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Did you know that...

 
 
The word ROBOT is of Czech origin. It's invented bij the writer Karel Capek, who wrote the novel "R.U.R." ("Rossum's Universal robots"). In the book he describes his fear for an overtechnologized world. Both "Dollar" as "Dinar" is derived from a coin called "Tolar" (or "Joachimstaller"). These coins were first minted in the Czech town Jáchymov.
The Jewish community in Prague exists since the 10th century. The Altnai Synagogue (build around 1270) is the oldest synagogue north of the Alps that's still in use. The American "Budweiser" has its origins in the town of Ceské Budejovice (Bohemian Budweis), which has been producing the beer, "BUDVAR" for three hundred years.
 
 
 
 
Castletour

 
At this interactive castletour you can visit 10 of the most famous Czech castles. On the map you can also see where they are situated.
 

 
Ceský Krumlov

This castle is situated in South Bohemia and is founded in the 13th century by Vítkovec.
Ceský Krumlov is the biggest Czech castle of the Middle Ages that's still intact. In 1302 it became the principal seat of the family Rozmberk. The castle was several times rebuild and enlarged, including the adjustments in Renaissance style of the 16th century. From this time descends the Hall of Masks which is richly decorated with paintings from the time of commedia dell' arte. Other curiosities are the Baroque palace theatre, the old riding school and the Bellary summerhouse.
 

 
 
Hluboká nad Vltavou

Hluboká which is build in Tudor style, is the most eye-catching castle in the Czech Republic. The late Gothic chateau was build in the 13th century by the Premysl family and in 1661 bought by the family Schwarzenberg. The typical English style gives the castle a fairy-like nature, which is surrounded by a vast chateau park.

 
 
 
Karlstejn

A Gothic castle that was build by Emperor Charles IV in the years 1348-1357. The faundation-stone was laid in the period that Nové Mesto in Prague was founded.
In the first instance, the chateau was used as a depository for the imperial crown jewels. In cause of the Hussitic wars they were moved to the Hungarian city of Visegrád. At the end of the 16th century the castle was provided with fronts in Renaissance by the architect U. Aostali. Between 1887 and 1899, B. Schmidt and J. Mocker gave the castle his original interior back. How the interior looked like in Charles time, can be seen in the Imperial Palace. Models are showing how the rooms were fitted up with wooden wall-lining and ceramic floor-tiles. In the minster of the Virgin Mary, you can see original fresco's from the 14th century with scenes of the Apocalyps. A narrow corridor leads you the Catherine chapel, which is decorated with semi-precious stones. By the way, the chapel was the private prayer-room of Charles. The most famous place is the Cross chapel in the Big Tower, where only the Emperor and his court priest were allowed. In this room, Charles kept the crown jewels. The glass dome is adorned with golden stars and on the wall were hanging 127 paintings from Master Theodorik. The portait collection of saints, angels and profets are now renovated. You can see a few of the panels in the Prague St George's Convent.
 
 
 
Konopiste

This originaly Gothic castle was build according to the model of the French castel. From the 14th to the 17th century, the Sternberk family lived here. After the Battle on the White Mountain, Wallenstein moved in, and shortly after that followed bij Pavel Michna of Vacínov. At the end of the Thirty Year's War, the Swedish army brought about big damage to the castle. When Jan Josef of Vrtba bought the chateau in 1716, he cared for the restorations in Baroque style.
Archduke Francis Ferdinand bought Konopiste in 1887. His greatest hobby was hunting, of which the trofees are decorating the staircase. In 1914, the Austrian pretender to the throne was murdered with his Czech lady Sophie Chotek. This heralded the First Wold War.
 
 
 
Krivoklát

This royal hunting lodge was build around 1100 for the first Premyslidic princes. Charles IV spended there a part of his youth, but also later on he liked to stay in the castle. In 1422, Vladislav Jagiello moved in and let there build a vaulted Gothic hall that has many resemblances with the Vladislav Hall in Prague Castle.
Also Ludvik Jagiello stayed there, but after that the castle lost much of it's meaning. The Habsburgs kept there Hussites locked up and in 1597 and 1643 it burned down. After that the estate became in possession of the Schwarzenberks, followed by the Wallensteins and finally the Fürstenbergs. After the fire of 1826 Josef Mocker and Kamil Hilbert performed an extensive restoration.
 
 
 
Kunetická Hora

Until the 15th century there ain't any document about the existence of a castle on a hill near Pardubice. At first during the Hussitic Wars, Kunetická Hora became an important point of support. The Pernstejns performed the largest rebuilding of the castle (1491-1548), whereby representative rooms came to existence like the Knights' Hall. At the beginning of the 20th century the castle was renovated by D. Jurkovic.
 
 
 
Mikulov
 

This originally Gothic castle is dated from the 13th century and lies on a hill in the town of the same name. After a first rebuilding in Renaissance style it became it's present Baroque view in 1719. Mikulov is situated in Moravia which is especially famous for it's wine. In the castle there is an exhibition about viniculture and wine-production. There is also a wine-cellar with enormous casks.

 
 
 
Prague Castle
 

No any Czech castle is so famous as Prague Castle. It was first build by the Premysl kings on a hill in the Vltava valley, which was used by heathenish priests. Between 870 and 1135 the importance of Prague castle was minor. Regulary the wooden buildings felt a prey to fire. As late as stone churches and palaces were build, the Czech princes moved to the fortified Roman fort. The castle knew the biggest prosperity under Charles IV, who had ambitious plans with the palace and the St. Vitus' cathedral. In 1383 Charles' son Václav moved to the palace in the Old Town. Just 100 years later someone settled down again in the Castle, especially Vladislav Jagiello. After the Battle of the White Mountain (1620) the Habsburg emperors ignored their Prague residence. By that there are only a few marks of Baroque architecture. Under Maria Theresia signs of Rococo and Classicism were placed. The Castle was only used to accommodate army garrisons and foreign monarchs. The National Revival brought and and to the decay. The St. Vitus' cathedral was completed with a western wing and the presidents uses Prague Castle as his principal seat since 1918. When the flag waves above the royal palace the president is present.
 

 
Velké Losiny

What the architecture concerns is Velké Losiny, which is situated in North Moravia, definitely worth it. This renaissance castle of the family Zerotín has a magnificent gallery at the inner court and a Baroque annex. After a period of time the castle had been able to lodge a large collection of paintings.
 

 
Veltrusy

The Chotek family had this castle build in the 18th century. The Baroque country seat has the shape of a cross, with in the middle a dome hall. The interior consists of baroque stucco and Rococo paintings. the 741 acres wide estate is constructed to the example of an English deer park. It stretches away to the Vltava and contains rare species of trees and plants. In the parks are summer-cottages from the Romantic time.

 
 
 
 
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The 'Flemish Czech and Slovak Society'
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Last time updated on 28-02-01