Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Frýdlant Castle

sometimes cited also as Frýdlant v Čechách is a town in the Liberec District of the Liberec Region in the Czech Republic. It has approximately 7,500 inhabitants and lies in the historic Bohemia region on the outskirts of the Jizera Mountains.
The area once belonged to the Lordship of Zawidów (Seidenberg) in Upper Lusatia, held by the Bishops of Meissen. The town was first mentioned in 1278, when the Bieberstein noble family was enfeoffed with Friedland-Seidenberg by King Ottokar II of Bohemia and took their residence at Frýdlant Castle. Upon the extinction of the line in 1551, the lordship fell to the House of Redern.Meanwhile the Kingdom of Bohemia had become a part of the Habsburg Monarchy. Christoph von Redern opposed Emperor Ferdinand II during the Counter-Reformation and after the Defenestration of Prague was among the uprising Bohemian Protestant estates, who were defeated at the 1620 Battle of White Mountain. Redern saved his life, but his lands were seized by the Emperor and given in reward to his General Albrecht von Wallenstein, who titled himself "Duke of Friedland" and took his residence at Jičín. The nominal sovereignty of Friedland-Seidenberg was also revoked at this time. Until 1918, FRIEDLAND in BÖHMEN was part of the Austrian monarchy (Austria side after the compromise of 1867), head of the district with the same name, one of the 94 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Bohemia. In 1875, a railway line Liberec - Frýdlant - Zawidów was put into operation. Lines to Mirsk (Friedberg) and the Frýdlant–Heřmanice Railway to Zittau followed soon. The new town hall was erected in 1893 according to plans by the Viennese architect Franz Neumann. In 1938, it was occupied by the Nazi army as one of the municipalities in Sudetenland. The German-speaking population was expelled in 1945 (see the Beneš decrees) and replaced by Czech settlers.
In the 13th century the castle was held by the Ronovci House. It was first mentioned in 1278, when the Bohemian king Přemysl Otakar II removed the lordship from the Ronovci and gave it to Rulek of Bieberstein. The nowadays building consists of a Gothic castle with a high tower and a Renaissance chateau. The castle had a museum as early as 1801 and today is one of the most visited in the Czech Republic. 

Rožmberk Castle

Rožmberk is a castle situated in South Bohemia near Rožmberk nad Vltavou in the Czech Republic. Considered as one of the oldest castles in Bohemia, it stands on a promotory carved out on three sides by the river Vltava. It was first mentioned in 1253 in a document signed by Vok "von Rosenberg". It is regarded as the cradle of the House of Rožmberk, also known as the "Lords of the Rose", a historical Czech aristocratic family. 
The Rožmberk castle was founded in the first half of the 13th century either by Vítek the Younger of Prčice, or by his son Vok of Prčice, a member of the powerful Vítkovci family (Witikonides in Latin; Witigonen in German) who later styled himself Vok of Rožmberk (Vok de Rosenberch) after this castle. The original castle, known as Horní hrad (Upper Castle), consisted of a high tower known as the Jakobínka (9,6 m diameter) with corbelled raparts and a palace. The structure was completely surrounded by castle walls with a moat. Within a short time, a tributary town grew in the barbican. The castle became the administrative and economic centre of the family's lands, a part of which Vok gave to the newly established Cistercian monastery in Vyšší Brod. In 1302, when the cadet Krumlov branch of the Vítkovci died out, Vok's offspring inherited Český Krumlov and they settled there permanently. After 1330 Jindřich of Rožmberk built the Dolní hrad (Lower Castle), which was defended by ramparts placed above the moat, which was cut through the neck of the rock. In 1420 Oldřich II of Rožmberk (1403–1462), father of Perchta of Rožmberk, the White Lady, was forced to pawn the castle to the Lords of Walsee from Austria to get money to finance the army he was fielding against the Hussites. The loan was paid off, but in 1465 the castle was pawned again to the Lobkovic family. This loan too was paid off. The Starý (Horní) hrad (Old or Upper castle) burned down in 1522 and was never rebuilt. In 1600 Petr Vok of Rožmberk bequeathed the castle and its estates to his nephew Johann Zrinski of Seryn (1565–1612), son to Nikola Šubić Zrinski. Zrinski rebuilt the Lower castle in Renaissance style. When he died in 1612, the estates were inherited by the Švamberks, relatives of the Rožmberks. But they soon lost the castle because all their estates were confiscated after the Battle of White Mountain by Emperor Ferdinand II, who gifted it to the commander of the Imperial army, Charles Bonaventure de Longueval, Count of Bucquoy, who played an important role in the suppression of the rebellion of the Czech Estates. The Buquoys, whose main residence was in Nové Hrady, repaired and altered their family seat (1840–57), remodelling the building in the style of Romantic Neo-Gothic, and keeping it until 1945 when it was nationalised after the end of World War II.
The castle was opened to the public in the middle of the 19th century as one of the first museums in Bohemia. The Rožmberk tradition is represented by the Renaissance sgraffito decoration of the outside facades and beautiful painted decorations of the interiors. The Gothic fortress was changed during the Renaissance era and then in the 19th century within the "Tudor Gothic Passion" period. The last owners of the castle, the Buqouy family (who were Czech nobles of French origin), transformed it into a museum open to the public, one of the first museums in the Bohemian land. The main palace, with its architectural features of several historic styles, shelters a unique collection of Baroque furniture and paintings as well as a wonderful Renaissance Hall with a famous "musical niche" in the so-called Knight's Hall. The message "Loves disappear, colours fade" was discovered in 2004 carved on a wall in the Knight's Hall. This was done by Spanish soldiers in the 17th century. The interiors, mostly renovated in the Neo-Gothic style, are furnished with valuable pieces of furniture, some of which feature custom wood carvings commissioned for the museum. Neither the style nor the furniture of the castle have been changed since its reconstruction in the Romantic style was completed. The castle picture gallery contains several valuable Czech and European paintings from artists of the Late Renaissance and Baroque eras, such as Bartholomeus Spranger, Karel Škréta, Jan Kupecký, and Norbert Grund. Among them the painting of Perchta, "the White Lady" of Rožmberk, one of the most famous ghosts in Bohemia. She has supposedly appeared several times during the centuries since her death. A local legend has it that if one understands what is written in secret signs on the picture, this one would free her and find a silver treasure. The armoury contains a unique collection of stabbing and cutting weapons, firearms, war relics, and heraldic emblems. The picture gallery is full of remarkable paintings dating as far back as the Renaissance era. The bronze elephant sculpture in the courtyard is a copy made in 2003. The original elephant from 1916 was stolen by Nazis and was lost for 50 years standing here in the yard. The owners found it and it was given back to them to make amends for the Holocaust. Now the elephant is back home in Switzerland and the copy is here to delight visitors, who gently touch it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Orlík Castle

Orlík Castle is a chateâu located 500 m northeast of the village of Orlík nad Vltavou, in the northern part of the District of Písek, in the South Bohemia Region of the Czech Republic. The original position of the chateâu, on a rock 60 m above the Vltava valley, was altered by the creation of the Orlík reservoir in 1954-62, and the chateâu is now barely a few metres above the water level. The meaning of the name Orlík stems from the word "young eagle" (Czech: Orel). It is often suggested that this castle would have resembled an eagle or nest perched upon the rocky outcrop above a turn in the River. Orlík was established as a royal castle beside a ford across the River Vltava in the second half of the 13th century, probably by Přemysl Otakar II, although in the Middle Ages it came into the hands of noble families and its ownership changed many times. From 1408 the Zmrzlík of Svojšín family owned it, and during their time the Hussite Captain Jan Žižka of Trocnov stayed in the castle.[5] In 1508 the castle burned down, and was rebuilt as a Renaissance chateâu by the new owners, the Lords of Švamberk. In 1623 the Eggenbergs acquired Orlík, and in 1717 it was inherited by the Schwarzenbergs. At the beginning of the 19th century it became their main residence. The most famous member of the family was Field Marshal Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg, who was victorious over Napoleon in the Battle of Leipzig in 1813. In 1802 the chateâu was burned out, and during the subsequent repairs a fourth storey was added to the building. The current Romantic Gothic appearance dates from 1849 to 1860, when partial remodelling in this style was carried out according to plans by Bernard Gruber. The Early Gothic style castle of Orlík was confiscated by the Communist Regime after 1948, but in 1990s was reverted to the Schwarzenbergs. Access to the chateâu is by a stone bridge across the oat. Three round towers rise above the main façade, one of them being the original, built in the 14th century. The passage into the chateâu is cut into the rock and leads to a trapezoidal courtyard, with arcades on the ground floor. The oldest building is the former palace, which dates from the 14th century and forms the north side of the courtyard.The interiors are mainly in the Empire style, from the first half of the 19th century. The Lovecký sál (Hunter's Hall), with quadripartite ribbed vaulting, is original Gothic, and the chapel, also dating from the Gothic period, has a net vault. From an artistic point of view, the most valuable rooms are the state rooms on the first floor; the Greater and Lesser Knight's Halls; Hunting Hall; Blue and Empire Saloons; Library, and the Gun Corridor. The interiors are furnished in the style of the period and feature the family's collection of art works. Adjoining the chateâu is an English style large park, covering 143 hectares, with native and non-native species of trees and shrubs, and a greenhouse with a collection of fuchsias. The Pseudo-Gothic Schwartzemberk vault is situated in the western part of the park.

The Castle in Nové Město nad Metují

The Castle in Nové Město nad Metují - http://travel-for-impressions.blogspot.cz/

The history of the castle in Nové Město nad Metují is nearly identical with that of the town itself.  The castle is an integral part of the town's historical preservation area. Both the castle and the town were established in 1501. In the middle of the 16th century the castle was rebuilt in the Renaissance style, and again in the mid-17th century it was rebuilt in the Baroque style. The castle and garden were redone for the last time by the architect Dusan Jurkovic in the years 1909-1915 at the request of the industrialist family Bartoň-Dobenín. During the tour you can see original interiors from that time in the Art Noveau and Art deco styles. Pavel Janák, as well as many other influential Czech artists, contributed to the decorations. In the area surrounding the castle, small Baroque statues by Matthias Bernard Braun attract the attention of visitors. 

Křivoklát Castle

The castle of Křivoklát belongs to the oldest and most important castles of the Czech princes and kings. The history of its construction starts in the 12th century. During the reign of Přemysl Otakar II. a large, monumental royal castle was built to be later rebuilt by king Václav IV. and even later generously enlarged by king Vladislav of Jagellon. The castle of Křivoklát was seriously damaged by fire several times. It became a feared prison and its importance sank rapidly. First during the Romantic époque of the 19th century (when under rule of the family of Fürstenberg that owned the castle until 1929) the castle was reconstructed - and saved. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Castle Kost

Kost castle is located in the Czech Republic, 80 Km north of Prague. This fortress was originally built after 1371, probably by  Beneš of Wartenberg, who  had  the long hall and tower  erected as a defensive castle. It was then acquired, in 1456 by John Hasenberg, but  he took part in a rebellion against his king ,George of Podebrad and  his son sold Kost castle and the castle Trosky to John of Schellenberg, in 1490. After 50 years, Jan of Biberstein had  the “Renaissance”  wing of the castle built, with the big kitchen. His niece inherited Kost castle, and her husband, Krisof Popel of Lobkowitz, added the brewery, the “Lobkowitz” palace and other farm buildings, which were fortified and joined to the castle. Albrecht of Waldstein’s plans to redesign Kost into a country home while remaining a stronghold were halted by his death in 1634. In 1635, a part of Kost Castle was destroyed by fire after which it ceased to be inhabited by the proprietors.  Bought by the Czernins of Chudenicz, the castle apartments were used as granaries at end of the 17th century. The Castle suffered during the 30-years-war and was supposed to be destroyed. After 1867 Kost castle was in part reconverted in neo-gothic style. In 1798 Casimir Netolitzky bought Kost and the surrounding lands and entailed the property,ensuring inheritance by male primogeniture. Kost castle later passed  by marriage to the dal Borgo Netolický family (1889)  and then to the Kinský dal Borgo family (1993). Kost Castle is dominated by the angular White Tower, which is five storeys high, the south-eastern part pointing towards the Plakánek valley. The tower is a part of the battlements erected from stone blocks. It was destined to the defence. The mansarde roof dates only from the 18th century. The Castle has a smaller cylindrical tower from the end of the 14th century close to  the main gate. Today Kost Castle is one of the major tourist attractions in the Czech Republic, also thanks to its charm, facinating exposition of authentic weapons and lifestyle in the middle ages. It is located in one of the most attractive regions of the Czech Republic: the "Český Ráj" meaning Czech Paradise due to the beauty of its nature and landscape. Visitors of Kost castle can enjoy the magical atmosphere of the surrounding forests and lakes while taking a bike tour or even tour the countryside by horse. The castle offers cultural visits but also many attractions such as a medieval tournament which happens under the castle walls. You can also get married at Kost castle or have your company event in one of the most beautiful and authentic Gothic castles in the Czech Republic. Kost castle in fact can be hired for a variety of events including weddings, company events, filmings and concerts. If your dream is to taste the life of the middle ages you can also rent the accomodation within the castle premises, which is comfortable, romantic, and offers a unique view. 

The Konopiste Castle

The Konopiste Castle was originally founded as a gothic fortress guarding a nearby town of Benesov. Being founded at the end of the 13th century by Tobias of Benesov, it was built at the beginning of the 14th century, following the model of french castles called "castels". The first touch to a medieval structure of the castle was made in the 15th century by Jiri (George) of Sternberk and was followed by Hodejovsky family in the 17th century, who converted the castle into a renaissance mansion. However, the most significant alteration took place in the 18th when members of the Vrtba family rebuilt the castle into a baroque residence. The utterly most important and famous owner of the Konopiste Castle was the archduke Fratisek (Franz) Ferdinand d'Este, a successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne whose assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 became a pretext of the the World War I. This man bought the Konopiste domain in 1887 from the Lobkowitzs family and converted it into a magnificent seat of a Heir. The Chambers were richly decorated with the collections inherited from the Modena's archdukes of d'Este and numerous hunting trophies hanging on the walls as silent witnesses of Franz Ferdinand´s hunting passion. After visiting the interiors of the castle, a close baroque Rose Garden with a Greenhouse provides visitors of a serene place to stroll and absorb the whole experience of their visit of the Konopiste Castle.