What’s New in Castles and Chateaux in 2016?

What’s New in Castles and Chateaux in 2016?

The tourist season is starting in the Czech Republic and the gates of castles and chateaux are opening. Has this year brought anything new to the grand halls and majestic chambers?

The Czech Republic dedicated the year of 2016 to Charles IV, of the House of Luxembourg, who was born seven hundred years ago. This round anniversary will also be marked by Czech castles and chateaux, which are going to open at the end of March/beginning of April as the tourist season starts. They have prepared a lot of new things for 2016, many of them associated with the time of Charles IV and the Luxembourg rule. Let yourself be inspired for a trip and go to see the Royal Treasure in Karlštejn Castle and the art of war in Točník or Křivoklát Castle. Before reading on, we want to bring you some good news: Czech castles and chateaux are not putting up their admission fees in 2016. In addition, they have lifted the ban on photography!
Apart from natural beauty the Czech Republic boasts priceless monuments. Twelve of them are inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, an impressive number considering the size of our Central European country. Nonetheless, that’s not all – one must not forget various other forts, castles, strongholds and chateaux which altogether number over a thousand. Some have been standing for centuries and still they keep up with the times! In 2016 many of the sites lifted the ban on photography, however with some restrictions still in place – such as no flash photography, no selfie sticks or tripods. Regardless, you will be able to take nice photos from the interiors of old forts or romantic chateaux without these tools and then boast to your friends with a selfie from the quarters of noble ladies or an armoury of brave knights dating back to the times of the legendary Emperor Charles IV.


Karlštejn, Křivoklát, Veveří and Točník Castles, and, of course, Prague

The centre of the celebrations commemorating the 700th anniversary of the birth of this great ruler will be located in Karlštejn Castle, which owes its foundation not far from Prague to none other than Charles IV who had it built as a fortress to guard the precious Crown Jewels. The castle’s main event of the year will be an exhibition titled The Karlštejn Treasure, Culture of the Imperial Court of Charles IV. So in this medieval castle you will be able to view items that used to adorn both noble men and women in the 14th century. The exhibition will be open throughout the whole season. Charles IV and his times will also be celebrated in Veveří Castle near Brno, which used to be the main royal residence in Moravia. Charles IV and his legacy will be marked in Kašperk Castle, in South Bohemia.

Commemorative roses to honour Charles IV and his rule, which brought the Czech Land prosperity and fame, will be planted at Křivoklát Castle in Central Bohemia. This region will stage some other celebrations in the spirit of Charles IV’s era in 2016. His son, Wenceslas IV, will be remembered at Točník Castle, which was founded by this offspring of the famous King and Emperor. The castle exhibition will be appreciated especially by those who are interested in the art of war. From early May Točník Castle will hold an exhibition of manuscript depictions and models of military and warfare technology called Bellifortis

Kašperk © Pavel Ouředník

Obviously,  Prague Castle is not going to lag behind and will stage a varied programme to mark Charles IV’s anniversary. For the upcoming season it has prepared a plethora of exhibitions and events bringing the 14th century to the present day. It will put on an exceptional display of the Crown Jewels, and will cast some light on their history at a special exhibition. Charles IV’s exposition  will present him not only as a gifted statesman, but also as a man with ordinary everyday concerns. One of the exhibitions will be devoted to one of the greatest of Prague’s gems St. Vitus Cathedral, built on the orders of Charles IV.

Chateaux and other sites in the 2016 season

Take for example Veltrusy Chateau, situated north of Prague, which has already started its season and soon to follow is Zlatá Koruna monastery that eagerly awaits the return of the rare Gothic panel painting of the Madonna of Zlatá Koruna after nearly 80 years away. A somewhat untraditional exhibition titled A Chateau with the Smell of Petrol will be displayed in Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou, presenting the early 20th century phenomenon that enchanted the nobility and industrialists – the automobile.  Inscribed, together with the Archbishop’s Chateau, on the UNESCO list, the gardens in Kroměříž will stage the Garden through All the Senses programme. In the Flower Garden people with hearing impairments will be able to borrow a tablet with a self-guide app adapted for their needs, and the Chateau Garden has prepared programmes for the partially sighted providing them with the possibility to “see” the site by means of touch.

Hluboká nad Vltavou © Libor Sváček

A different sense will be aroused in the courtyard of Kuks Hospital, since a new herbal shop selling teas, blends and other products is to be opened here together with the new season. The guided tours in Náchod Chateau will acquire a new dimension thanks to a special footbridge, taking the visitors as far as the historical trusses and the sacristy of the Chateau Chapel. 

Quite unsurprisingly, we could not have named all of the new features and events set to take place in various parts of the Czech Republic. The perennial favourites among visitors are various castles and chateaux such as Švihov, Loket, romantic Bouzov, beautiful Hluboká and Lednice and Valtice, to name just a few. Pay a visit and discover for yourself what they have to offer in 2016.