Friday, November 22, 2013

Kokořín Castle

Kokořín Castle lies in the middle of a nature reserve on a steep rocky spur above the Kokořín Valley, north of the village of the same name. Originally, a medieval fortress carved in the local sandstone was built there in the days of the King Jan Lucemburský. The first recorded mention of Kokořín dates from 1320. In the same year Sir Jindřich of Osměchov recieved Kokořín manor from the nobleman Hynek Berka of Dubá who – some time in the middle of 14th century - had the original castle built. During the following centuries many prominent noble families owned Kokořín Castle for brief periods. These include, in the 15th century, the well-known warlord Jan Řitka of Bezdědice, Sir Aleš Škopek of Dubá who owned the castle during the Hussite wars, the lords of Klinštejn, Beřkov of Šebířov, Kuplíř, and Hrzán of Harasov gained control in the first part of the 16th century. Eventually, the castle ended up back in the hands of the noblemen of Berka. After the battle on Bílá Hora the possessions of the Berka family were confiscated and bought by the Wallenstein dynasty. After the death of Albrecht von Wallenstein the Kokořín castle was placed in the possesion of the king. By the 16the century the castle failed to meet the demands of the current living standards and had fallen into disrepair. After the Thirty Years War, Emperor Ferdinand III even ordered the castle to be ranked among the so-called "cursed" castles – ones that might no longer be maintained. The castle deteriorated rapidly and in following years it was owned in turn by a whole series of landlords. According to legend, the castle even came under control of robber barons, including Petrovský of Petrovice who spread fear throughout the region. By the end of the 19th century only ruins remained of the castle which, however, increasingly attracted the attention of a whole generation of poets and painters from the romantic period, e.g. K. H. Mácha, Josef Mánes and others. The castle entered into the general public’s awareness in 1895, when a model of its ruins was displayed by the Club of Czech Tourists at a national ethnographic exhibition in Prague causing the castle to be partially open for tourists. In the same year, the Kokořín manor, including the castle ruins, were purchased by Václav Špaček, a aristocrat from Starburg. He allocated a considerable amount of his finances to start complete reconstruction in 1911. Participants in the project for this imposing reconstruction were leading historians of the time (A. Sedláček, Z. Winter and Č. Zíbrt). The reconstruction was finished in 1918 by Václav´s son Jan Špaček who enhansed the original conception from cultural-patriotic dedication to the role of family memorial. Despite some objections to the style of reconstruction, based on the spirit of Late Romanticism, the project represented the first complete preservation of a medieval ruin in Czechia and its recovery by the public. After 1950, based on the agrarian reform laws, the castle was nationalized by the communist government. As late as in 2006, the castle was restituted to the hands of the Špaček family heirs. They intend to reassume the family tradition and keep this popular historical monument open to the public.

Castle Jindrichuv Hradec

The castle and chateau complex of Jindřichův Hradec, which has spread over the area of three and a half hectares in the course of the centuries, grew from an original Slavic fortified settlement from the 10th century on a rocky headland above the confluence of the Nežárka River and the Hamerský Brook. The shallow valley incision of the brook was used, in the oldest times, for an artificial water reservoir – the later pond Vajgar, serving for the defence of this important fortress.The construction of the mediaeval castle, called “Novum castrum“ (the New Castle) in the oldest preserved historical record from 1220, is connected with the name of Jindřich Vítkovec, the founder of the independent Vítek branch of the Lords of Hradec, which used the coat-of-arms with a golden rose in a blue field. At that time, the round Black Tower and the adjoining palace came into being. The castle, later enlarged into a magnificent chateau, served the Lords of Hradec as their main residence until the family died out in 1604. The members of the family essentially influenced all economic, political and cultural events in this region and representatives of each generation held important positions at the royal court. The importance of the Lords of Hradec was expressed in the gradual enlargement of the residence, from the solid Romanesque-Gothic castle into a majestic Gothic fortress with a complicated artistic solution and flawless fortification. In the latter half of the 16th century, under Adam II of Hradec, the castle underwent aAdam II of Hradec radical rebuilding to a representative chateau, after the example of the pretentious palaces of the Italian Renaissance. The castle fortress thus became a luxurious residence that satisfied the most demanding requirements of a Renaissance nobleman. Under the management of Balthasar Maggi and a number of other Italian builders, Adam’s building and the Spanish wing were built in the third courtyard, and both these buildings were linked by great arcades, and behind them, as the crown of the then building activity, a little music pavilion, the Roundel. This grand reconstruction practically completed the architectural development of the complex. Adaptations made by later owners were only of a partial character and almost did not affect the Renaissance shape of the chateau. Vilém Slavata of Chlum and at KošumberkThe last member of the family of the Lords of Hradec married Vilém Slavata of Chlum and at Košumberk in 1602, and after the death of her brother Jáchym Oldřich in 1604, he became the heir of the vast domain as well as the title “the ruler of the House of Hradec”. In Czech history he became known as the royal vice-regent, who was thrown out of the window of Prague Castle in the second defenestration in 1618. Over the ninety years of the rule of the Slavata family, the chateau did not undergo any essential construction adaptations. However, in the period of 1678 – 1696 the second arcade wing by the Roundel was built and in front of it the garden fountain was set. In 1693, Heřman Jakub Černín of Chudenice acquired the chateau byHeřman Jakub Černín of Chudenice marrying Marie Josefa of Slavata, who got Jindřichův Hradec as her share of the family heritage. The execution of important state functions and the relationship to the ruling House of Habsburg under the first Černíns brought to Jindřichův Hradec prominent visitors from among the members of the imperial court and other representatives of the European political scene. It was under the Černíns that the last major architectural remodelling of the chateau, which concerned the chapel, was carried out. In the years 1709 – 1735, the Gothic chapel of the castle was remodelled in the Baroque style after a design by F.M. Kaňka. In 1773, the chateau as well as the town were struck by a vast fire that destroyed a major part of the Renaissance interiors along with artistic collections. Temporarily roofed and abandoned by the lords, the chateau went on deteriorating. It was used as the economic centre of the domain, and the great arcades were turned into stables, the Roundel serving as a wood and game storage room and as stables. It was the wave of Romanticism that brought new interest in rescuing the chateau. In 1851, the family archives were brought from the Černín Palace into the remodelled premises of the chateau, which became the basis of the present State Regional Archives, still housed in the second chateau courtyard. In the early 20th century, the Viennese architect Humbert Walcher of Moltheim realised partial repairs and adaptations but some part of the chateau remained without repair. The Černíns owned the chateau until 1945, when it was confiscated, pursuant to Presidential Decree No.12/1945. The bad condition of the chateau complex kept on deteriorating and several buildings threatened to collapse. A general reconstruction was started in 1976 and lasted, with intervals, seventeen years. The chateau complex was rescued to the expense of 120 million crowns and reopened to the public in 1993. 

Zleby Castle

Zleby is a pretty village in the district of Kutna Hora in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It is called Zamek Žleby in Czech. The most famous attraction of this place is the Zleby Castle which is a very romantic Baroque style castle which can guarantee to satisfy all your imaginations of how an old castle should be with its architecture and surroundings. The Zleby Castle was first recorded in the late 1200s and is believed to have been built by Henry of Lichtenburg. It is also thought that the castle was initially built on an old foundation that was laid in the 13th century. Another recognized owner of the castle was Zleb of Agnes from whom it was bought by Emperor Charles IV and thus it became a royal asset. Other well known owners of the castle are Markvart of Wartenberg, Stephen of Opocno, Jaroslav of Opocno, Henry Lacembok Chlum and many others.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Buchlov Castle

The Buchlov castle is a royal castle that, along with Bare Hill (Czech: Holý kopec) and Saint Barbara’s Chapel, belongs to significant dominants of Chřiby mountains in Moravian Slovakia, which is a region in south-eastern Moravia, Czech Republic. The castle was built approximately in the first part of the 13th century, but archaeological finds suggest that the area around Buchlov castle was settled in the oldest periods of civilization. The function of the castle was defensive, agricultural and administrative as well. The first form of the castle had a similar ground-plan as buildings of that era. It was created by two massive prismatic towers situated on opposite parts of a rocky plateau. A high palace on the southern part of the yard was built at the same time and it was surrounded by a wall. The second constructional period proceeded already in 70’s of the 13th century. Another tower was built and in the second floor of this tower there was a chapel that belonged to the most valuable objects of early Gothic architecture of the day. There is an opinion that a model for this chapel was one of French royal chapels. Unfortunately, during later capturing of Buchlov Castle by armies of Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus in the second half of the 15th century, the chapel was destroyed so much that it was abandoned. It was replaced by two large rooms serving as store and depository. And although the castle was a permanent possession of a king until the 16th century, it was often given in pawn to aristocratic clans. Nobles of Cimburk owned it in the end of the 15th century. At that time a representative chivalric hall was built. In the year 1511 the castle was given to a private hold, and from the 16th to 18th century various Moravian clans changed its hold. The most important were the nobles of Žerotín, Zástřizl and Petřvald. Constructional work continued in Renaissance style. Some parts of the castle were added in baroque style. However, in 1701, the Buchlovice Castle was finished and in 1751 the owners moved there indefinitely. The last holders became earls of Berchtold’s clan in the year 1800. A family museum came into existence in the castle thanks to the brothers Leopold I Berchtold and Bedřich Berchtold. In the half of 19th century the museum was opened to public. The castle was confiscated on the bases of Beneš decrees in 1945 and became the ownership of Czechoslovakia. Later, it was also added to a list of national cultural monuments. Nowadays it is open to public. Day and night visits with many cultural programmes and actions are held during the year. Saint Barbara’s Chapel also called Barborka came into existence in the 13th century, and it was used as a funeral crypt for holders of a manor of Buchlov. Later it was rebuilt and finished in the year 1672. It is built in early baroque style on a cruciform plan with a central cupola. It is one kilometre far away from Buchlov castle. Two pilgrimage divine services are held to this day. 

Bouzov Castle

Bouzov Castle (Czech: Hrad Bouzov) is an early 14th-century fortress first mentioned in 1317. It was built on a hill between the village of Hvozdek and the town of Bouzov, 21 km west of Litovel and 28 km northwest of Olomouc, in Moravia, Czech Republic. The castle has been used in a number of film productions lately, including Arabela, Fantaghirò, and Before the Fall. Bouzov was established at the turn of the 14th century with the purpose to watch over the trade route from Olomouc to Loštice. The minor aristocratic Bůz of Bludovec family were its first recorded owners from 1317-1339. The castle also takes its name from the family. Ownership of the castles was then changed, and the Lords of Kunštát were among the most important medieval owners. According to tradition, the Bouzov castle is often connected with name of the most famous member of this noble dynasty, Jiří z Poděbrady was born in Bouzov in 1420 and was crowned Czech King in 1458. His original title was Jiří of Kunštát and Bouzov. In 1558 the castle burned down, and lost much of its majestic quality. In the course of centuries there were several changes of proprietors; the castle was owned by the lords of Vildenberk, margrave Jošt, the Haugvic and the Pod Štatský families, and in 1696 the barony was bought by the grand master of the Teutonic Order, the Rhenish palsgrave Fanciscus Ludovicus. As various noble families changed possession of Bouzov, in a similar way also its appearance was changed from an early gothic castle to a Renaisssance style. In the time of the lords of Bouzov, the castle played mostly a defensive and guarding role. It probably consisted of a tower and rampart and wooden dwelling houses. The Vildenberks built a stony manor on the western side which was taller than the rampart. Already in the 14th century the castle was significantly widened - a settlement with outhouses was constructed with a ditch and circumvallation, rampart with a 200-foot-high (61 m tall) watchtower and a moat wall built around the castle. During the rule of the Kunštát family, the manor was fortified with a new connected rampart with two bastions, and the moat wall was rebuilt with five round bastions. Later a round gun-bastion was erected and the tallest watchtower was repaired. In 1408 the castle passed into the hands of Viktorin of Bouzov. In 1499 the Haugvics started the construction of a palace on the eastern side and connected the northern and southern dwelling building. In the first half of the 15th century t was converted into a Hussite stronghold, serving as a prison for captured Swedes during the Thirty Years war. In the second half of the 16th century the castle burned out and remained uninhabited. About a hundred years later, the reconstruction of the castle began again with the remodeling of the southern wing. At that time the castle had already lost its defensive function and became an utterly dwelling object. With the arrival of the Teutonic Order, during the 18th century the castle also lost this function. Only the building in the outer settlement remained inhabited, and by the end of the 19th century the ruin of the castle became a tourist goal. The castle gained today's appearance after massive Neo-gothic reconstruction between 1895 and 1910.[3] The Grand Master of the Order of the Teutonic Knights from 1799 to 1939, archduke Eugen Habsburg, decided to rebuilt it in the Romantic, predoninantly Neo-Gothic style, according to the plans of the prominent architects of its time Georg von Hauberisser (1841–1922) of the Munich Polytechnic University; he was the author of Munich and Saarbrücken's town-halls, and also very influential as builder of churches like the St. Paul's church in Munich. The alterations were carried out with the intention of making part of the castle open to the public. Bouzov was fitted with modern furnishings and equipment, including running water and central heating. The order was abolished in 1939 and the castle was confiscated by the fascists, occupied and looted by the Nazis during the WW II. The castle was acquired by the Chief of the Gestapo R. Himmler, who forced the Strahov Monastery to sell it to him for one million crowns, as a present to A. Hitler. Hauberrisser's reconstruction of the Bouzov castle is unique in the was given tocontext of European romantic architecture. After 1989 the Order of Teutonic Knights expressed an interest in the castle, but their request to have it returned to them has so far been rejected. An eight-storey watchtower, 58 meters high, dominates the complex. The buildings are grouped around it in the form of a horseshoe, and the castle is enhanced by a number of towers, and among other things, bastions, battlements, oriel windows and loopholes. The two long bridges, ending with a short drawbridge, span the deep dry moat around the castle. The knights' hall, armoury, which is in one of the few original rooms with preserved Gothic vaulting, bedrooms of the knights and a neo-gothic chapel with its Gothic altar and tombs occupy the central part of the castle. The valuable furniture comes from the private collection of Eugen von Habsburg and the collection of the Order of the Teutonic Knights. Since 1999 the castle has been a national monument. 

Bitov Caslte

The ancient cultural landscape on the confluence of the Dyje and Želetavka rivers has been inhabited since Neolithic times. According to the local findings a Great Moravian fortified settlement used to stand near the castle in the 8th – 9th centuries. The castle was an important support point of the Premyslide dynasty. It was built on a narrow rocky promontory about 70 m above the surface of the river Želetavka, which flows around the promontory. The small town of Bítovec was established below the castle, and served as an important stop for merchants and pilgrims travelling from Austria towards Prague. The king entrusted Prince Conrad Oto to take control over the Premyslide castles. Later, during the reign of Přemysl Otakar I, Bítov became the centre of one of the Moravian regions – the Bítov district. The castle ruled over the areas of Slavonice, Dačice, Jemnice, Moravské Budějovice and Telč. The oldest preserved stone structure at the castle comes from these glorious days – the defence pointed-edge tower with Romanesque foundations. The first written note about Bítov comes from the foundation paper for cannonry at Stará Boleslav, dating back to 1046. The core of the document leads to the assumption that Bítov castle was founded by Prince Břetislav I. The continuous fortification line of castles protecting the Czech-Austrian border was established here, on the river Dyje, at the beginning of the 12th century. It is interesting that a similar fortification line was built also on the Austrian side to protect their land from Czech attacks (Raabs, Pernegg, Walkenstein, and other castles). After the death of the last male Premyslide (the murder of Wenceslas III in Olomouc), the castle, as a fiefdom, becomes the property of the old aristocratic family of the Lichtenburgs in 1307. The Lichtenburgs descended from the large Czech family of the Lords of Ronov. The founder of the family is thought to be Smil Světlický, the builder of the family castle of Světlík (Lichtenburg). The family became wealthy from their silver mines near the today’s Havlíčkův Brod. In 1278 Bítov was in the hands of Rajmund, who becames the founder of the Moravian branch of the Lichtenburgs. He was also the first Moravian Land  Marshall. During Rajmund’s days the castle went through substantial reconstruction – its centre moved higher up the rock towards the east where he had built a massive fortification with three more towers and a new residential quarter. The castle church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary was also newly built. To reinforce their powers the Lichtenburgs built another castle – Cornštejn (meaning sulky or truculent castle, from the German name of Zornstein). Rajmund’s sons Smil and Čeněk made the castle their permanent seat and started calling themselves the Bítov Lords of Lichtenburg. Bítov thus became one of the main Lichtenburg residences for the next 250 years.  The Lichtenburgs bravely fought on the side of the Czech kings against the Prussians, the Hungarians and the Turks. This is also why they always had great authority in Czech politics. The last male heir was Jindřich of Lichtenburg, who died on September 29, 1572, leaving the castle and property to his sisters. Bítov was held by Ludmila, who sold it to Austrian aristocrat Wolf Strein of Schwarzenau (marshal of Znojmo castle) in 1576. The following 36 years of Strein rule at Bítov was a mere episode. Wolf’s son Hanus Wolfart, inspired by the period’s great aristocrats of Italy, after purchasing a chateau in Uherčice launched a costly reconstruction, turning the castle into a renaissance seat in the style of North Italy, with arcaded courtyard and gardens. This, along with the demanding life of a renaissance cavalier (feasts, dances, mistresses, etc.) amassed an enormous debt, forcing him to sell his family holdings. Bítov was sold as the first of them in 1612. He also lost his beloved chateau in Uherčice. The Jankov Lords of Vlašim took their name from the village of Jankov near Benešov. Jan I Jankovský of Vlašim was the first to move to Moravia and in 1405 he is noted as a member of the Land Court. The Bítov dominion was bought by Fridrich Jankovský of Vlašim, one of the most powerful Moravian aristocrats in the aftermath of the events the White Mountain, being also one of the authors of the Moravian constitution. Moravian patriot Fridrich commissioned the building of an agricultural complex within the southern ramparts, establishing a successful brewery there. His son Hynek – imperial councillor and advisor to Emperor Ferdinand III wrote the first Czech work on hippology – The Equestrian Apotheque. During the two Swedish attacks he lent money to his vassals to pay a ransom and protected his castle by giving an unspecified number of beer casks free to the Swedes. In 1638 he extended the castle church and started building a residential palace with an arcaded courtyard and a gate tower. He established a new entrance to the castle and fitted a new bridge. From the outside part of the gunnery wall he attached the so-called Swedish chapel. After his death the castle was inherited by his son Maxmilian Arnošt I. Unfortunately he turned out to be a lunatic and the castle was run by his wife Alžběta. At that time the reconstruction of the southern wing was taking place – the characteristic supportive pillars were erected to reinforce the stability. Maxmilian II Jankovský of Vlašim married the heir of Dietrichsteins and Dauns in Vienna and as a close friend of Joseph I he was ennobled as a count. His wife was Catherine of Lemberg – the last heir of Adam Zrinsky – who brought the famous collection of weapons and her family library to the castle. After Maxmilian’s daughter Marie Johanna married countess Cavriani, and following a long dispute between the heirs, the castle ended up with the nephew of Maxmilian František – Count Daun. The Dauns were an ancient family, originating in the Rhineland town of Daun. Legend says that the name Daun comes from the Celtic “Dune”, which means hill. The time of their greatest social rise was during the Thirty Years’ War, when they were ennobled as counts for their military services. The field marshal and imperial advisor Vilém Jan Antonín Daun received citizenship in Bohemia and Hungary, as well as Moravia. One of his sons, Jindřich Josef, whose wife was the daughter of count Max of Vlašim, Marie Leopoldina, founded the Moravian-Austrian line of the family. Bítov was one of the seats of this line. The castle went through further construction development. A fountain was built in the place of the original well. The northern wing with castle kitchen is built. The Dauns built a theatre instead of an old granary, and on the northern side they added an Empire carriage shed with stables. A number of follies were constructed in the forest park (a rotunda, an ornamental well and the Love Lake), and the gardens were reconstructed too. František’s son Jindřich extended the castle church and tomb. The castle was adjusted to fit the New Gothic period style, complete with the palace interiors. After Jindřich’s death, despite the protests of his brothers Vladimír and Otakar, Jindřich’s widow Antonie Countess Voračická of Bissingen, sold all the furnishings of the palace. After the Dauns the castle was inherited by the Haugwitzs. The Haugwitzs are also an ancient family of Slavonic origin, coming probably from Meisen. Via the Haugwitz estate in Lusatia, from which they derived their name, they moved to Silesia. Their coat of arms was a black ram’s head on a red plate. In Moravia they appeared in the 14th century. In 1752 the Haugwitz counts bought the Náměšť nad Oslavou dominion, which became their family seat. It was Náměšť where they moved all the furnishings from Bítov, including the large collection of weapons. The most famous member of the family was Bedřich Vilém, a prominent politician, Czech and Austrian chancellor and advisor to Marie Therese, after 1759 awarded the Order of the Golden Fleece, and author of enlightenment reforms. In 1906 Bítov changed hands again; it was bought by Jan I Count Zamojski for three million Crowns. The Zamojskis were a Polish aristocratic family based in Poland, Russia, and Austria. Jan chose Bítov upon the recommendation of his relatives the Stadnickys from nearby Vranov. The Zamojskis were famous Polish politicians and military leaders. They spent only two years at Bítov, after which the castle went to František prince Radziwill. The Radziwill princes originated from Lithuania and they were the only princely family in the history of Bítov. Jiří, as a cardinal and bishop of Vilnius and Cracow was one of the candidates for Pope. In 1908 Bítov was taken over by the young prince František, nephew of count Jan Zamojski; he was a well-known conservative politician and leader of the Polish aristocracy. In 1912 František sold Bítov to an Austrian industrialist, Sudeten German Jiří Karel the elder, Baron Haas of Hasenfels.

Červená Lhotka Castle

The existence of an original fortress on the site of today's castle is assumed from sometime around the middle of the 14th century. The first written source is an entry into the land records from 1465, mentioning the division of the property of deceased Ctibor of Zásmuk, also of Vlčetín, between his two sons Petr and Václav. The fortress then might have been sold into the ownership of Diviš Boubínský of Újezd, who sometime around 1530 sold it to the knightly family of Káb of Rybňan. Of the Káb family, the most interesting character was undoubtedly the Knight Jan, a capable manager, active builder, and loyal Habsburg servant, who represented the prestigious office of tax collector in the Bechyňe region. His short life was tragically marked by the plague, which took five of his children in 1557. This might have been the reason that the simple castle chapel on the hill above the lake was built (today the chapel of the Holy Trinity). After Jan's death, Lhota was inherited by his three sons Bohuchval, Zikmund, and Jiří, who first had to compensate their older brother Jaroslav. Zikmund died four years later, and the families of the two remaining brothers Bohuchval and Jiří lived in Lhota at odds. The castle ceased to be their quiet home and became a theatre of squabbles, arguments, and personal assaults. It could be some of the stories captured in the memories of the occasional observers which gave life to the stories of the godless castle lady possessed by the devil, her tragic end marked by the bloody stain under the window on the then snow-white facade. This stain is said to have been the later reason to plaster the entire castle red. Such folklore later became the main motif of the enthralling prose of the Deštná priest Bedřich Kamarýt. In 1597 Bohuchval's son Jan bought his uncle Jiří's share of the castle, and instantly sold the reunited dominion to Vilém Rut of Dírná. The Rut family had owned Dírná since the 14th century, and had bought Deštná from the Rožmberks in 1595. Červená Lhota lay directly in the center and thereby joined the three dominions together. Lhota never was separated from Deštná again. The last of the Ruts, Bohuslav, had to leave the Bohemian lands as an Ultraquist after the Battle of White Mountain. In 1621 Červená Lhota was inhabited by Antonio Bruccio, a knightly commander of the Empirical army, an Italian noble who, in the service of the Slavats, oversaw the confiscation of Tábor and from 1621 served as commander of the municipal forces in Jindřichův Hradec. A fiery Catholic and great Marianic venerator, Bruccio proved to be a good diplomat and manager. He successfully protected the region from post-war pillaging, and strengthened the economic prosperity of Deštná by building a luxurious spa. The only remainder of the spa today is the chapel of St. John the Baptist, built directly above the source of the healing mineral waters. The dominion, evacuated by war, was shortly repopulated and Bruccio's own promise of loyalty to his Catholic subjects contributed to the settling of the area. In 1639 Bruccio died without an heir, leaving great contributions to the Deštná church of St. Otto and the Jindřichův Hradec church of St. John the Baptist, where he was buried. With his death, Lhota lost is function as a residence and served his successors simply as a simple occasional cotttage. After Bruccio's death, Červená Lhota passed into the management of the royal   chamber, from which in 1641 the renowned aristocrat Vilém Slavat of Chlum and Košumberk bought it. His drive, diplomatic skill, education, and high intelligence led him to a high official career. From the position of royal marshall to Karlštejn burgrave to the president of the Bohemian chamber, he became the highest court-master of the Empirical court and soon afterwards the highest chancellor of the Bohemian kingdom, where he remained despite several resignations until his death. His marriage to Lucia Otýlia of Hradec meant the integration into one of the largest dominions in Bohemia at the time, that of Jindřichův Hradec. Červená Lhota then became a sort of summer residence, a place of parties, celebrations, and relaxation namely for the ladies of the Slavat family. Among Vilém's great-grandchildren there were no sons, so with the wedding of the second-born daughter Marie Markéta of Ferdinand Vilém, the oldest of Vilém's grandsons, the castle passed into the hands of the Windischgrätz family. Bedřich Arnošt Windischgrätz and his son Leopold dragged the dominion into great debts due to their out-dated style of economics, so the custodian of his under-aged successor Josef recommended the sale of the dominion. In 1755 the castle then was obtained by the free lords of Gudenus. Franz de Paul, free lord of Gudenus, shortly afterwards initiated several constructions. Not only was the spa chapel in Deštná repaired, but the church of St. Otto was decoratively furnished, most of which is still preserved today. Other building activities were brought to an abrupt halt in 1774 by a great fire, which destroyed essentially all agricultural buildings. In 1776 Červená Lhota welcomed a new owner, Baron Ignác Stillfried, a progressive aristocrat of Prussian Silesia, who immediately sold the Deštná spas into private hands. This definitively marked the end of Červená Lhota's aristocratic flavor. The Baron wrote his chapter of history into the castle mainly as a host and sponsor of the aging composer Karel Ditters of Dittersdorf, whose lifelong pilgrimage ended here at the castle after a four-year residency. In 1820 Ignác's son sold the dominion to Jakub Veith. If this enterprising industrialist and sponsor of Czech artists had any plans with Lhota, he evidently didn't manage to realize any of them. His daughter Terezie sold the castle again in 1835, this time into the princely hands of Heinrich Eduard Schönburg-Hartenstein. Heinrich Eduard Schönburg-Hartenstein, a major in the Austrian army, diplomat and chamberlain, settled in his newly-purchased dominion Černovice in 1823, and bought Červená Lhota in 1835. The center of his dominion, however, was Černovice, which became Heinrich's second home after Vienna. It is curious, then, that he sold Černovice in 1872 and the only item he left for his son Josef Alexandr of his South Bohemian property was Červená Lhota. Josef Alexandr Schönburg-Hartenstein, member of the Crown Council, was also active in diplomatic services. His youngest son and heir was Prince Johann, chamberlain, bearer of the Order of the Golden Fleece, Great Cross of the Order of Leopold, Order of the Iron Crown, Great Cross of the Maltese Order and Order of Christ. His greatest diplomatic accomplishment was fullfilled in his role as ambassador at the Pope's table in the Vatican. The First World War and consequent dissolution of the beloved monarchy caused Johann to withdraw into the solace of his dearest seat, Červená Lhota, where he evidently devoted himself to the reconstruction of the castle. In 1937 he was buried into the newly-built tomb, and thus was spared the destructive events of the new war, which drew the curtains closed for the entire aristocratic history of Červená Lhota castle. After the confiscation of the castle by the Czechoslovakian state in 1946 a children's clinic was established here, a year later it was assumed by the National Cultural Commission, and in 1949 it was opened to the public.