Castles and Chateaux
Which one is the largest castle in the world? The one in Prague of course! You can wander around its courtyards, palaces, museums and garden all day long and whilst doing so, admire the overwhelming beauty of a place which has been the seat of Czech kings, emperors and presidents for a thousand years. The whole castle grounds are dominated by the monumental St. Vitus Cathedral.
A luxurious Baroque chateau surrounded by beautiful gardens and vineyards, the famous Prague Zoo and a set of botanical gardens packed with exotic plant life await you there. At first sight the Troja Chateau draws your attention with its monumental staircase. Inside the chateau don’t miss the impressive decoration and the famous works by Czech painters of the 19th century.
The Neo-Renaissance castle is only partially open to the public, but it is still possible to admire its beauty, for example, in the Knight’s Hall, which is a popular place for wedding ceremonies or in its courtyard. The chateaux park around was founded in 1885 by Count Ernst Emanuel Silva-Tarouca and besides a forest with exotic tree species you will also find large open meadows and alpine flowers in it.
Karlštejn Castle holds an absolutely exceptional position among Czech castles. It was established by the Czech king and Roman emperor Charles IV as a place to store the royal treasures, collections of holy relics and the crown jewels. The very impressive layout of the castle buildings from the settlement outside the castle walls right up to the Palace and the towers rising over it will captivate you with their ingenuity.
Chateau Český Krumlov
On a rocky projection, fringed by the river Vltava, lies the second largest castle and chateau complex in the Czech Republic – the State Castle and Chateau Český Krumlov. Since 1992, this architectural gem has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the town’s historic centre. The original Gothic castle consists of 40 structures and palatial buildings with five courtyards.
Chateau Hluboká nad Vlatou
Hluboká Castle is the ideal destination in South Bohemia for history buffs, incorrigible romantics and even those who worship sport. The castle owes its current appearance to the Schwarzenberg family and is often described as the most beautiful Czech castle. Hluboká Castle, which got its present appearance in the 19th century after a Neo-Gothic reconstruction, was originally founded as a guardian castle in the middle of the 13th century by Bohemian kings.
Bečov nad Teplou
The castle consists of an outer ward, of which merely the outlines are known, and a castle core situated on a rocky hilltop. In the second half of the 14th century a massive quadrangular tower or donjon was added to the north-western corner of the central section and surrounded with a ward. The architectural development of the castle was concluded by the construction of an early Renaissance section connecting both quadrangular towers.
The Protected Landscape Area of Křivoklát conceals a castle which, due to its excellent location surrounded by forests full of game, was a favourite of many Czech kings. This royal residence was built in the 13th century as a seat of the ruling Přemyslid dynasty. Vestiges of Czech kings and the splendour of their lifestyle is still evident today at every step. The halls of the castle witnessed many festivities and feasts, but also many consequential political talks and fateful diplomatic negotiations.
Bezděz is often called the “king of all castles” for its original early Gothic appearance, which has never been tampered with, unlike most other castles. For this reason it certainly belongs among the Czech Republic’s more intriguing places of interest. Bezděz is steeped in myths and legends; one of these claims that the local monks hid some treasure here. The unforgettable atmosphere of the castle is enhanced by the frequent costumed parades, medieval celebrations and theatre performances that take place here.
Chateau Červená Lhota
The summer house rebuilt from the Gothic fort in the 16th century was a place of amusement, celebrations and leisure. The existence of an original fortress on the site of today’s castle is assumed from sometime around the middle of the 14th century. At the beginning of the 17th century it obtained a new red brick roof and the facade.
This castle became a refuge for marauding knights and footpads, who threatened the wider surroundings. The ruin was “discovered” by young patriots in the romantic 19th century and many writers and painters sought their inspiration here. Until the end of the 19th century, it had already been only a deserted ruin for a long time. The castle is situated in a picturesque landscape full of sandstone and small lakes.
The seat of the first Czech kings on the strategic trade route at the confluence of Vltava and Otava rivers had reached its greatest fame in the 14th century under the reign of the beloved Czech sovereign Charles IV. He commissioned thorough reconstruction and until the construction of Karlštejn the Czech crown jewels were kept there. Its ancient history was rounded off in the 20th century by construction of a dam, which swallowed up the high rock below the castle and the fortified settlement around the castle.
The period of greatest glory of Orlík came after the year 1802 with Karl Philipp Schwarzenberg. A wooden castle like an eagle’s nest was built on a steep rock above the Vltava River in the 13th century and in later centuries it gained the appearance of a stone Gothic castle for the royal garrison. However, the rock and the settlement below the castle were swallowed up by a dam in the 20th century.
The royal castle allegedly got its name from the place where the River Ohře creates a charming bend in the shape of a human elbow (loket in Czech). Charles IV allegedly loved the place. You can visit the torture chambers inside the castle. You will also see an exhibition of porcelain with unique spa buttons and a romantic fresco dating back to the 15th century, which displays a view from the castle over gardens with fruit trees, flowers and birds in flight.
The sublime chateau of the Chotek family was in its time a prototype of a manor of a new generation. It fully represented the rich and politically influential family and manifested clearly the good taste of its owners, whose sideline was culture, arts and nature. The theatre and the library closed by a cupola like the Roman Pantheon have remained the most beautiful premises of the chateau even up to now. The snow-white beauty was built in the 19th century.
Chateau Hrádek u Nechanic
Though the chateau is hidden in the forest park it looks like an ancient English manor, it was founded only in the middle of the 19th century and ranks among the youngest chateau structures in the Czech Republic. Through this structure the Count František Arnošt of Harrach fulfilled his romantic dream of reviving the ancient glory of his aristocratic family and remembering their knightly past. The inspiration was drawn from his trips around England.
The nationalized chateau was plundered immediately after the end of the Second World War by the Red Army, which temporarily stayed there. Then the devastated facility was used by anyone until it had to be closed down due to its critical condition. In the last 25 years it has undergone an incredible transformation to its previous glamour. Beautifully furnished chambers again present the chateau’s history and the ground floor houses a unique exhibition of musical devices and music boxes.
The former summer residence of the Archbishops of Olomouc with its picture gallery and an extensive library is currently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The chateau, which was built on the site of a 13th century castle, is located in an unrivalled position, dominating the town. The Baroque chateau was built for the Bishop Charles II of Lichtenstein-Castelcorn at the end of the 17th century.
Visit Lednice Chateau and see marvellous representative halls, private rooms of the princely family, children’s rooms and a haunted cave! Lednice Chateau is the jewel in the crown of the Lednice-Valtice Complex and, at the same time, one of the most beautiful complexes in the English Neo-Gothic style in the whole of Europe.
It burned to the ground for the last time a few days before the end of the World War II, when the German Army was retreating. Thanks to the initiative of local inhabitants the chateau was soon sensitively restored and adjusted for the needs of the Regional Museum.
The medieval Bouzov castle is definitely one of those castles in Moravia, which you can’t miss. And not just because a number of movies that were filmed on its premises – from Czech fairy tales to the Italian princess Fantaghiro. Unlike other medieval settlements, this castle has never been ruined. Starting in the late 15th century it was in the hands of the Teutonic Knights. The castle acquired its present appearance after an extensive reconstruction in the late 19th century.
One of the most beautiful Moravian castles has stood deep in the forests of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands for almost eight centuries now. Set out to learn about the story of this magnificent seat of the Pernštejn family, walk its chambers, climb the fairytale tower and you may even meet the local White Lady. Pernštejn is not only a leading Czech monument, but thanks to its magnificence, also a place used by film crews from all over the world.
Český Šternberk Castle
Český Šternberk Castle, called the “Pearl of Posázaví”, towers above the central part of the river Sázava. The family that founded the castle still owns it today, and the current owner, Zdeněk Sternberg, lives here. In the castle you can see a unique collection of 545 etchings from the time of the Thirty Years’ War. The Český Šternberk Castle was built around 1241 by Zdeslav of Divišov, who named it after his coat of arms, an eight-pointed star.
For over seven centuries, Špilberk Castle has dominated the skyline of Brno, a reminder of the safety and protection. However, there have been times in the history of Brno when the baroque fortress inspired fear, and represented oppression for the citizens of the city. It was the heaviest prison in the Austro-Hungarian empire (the infamous „dungeon of the nations“), and then a barracks. Today, Špilberk houses the Brno City Museum. It was certified as a national heritage monument.
Enter the realm of the elegant Italian Renaissance, walk through the wonderful chambers of the chateau and discover the place that is sought out by filmmakers from all over the world due to its picturesque and unique charm. After this you will certainly be convinced that the Telč Chateau is more than worthy of being one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.