Following in the Footsteps of Czech Nobility

Following in the Footsteps of Czech Nobility

In the Czech Republic you have a unique opportunity to not only visit châteaux belonging to old Czech aristocratic families, but even the seat which the aristocrats still occupy today.

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Visit the residences of the Schwarzenberg, Šternberks, and Lobkovic families.

1.The Schwarzenberg family

The Schwarzenberg family is one of the prominent European aristocratic families and has played an important role in Czech history. In the past, the family owned many castles and châteaux in the Czech lands, some of which you can still visit today. The Southern Bohemian Třeboň Château has been owned by this family since 1660, and they have enhanced the château with Baroque additions, mainly in the exterior courtyard. The royal line of Schwarzenbergs owned the château until 1940, when it was seized by the Gestapo. After the war ended, the Třebon Château was nationalised in 1947. Today it is managed by the National Historic Heritage institute, and it offers visitors the chance to explore 3 tour routes as well as historic exhibits. The State Castle and Château of Český Krumlov after Prague Castle is the second largest castle and château complex in the Czech Republic. The Schwarzenberg family owned it from 1719 to 1947, and during the second half of the 18th century they reconstructed it to Viennese Baroque style. However, from 1871 they had their seat in Hluboká, so Krumlov lost its importance. Hluboká Château belonged to the Schwarzenberg family from 1661, and it soon became their seat. Today it is one of the most attractive landmarks for tourists, not only in Southern Bohemia, but in the Czech Republic as a whole. If you want to visit a château that this aristocratic family still owns today, then head to the Orlík Château in Southern Bohemia. Although aristocrats no longer live at the château, from April to October there are tour routes that include museum rooms and areas that represent Empire-style and hunting.

2.The Šternberk family

The Šternberk family is an old Czech aristocratic family, which was first mentioned in the middle of the 12th century. The family currently takes care of several castles and châteaux. Throughout the year you can visit the Old Bohemian Gothic Castle of Český Šternberk (except for the family’s private areas). You will find the Baroque Château of Jemniště south-east of Prague, and it is also accessible to the public and offers tours enabling visitors to view 9 lounges and rooms and finally the Chapel of St. Joseph in the ground floor. Častolovice Château in Eastern Bohemia was purchased from the Šternberk family in 1694, and it still belongs to them today. The current owner Diana Phipps Sternberg still lives at the château and manages and takes care of it. In 15 rooms at the west wing there is an exhibit set up which will familiarise you with the aristocratic family’s way of life in the period from the Renaissance through the Baroque area to the Biedermaier era from 1815 to 1848.

3.The Lobkovic family

The Lokkovic family is and old Bohemian chivalric and later manorial aristocratic family originating from the 14th century. Nelahozeves Château, just 35 km north of Prague, was returned to the family after the Velvet Revolution, and the Lobkovic family have opened to the public their entire famous Lobkovic collection of artefacts and their beautiful château premises. You can also view the everyday lives of the influential aristocratic family in Bohemia in the 19th century. Another building owned by the Lobkovic family is located directly at Prague Castle. It is the Lobkovic Palace, and it is the only privately owned part of Prague Castle. The palace is accessible to the public, and visitors to it can also view the Lobkovic family’s art collection. You certainly also should visit their château in Mělník, which is one of the dominant landmarks of the Central Bohemian town of Mělník. Some parts of the château are accessible to the public, particularly those where artistic collections of the Mělník branch of the Lobkovic family have been placed. Paintings of Czech Baroque Masters are also available for viewing there. For example, you can find items there such as the sgraffito from 1553, which is one of the oldest in Bohemia!

4.The Kinský family

The Kinský family is an old Czech chivalric and later royal and princely aristocratic family originating from the beginning of the 13th century. In the 18h century, the family even belonged to the primary Central European aristocracy. Their Empire-style New Château in Kostelec nad Orlicí in Eastern Bohemia originates from the first half of the 19th century and is a protected cultural heritage site of the Czech Republic. When it was returned to the hands of the Kinský family in 1991, it was in catastrophic condition. Josef Kinský gradually restored all of the buildings at the site, and the restoration and granting of access to the main building was completed by his son, František Kinský. The château is accessible to the public and offers a tour focused on life in the Biedermeier era, exhibits in the Kinský Gallery, concerts and festivals.  During the tours, you may be lucky enough from time to time to be guided through the château by the owner himself, František Kinský!