Visit of water chateau Červená Lhota

and castle Jindřichův Hradec

         One of the most charmingly situated monuments, set in the romantic scenery of Bohemia is the South Bohemian water chateau Červená Lhota. It is located on a rock, which was turned into a small island by damming up the valley and raising the level of the surrounding pond. The yeoman's stronghold was bought by Jan Kába of Rybňany in 1530 and soon after rebuilt it as a Renaissance manor.

         After 1641 Lhota became the possession of the Slavatas, the nobility of the nearby town, Jindřichův Hradec. Before the middle of the 19th century E. J. Sch(nburg-Hartenstein ordered the manor exterior to be reconstructed in the spirit of Romanticism. At the beginning of the 20th century the battlement and other Gothic Revival elements disappeared. The architect, Hans Walcher of Moltheim, replaced them with pseudo-Renaissance gables with arches on top, which, today, characterize Červená Lhota.

         The manor as well as its interiors make a very cozy impression. Visitors will enter or only look into fourteen rooms furnished in a mostly Rococo and Baroque style and with works of art from Renaissance to 19th century. Outstanding examples of the collection are, for example, a portrait of Jáchym and Zachariáš of Hradec as infants (around 1529), Meissen china and a wall clock from the 18th and 19th century. The most exquisite of the rooms is probably the dining room with the ceiling decorated with stucco and a delicate sculptured decoration of the walls, followed by the study, whose decor is complemented by individual pieces of Renaissance furniture. It must have been pleasant to stay in the French Drawing Room with Rococo gilded furniture or in the tower room with a beautiful jewel box from 17th century.

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The castle Jindřichův Hradec

         The castle itself was founded by the branch of the Vítkovec family, the Lords of Hradec whose emblem displays a golden rose in a blue field. The town prospered under the sign of this rose for more than three hundred years until 1604.
         The founder of the branch was Jindřich Vítek, son of Vítek of Prčice. It was he who gave the name to the town. From the beginning, the Lords of Hradec lived in the castle gradually altering it and giving it the appearance of a Renaissance structure.

         The early 15th century Menhart Tower dominates the castle. One of its halls features an allegorical wall painting titled The Parliament of Birds. There is a legend attached to this tower, which tells of a ghost called the White Lady who used to appear at the births and the deaths of the Lords of Hradec.

         The Pilasters of the tower's arcade are typical of the new style then adopted from the Romance countries. Its construction continued under Jáchym of Hradec who was educated in Vienna. It was he who called on Antonio Ericer to undertake the remodelling of the castle. The renovations carried out in the style of the Italian Baldassare Maggi of Arogno, the master of the High Renaissance, were completed between 1584 and 1588. Antonio Ericer cooperated with G. M. Facconi in the building of the charming Renaissance roundel between 1591 and 1596. The Renaissance palace opens on to the courtyard through Italian-style arcades built by Antonio Melani. Jáchym's son Adam, under the influence of his wife Catherine of Montfort, caused the Jesuits to be summoned to the town and had a college built for them by Martin Vlach and Antonio da Sala.

         In 1596 the domain was inherited by the ailing last scion of the family, Oldřich of Hradec who bequeathed it to his sister, the wife of Vilém Slavata whose family retained the possession until 1694. The castle then came into the hands of the Černín family who resided there until 1945. Under the Slavata and Černín families the castle collections were enriched by the many valuable works of Czech Baroque artists such as Petr Brandl, Karel Škréta and others.

         Alongside the enlarged castle the town, too, grew in size and importance. The 13th century Franciscan monastery as well as the church of St. John with its fine murals dating from the first half of the 14th century are a testimony to this fact. On the south side of the sanctuary there is a chapel of St. Nicholas built approximately in 1369. Vaulted on to a single pillar, this is one of the earliest buildings of its kind in Bohemia.

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