. The High Baroque residence of the Lažanský family was probably built by T. Haffenecker, who also gave a new face to the destroyed town square and the church next to the château. Manětín’s sculptural decoration also dates from that time.
On a tour you will see the entry staircase with sculptures and a ceiling fresco, the count’s private rooms, the salons used for social occasions, and the Main Hall. The Hunting Hall provides a beautiful view of the French garden and English park.
www.chateaumelnik.eu Svatováclavská 19, Mělník
A castle above the confluence of the Vltava and Elbe rivers used to be the residence for widowed Czech queens. In the 16th century it was transformed into a Renaissance château, with the later addition of a Baroque wing. Since 1753 is has been in the hands of the Lobkowicz family, one of the oldest Czech noble families.
You can view the salons, the chapel and the dining hall, as well as a room dedicated to Chancellor August Longino of Lobkowicz and the bedroom of Jiří Kristián Lobkowicz, a successful car racer. Next to the castle is the Gothic Church of Sts Peter and Paul. wine tastings, ossuary
www.rmm.cz Zámek, Mikulov Originally a royal border castle, it was owned by the Liechtenstein family between 1249 and 1560. Later owners, the Dietrichstein family, converted Mikulov into a Baroque château in the 17th century, but it never lost its fortress character. After a fire in 1945 the castle was restored.
The interiors of the castle present the history of Mikulov and the Dietrichstein family. There is also an exposition on traditional winemaking with a huge barrel from 1643 holding more than 22 300 gallons (1 014 hectolitres). The earlier history of the Romans and Germanic tribes in southern Moravia is presented in a modernly designed archaeological exhibition. The history of Mikulov’s prominent Jewish community is documented in an exhibition at the synagogue below the château.
Zámek Milotice, Milotice u Kyjova The château has a Baroque appearance from the 18th century, but in the courtyard you’ll find elements recalling its Renaissance past. Although it was used as a family residence until the mid-20th century, the interior has mostly Baroque decoration. The château is complemented by a garden, which is approached via a double staircase, and a pheasantry with a shooting pavilion from 1766.
The entry staircase with rich sculptural and painted decoration belongs to the original interior, as does the Fresco Hall, the smoking room, the countess’ study and the chapel.
www.mnichovo-hradiste.cz Státní zámek MH, Mnich. Hradiště
Originally a Renaissance château, it was bought in 1623 by Albrecht of Wallenstein, the famed commander of the Habsburg forces in the Thirty Years’ War. It was rebuilt in the 18th century in the Baroque style. The St Anne’s Chapel was added at the same time. The interiors of the château date from after 1724. In addition to the salons and the representational halls, you will also see the Baroque château theatre with its preserved stage equipment and scenery. In 1785 the remains of General Albrecht of Wallenstein were placed in St Anne’s Chapel. There is also an exhibition of works by Czech Baroque sculptors.
www.zamek-mnisek.cz Náměstí F. X. Svobody 1, Mníšek p. Brdy
children’s tours (July and August), occasional performances of Baroque operas
Mníšek pod Brdy
The Mníšek pod Brdy Château was built in the early 14th century as a small Gothic castle along an important overland route. Its present appearance resulted from reconstruction following a fire in 1639. Since 2006, it has been open to the public for the first time in its history following a renovation based on authentic photographs taken by the last owners. A tour includes the dining hall, the St Servatius Chapel, salons used for social occasions, private rooms, the library and the study.
Smiřických 1282, Náchod Náchod was built in the 13th century to protect an overland trade route and the border. It was gradually transformed into a château and got its present appearance in the 18th century. Historical interiors reflect mainly the period of the 17th and 18th centuries. The Baroque Chapel of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the Rococo Spanish Hall are noteworthy for their decoration. You can also see the residential rooms in the Classicist, Empire and Biedermeier styles. Particularly noteworthy are tapestries made specially for Náchod in Brussels around 1650.
Náměšť nad Oslavou
Zámek 1, Náměšť nad Oslavou
Of the original castle from the 13th century, only the cylindrical tower and part of the ramparts have remained. After 1583 the Lords of Žerotín transformed it into a Renaissance château. It experienced its greatest period beginning in the late 18th century, when the now Baroque château became an important centre of musical culture. In the château, which has an arcaded courtyard, you may visit the chapel and library as well as the representational rooms containing a unique collection of Belgian and French tapestries from the 16th to 19th century. The rooms attractively display historical furniture and the original tile stoves.
www.zamek-nebilovy.cz Nebílovy 1, Nezvěstice Nebílovy Château is a unique example of Viennese Baroque architecture in the Czech lands. It was built in the early 18th century as a modest residence with an unusual layout of two facing buildings connected by originally arcaded passages in the form of two letters U.
In the front building with a clocktower you can see the Baroque residential rooms, and in the rear building, where the representational rooms were located, you can see three rooms and the Ballroom with unique frescoes.
Zámek Nelahozeves 1, Nelahozeves This three-wing château with a façade richly decorated with sgraffiti gives the impression of a luxurious residence and also a fortress. The personal secretary of King Ferdinand I, Florian Griespeck of Griespach, began building it some time after 1553 in the spirit of the Italian Renaissance. It later became the property of the Lobkowicz family, which still owns it today. Most of the interiors retain their original Renaissance character. In the residential rooms, salons and the library you can see historical furniture and objects from the highly valuable family collections of paintings, books and weapons.
www.hrad-novehrady.eu Komenského 33, Nové Hrady
in the town is the birthplace of Antonín Dvořák
Nové Hrady – castle
This 13th-century Gothic castle was heavily damaged in 1579 by an explosion of gunpowder stored in the cylindrical tower, and again 11 years later by a strong earthquake. The devastated castle was partially repaired, but after 1620 it lost its status as a residence and was used only as an administrative seat of the domain. In nine rooms of the castle you can see the collections of the Buquoy family and an exposition on local glassmaking. The second tour circuit presents the flat of the lordly clerk from the early 20th century.
www.nove-hrady.cz Zámek 1, Nové Hrady
Nové Hrady – château
This Rococo château, which Count Jean-Antoine de Harbuval de Chamaré had built in the French style in 1774–1777, is noteworthy mainly for its decorative façade that is turned to face the garden with a circular gazebo. The sloping terrain was used to build an impressive terraced court of honour. Inside the château is the exhibition “The Art of Furniture Through the Ages – Central European Furniture Art from Baroque to Art Nouveau”. The rich Rococo decoration of the representational hall and the staircase is preserved.
restaurant, café, First Czech Museum of Cycling
Nové Město nad Metují
www.zameknm.cz Husovo náměstí 1201, N. Město n. Metují Behind the Baroque façade of this château is one of the jewels of Modernist architecture and design. The castle was bought in 1908 by the industrialist Josef Bartoň as a family residence, who had the château together with the garden magnificently adapted in the style of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. The preserved Renaissance and Baroque decorations were repaired and incorporated into the newly modified interiors, such as the Great Study, the Small Hall and the Gentlemen’s Salon.
www.zamek-opocno.cz Trčkovo náměstí 1, Opočno
In the courtyard of this château with a Baroque façade stands an attractive two-storey Renaissance arcade. The residence, built on the site of an earlier castle, also has a park set in a stream valley that dates back to 1820. Inside you will find furnishings from the Renaissance and Baroque periods and the 19th century, but Opočno is primarily famous for its rich picture gallery and a unique armoury, containing examples of nearly every type of weapon from Europe and the Orient. These collections have been open to the public since 1922.
www.schwarzenberg.cz Zámek Orlík, Orlík nad Vltavou This château, originally a castle from the 13th century, experienced its greatest period of glory after 1802, when it became the seat of the second generation of the Schwarzenberg family. It was founded by Karel Filip Schwarzenberg, who as the Austrian ambassador in Paris mediated the engagement of Marie Louise to Napoleon and then in August 1813 led the allied forces against him in the “Battle of the Nations” at Leipzig. The modifications that Karel Filip had carried out at Orlík are seen especially in the interiors and in the park. The outward Gothic Revival appearance of the château dates to 1840–1860.
Among the château’s remarkable interiors are salons with furniture brought back from Karel Filip’s ambassadorial residence in Paris. There are also rooms in the spirit of the Gothic Revival of the second half of the 19th century, and many hunting trophies. Also interesting is a collection of medals received by the Swarzenbergs for their diplomatic and military service.
www.vcm.cz/museum/castle.html Zámek 2, Pardubice
This Renaissance château built in the 16th century by the Lords of Pernštejn on the site of a Gothic castle is surrounded by a moat and massive walls. It is an excellent example of architecture from that period that combines residential and defensive functions. Interesting are the Knights’ Halls with their original monumental early Renaissance frescoes with biblical and religious themes.
www.hrad-pernstejn.cz Hrad Pernštejn, Nedvědice
museum, picture gallery
The Gothic-Renaissance castle fortress, one of the symbols of Moravia, was built in the 13th century by the Lords of Pernštejn as a family seat. Pernštejn got its current appearance at the turn of the 15th and 16 centuries. A tour takes you to the late Gothic and Renaissance rooms with valuable vaulting. It is renowned primarily for the local narrow corridors with authentic medieval inscriptions. The dungeon and castle chapel are also accessible.
www.zamek-ploskovice.cz Státní zámek Ploskovice, Ploskovice
This Baroque château built in 1720–1730 by Anna Marie Františka, Duchess of Tuscany, became a residence of the Austrian Emperor Ferdinand I after his abdication following the Revolutions of 1848. The château was modernized for his needs and the interiors were newly furnished and decorated. The salons from the 19th century preserve their period furnishings and décor. Also worth visiting are the Baroque man-made water cave and the park.
www.hrad.cz, www.praguewelcome.cz Pražský hrad, Praha 1
Prague Castle is the symbol of Czech statehood and history. From the inception of the nation in the late 9th century to the present, it has been the main seat of government but also a spiritual centre. The dominant feature of the greatest historical site in the Czech Republic is St Vitus Cathedral, the metropolitan church and the seat of the archbishop. The cathedral, where Bohemian kings were coronated and where the Bohemian crown jewels are kept, was built gradually between 1344 and 1929. Off the second courtyard is the entrance to the Prague Castle Picture Gallery and the Imperial Stables, and there is another exhibition space in the Prague Castle Riding School. The Castle Palace has a uniform façade from the 18th century, but it is made up of sections from different periods. The Old Royal Palace was built in the 12th century. Here, you will find the Vladislav Hall from the 16th century – the largest secular vaulted space of its period in Europe – which is now used for state ceremonies. The wings of the palace contain the New Land Rolls Room, and the Ludwig Wing holds the rooms of the Bohemian Chancellery, where events took place in 1618 that sparked the Thirty Years’ War. Leading from the Vladislav Hall is a unique Riders’ Staircase. In the Romanesque St George Convent from 973 – the oldest one in the Czech lands – the National Gallery maintains an exhibition space.
The Prague panorama unfolds before you up in the tower of the cathedral and also from the platform in front of the castle or from the gardens below the southern palace.
Prague – Trója Château UNESCO
+ in the vicinity is Prague Zoo and the Botanical Garden
www.citygalleryprague.cz U Trojského zámku 1, Praha 7
On the northern outskirts of modern Prague, Count Václav Vojtěch of Šternberk had a Baroque villa built in 1679–1685. Of the richly decorated interiors, a standout is the two-storey main hall with frescoes on the theme of victory over the Turks at Vienna. A staircase decorated with sculptures leads from the hall to a French garden. The villa, which has been preserved in its original form, now exhibits works by Czech painters of the 19th century.
On the surrounding slopes, the St. Claire Vineyard was established at the same time as the château. Today, it is Prague’s largest winery, and its production can be tasted at the local wine shop. If you climb up to the chapel at the top vineyards, an unforgettable view of Prague awaits you. 36
www.praha-vysehrad.cz V Pevnosti 159/5b, Praha 2 Vyšehrad was founded in the 10th century on the opposite side of the river from Prague Castle as a base of princely power and a mint. From the end of the 11th century until 1140 it was a ruler’s residence. A number of buildings were constructed during this period, but today only the St Martin Rotunda has been preserved. Vyšehrad had great symbolic importance in the 14th century, when it was designated a place of ceremony on the eve of the royal coronation. After 1650 ,Vyšehrad was rebuilt into a Baroque citadel. Its massive brick ramparts and two gates are still standing, as are a partially accessible system of casemates. The current Gothic Revival silhouette of Vyšehrad, created by the Church Sts Peter and Paul, comes from the end of the 19th century.
Prague – Vyšehrad UNESCO
tour of the casemates, view of the city, sport complex
In the Vyšehrad National Cemetery, called Slavín, the great personalities of Czech culture and public life from the 19th and 20 centuries are interred.
www.rabi.cz Státní hrad Rabí, Sušice
This castle from the 13th century was built to guard the route connecting Bohemia with the Danube basin. It was rebuilt in the 14th century, but it got its impressive appearance of a massive, impregnable fortress with artillery bastions in the late 15th century thanks to Benedict Ried, an architect of Prague Castle. A century later, Rabí’s glorious history came to an end when it was completely destroyed by fire in 1720. Today, you can see the remains of the ramparts, the imposing early Gothic tower and the castle palace.
Hrad Radyně, Starý Plzenec
The castle, which is the dominant landmark of the Pilsen area (Plzeň in Czech), was established before 1361 by the Emperor and Bohemian King Charles IV to protect the royal rights and trade route from Nuremberg to Prague. Even though it was abandoned in the 15th century and survives only as a ruin, Radyně remains a symbol of the region. One of the towers has been turned into a lookout point, and for children there is an audiovisual exhibition about mysterious creatures. 37
www.zamekratiborice.cz Ratibořice 1, Česká Skalice This Baroque hunting lodge was lent by Duchess Kateřina Zaháňská in 1813 for secret anti-Napolean meetings between Austria, Russia and Prussia. Later it was rebuilt in the Classicist and Empire style. The château and its environs are inextricably linked with the childhood of the popular 19th-century Czech author Božena Němcová and her novel The Grandmother.
On the first floor of the château, the salons and private rooms of Duchess Zaháňská can be viewed. The negotiations of the anti-Napolean coalition are recalled by the Three Emperors’ Hall. The interiors on the ground floor are dedicated to the last owners.
www.hrad-rozmberk.eu Státní hrad Rožmberk, Rožmberk nad Vltavou The family of the Lords of Rosenberg (Rožmberk in Czech) is connected with Czech history from the 13th to the early 17th century. The most powerful family in the land later resided in Český Krumlov, but its family seat was originally Rožmberk Castle. The Buquoy family, which owned Rožmberk from 1620 to 1945, modified it in the spirit of Romantic Gothic, turned it into a family museum and opened it up to the public.
Inside are the Buquoy family collections of furniture, paintings, arms, porcelain and glass. The most interesting spaces include the Entry Hall with a decorative wooden staircase and the Crusaders’ Gallery. Rožmberk Hall takes you back to the history of the castle’s founders.
Rychnov nad Kněžnou Kolowratskáwww.kolowrat.com 1, Rychnov n. Kněžnou This château was rebuilt in the first third of the 18th century by the great Baroque architect Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel. He created a château with an elegant façade and corner towers. The panorama is completed by the Church of the Holy Trinity, whose façade Santini renovated between 1712 and 1715. The interiors hold collections of tapestries, porcelain, faïence and Bohemian glass along with a very valuable picture gallery, the core of which originated in the first half of the 18th century and has been preserved to the present day.
www.zamek-slavkov.cz Palackého náměstí 1, Slavkov u Brna
A Baroque three-wing château with an impressive court of honour was built in the first half of the 18th century by the Kaunitz princely family (Kounic in Czech). After the “Battle of the Three Emperors”, which took place on 2 December 1805 near Slavkov, the oval Historic Hall was where the armistice between France and Austria was signed. Slavkov went down in the history books under the German name of the battle: Austerlitz. In the château you can see the representational rooms, the Flower and Napoleonic lounges, the Hall of Fashion, the Theatre Hall, the Ancestors’ Hall with a monumental fresco representing the gods on Mount Olympus, and Rubens’ Hall. The château also has a park with Baroque sculptural decoration.
www.hrad-strekov.cz Střekov, Ústí nad Labem
recreation of the “Battle of the Three Emperors”, battlefield
Střekov Castle has stood on a dramatic cliff above the Elbe River since the early 14th century. It was built to protect shipping on the river and the tollhouse. Since the 16th century is has been owned by the Lobkowicz family, but it gradually lost its importance and became a romantic ruin, whose magical atmosphere has been attracting tourists for the past two centuries. Part of the castle has been reconstructed, so you can see the Knights’ Hall, the Great House and the castle chapel. It affords an impressive view of the Elbe valley.
Státní zámek Sychrov, Sychrov
The flowering of Sychrov is associated with the princely Rohan family, which bought it in 1820 and turned it into their family residence in the Czech lands. The château was rebuilt in the Empire style, but later generations altered Sychrov again, this time in the Gothic Revival style. At the time of the latest reconstruction, an English park was established around the château. The château rooms and salons are known for their sumptuous woodcarvings from the workshops of local masters, especially the Staircase Hall, the Great Dining Hall and the library. You can also look into the private rooms and children’s rooms.
www.spilberk.cz Špilberk 210/1, Brno The dominant feature of the city of Brno, Špilberk Castle was built after 1240 as the main seat of the ruler and margrave of Moravia. After the Thirty Years’ War it was transformed into a Baroque citadel, which was the only one in Moravia to withstand the siege of 1742 during the Seven Years’ War. Beginning in the late 18th century the local casemates served as the harshest prison for hardened criminals in the Habsburg monarchy.
Špilberk is the headquarters of the Brno City Museum, whose expositions present the city’s history. The most valuable architectural spaces are on the ground floor of the former Gothic palace. Among the most popular parts of the castle are the underground casemates with an historical exposition on the penal system.
www.hrad-sternberk.cz Horní náměstí 6, Šternberk This Gothic castle was seat of the Moravian branch of the Sternberg family (Šternberk in Czech) until the late 14th century. After a fire in 1536 it was rebuilt in the Renaissance style, and it acquired its current appearance during a Gothic Revival reconstruction in 1883–1890. Many of the interiors have unique vaulting and Renaissance coffered ceilings. Especially noteworthy are the so-called Visiting Cards Hall, the Knights’ Hall and the chapel. Some of the rooms here are equipped with furniture from Moravian châteaux that are not open to the public.
www.hradsvihov.cz Žižkova 1, Švihov
This castle was built at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries with the help of the royal architect Benedikt Ried. The stronghold had two palaces, a chapel, and two rings of ramparts and a moat. The castle is preserved in its late Gothic form.
You can view the Renaissance interiors, including the Red Bastion and the chapel with a painting depicting Švihov in the 16th century.
Náměstí Zachariáše z Hradce 1, Telč
Zachariáš of Hradec had an old Gothic castle rebuilt in 1551 as a residence in the spirit of the Italian Renaissance. The château is complemented by a garden with arcaded walkways and a park. This unique château is preserved in its original form and is therefore frequently used by filmmakers. The representational halls have impressive coffered ceilings – especially the Golden Hall – and the funeral chapel retains its original Renaissance appearance. You can also view the residential rooms from the turn of the 19th and 20 centuries and an exhibition of works by the painter Jan Zrzavý.
www.tocnik.com Točník 1, Zdice
Točník and Žebrák
Halfway between Prague and Pilsen (Plzeň in Czech), the ruins of two Gothic castles, Točník and Žebrák, stand side by side. The older one, Žebrák, was built in the late 13th century. Defence of the low-lying castle with a massive round tower was ensured by a system of ponds. King Wenceslas IV had Točník Castle – a luxurious residence with two palaces – built on somewhat higher ground at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries. In the Royal Palace at Točník, the main hall and the private royal suites have been preserved. Although both castles are now ruins, their authentic medieval appearance attracts not only tourists but also filmmakers.
Státní hrad Trosky, Rovensko pod Troskami
On two adjacent basaltic rocks, an unusual castle in the form of two towers with a palace in the saddle between them was established in the late 14th century. The higher and more slender tower carries the name Panna (Maiden), and the lower and wider tower is called Baba (Granny). The castle began to lose its importance in the 16th century and was abandoned. The castle ruin offers an ideal view of the landscape of Bohemian Paradise (Český ráj). 41
www.zamek-trebon.eu Zámek 115, Třeboň
The Rosenberg family (Rožmberk in Czech) had already established a château in Třeboň in the 16th century, but when the last Rosenberg, Petr Vok, made Třeboň his residence in 1602, the château was given a High Renaissance appearance. The Schwarzenberg family later left its traces in the form of a Baroque wing and modifications to the interior. In the English park there is the Gothic Revival tomb of the Schwarzenberg family dating from 1874–1877. You can visit the original Renaissance interiors, such as the Courtier’s Chamber, the dining hall, a Kunstkammer and the alchemists’ laboratory. The furnishings in the Schwarzenbergs’ private suites are from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
www.regionmohelnicko.cz/cil/209/ www.muzeum-sumperk.cz Zámecká 1, Úsov This castle was owned between 1597 and 1945 by the princely Liechtenstein family, which had a twostorey Baroque palace with a magnificent staircase built. From 1852 to 1867, the first forestry school in Moravia was operated here. Then the Liechtensteins relocated their ancestral hunting collections here and opened a museum of hunting and forestry.
The museum collections, in their original installations, contain numerous hunting trophies from Moravia but also from the Liechtensteins’ expeditions to Africa and India. There is also a collection of arms.
wine tastings, wine shop
www.zamek-valtice.cz Zámok 1, Valtice
This originally medieval border castle was owned between 1395 and 1945 by the Liechtenstein family, which in the 16th century made it the main family residence. The château’s current Baroque appearance is the result of conversions and adaptations made between the years 1690 and 1790. The original interiors are also preserved.
In the countryside around the Thaya (Dyje) River between Lednice and the nearby Valtice Château, one of the largest manmade nature complexes in Europe has been created. Across an area of 300 km2, there are a number of small structures from the early 19th century, including a hunting lodge, a 42
romantic semi-ruined castle, Apollo’s Temple and the Border Castle, located on the old territorial boundary between Moravia and Austria. There is also a 60-metre-high minaret that serves as a lookout tower. After climbing its 302 steps, in good weather you can catch a glimpse the tower of St Stephen Cathedral in Vienna. The nature park is suitable for walking and also for cycling.
www.hradvelhartice.cz Hrad Velhartice, Kolinec
This early Gothic ancestral castle was modified in the 14th century by Bušek of Velhartice, a confidant of the Emperor and King Charles IV. The palace was connected with a residential tower by a unique, 32-metre-long and 10-metre-high stone bridge supported by four pointed arches. The Renaissance palace dates from the 17th century. An audio-visual projection familiarizes visitors with the history of the castle, and you can view the water tank, food cellars, palace interiors and stone bridge.
www.zamek-vbrezno.cz Státní zámek Velké Březno, Velké Březno
open-air museum of folk architecture
This château was built in the late Empire style in 1843–1845 for the highest burgrave of the Kingdom of Bohemia at that time, Count Karel Chotek. Between 1885 and 1910 it was rebuilt in the Neo-Renaissance style, and it retains this appearance to the present day. You can view the interiors with their period furnishings, including the ballroom, music salon, library and gentlemen’s and ladies’ rooms.
www.zamek-losiny.cz Velké Losiny
Originally a Gothic stronghold, it was transformed in 1531 by the prominent Moravian Žerotín family into a Renaissance château with three-storey arcades in the courtyard. It was later expanded with a twostorey Baroque wing. Velké Losiny went down in the history books when the biggest witch trials in the country were held in the château in 1678–1692. Many of the Renaissance features of the château have been preserved in the interiors, including the original furnishings and collections. A very valuable part of the rooms are coloured tile stoves from 1587–1589. There are also interiors from the Baroque period and early 20th century. 43
Náměstí Palackého 376, Vizovice The château was built between 1749 and 1770 in the French Baroque style and was incorporated into a Baroque garden and lavishly furnished. Its appearance has not changed since its completion, but the garden was replaced by a park. A tour of the château presents more than 30 rooms, including a chapel, representational rooms and private rooms.
Vranov nad Dyjí
www.zamekvranov.cz Zámecká 93, Vranov nad Dyjí
This château originated on the site of an older border castle, which was destroyed by fire in 1665. A plan for a new seat for the Counts of Althann was drawn up by imperial architect Jan Bernard Fischer von Erlach. First, a monumental, oval Hall of Ancestors was built – a High Baroque masterpiece – and that was followed by construction of the chapel with the family tomb. Then a Baroque palace with a court of honour and a double staircase was built. Today, we can admire the château in its almost original appearance from the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries. The interiors of the château present the luxurious lifestyle of the high nobility. Salons and private rooms are richly decorated with furniture, wallpaper, wall paintings and art objects from the late 18th and 19th centuries. The pride of the exhibition is a collection of pottery from the famed local manufacturer.
www.zamek-zakupy.cz Borská 1, Zákupy
This Renaissance-Baroque château was given by Emperor Francis I to his grandson Napoleon Francis as the new seat of the duchy. Later, the château became the residence of Emperor Ferdinand I, for whom it was newly equipped in the spirit of the Rococo. You can admire twenty salons and rooms from this period with the original furnishings and decoration.
Hrad Zvíkov This Gothic royal castle was built before 1234 above the confluence of the Vltava and Otava rivers. It was constructed as a seat for the ruler as well as an impregnable fortress guarding an important route connecting Prague with southern Bohemia. A rectangular residential tower, probably the oldest part of the castle, is notable for its unusual masonry. The palace courtyard with arcaded walkways was reconstructed in the 19th century.
The unique early Gothic St Wenceslas Chapel from the 13th century has been preserved in almost pristine condition. You can also admire the original Gothic wall paintings in the so-called Wedding Hall.
www.zamekzdar.cz Zámek 11, Žďár nad Sázavou 2
Žďár nad Sázavou UNESCO
In 1705, Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel was commissioned to restore this monastery, which had been destroyed by fire. Gradually, he built a church, cemetery and stables here. But the monastery was closed in 1784 and converted into a château. It now holds an exposition of Baroque art and a book museum. The pinnacle of Santini’s oeuvre was the nearby pilgrimage church of St John of Nepomuk, built in 1719–1722. Santini fully applied his characteristic Baroque Gothic style, based on the striking contrast of these styles.
www.zamek-zleby.cz Zámecká 1, Žleby
This château in the English Gothic style was once a Gothic castle. A romantic impression is created by the courtyard with two-storey arcades, a frequent setting for fairy tale films. A point of interest is the kitchen with its historical equipment. A tour takes you also to private rooms, representational halls, the library, the armoury, and the château theatre.
Published for CzechTourism by Česká produkční s.r.o. © Prague 2011 Text: Yvonna Fričová, Veronika Dlouhá Graphic design: Petr Novák SENS Expert adviser: Naděžda Kubů, PhDr. CSc. Photos: CzechTourism, fotobanka.cz, Ing. Milan Žoha, Vlach The data given cannot be guaranteed in spite of meticulous research.
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