The monumental Nelahozeves Castle, one of Bohemia's finest Renaissance castles, is situated on a gentle slope overlooking the Vltava River in the village of Nelahozeves (birthplace of the great Czech composer Antonín Dvořák), approximately 35 km north of Prague.
Nelahozeves Castle was built for Florian Griesbeck von Griesbach (1504–1588), a highly educated Tyrolean aristocrat and private secretary and close adviser to Emperor Ferdinand I. It took over 60 years to build the castle and it was planned as a two-story building with four wings and four corner pavilions. When Florian died in 1588, his son Blažej inherited the castle, and construction continued until the beginning of the 17th century. In 1623, the family's financial difficulties forced Florian's granddaughter to sell the encumbered estate to Polyxena, 1st Princess Lobkowicz (1566–1642).
Following the war, Polyxena's son, Václav Eusebius, 2nd Prince Lobkowicz (1609–1677), High Chancellor of the Czech Kingdom, reconstructed the building and used it for the administration and management of his numerous estates. Despite its great beauty and noble character, Nelahozeves Castle never served as the family's principal residence.
Nelahozeves is an example of the castello fortezza, a chateau-like home with faux architectural defenses such as decorative bastions and a moat-less entry bridge. This style, deemed very modern in the mid-16th century, is preserved today in the Castle's original and authentic appearance thanks to the limited number of structural changes made throughout the centuries.
Princess Wilhelmina Lobkowicz (1863–1945), daughter of Mořic, 9th Prince Lobkowicz (1831–1903), lies buried in the village cemetery and was the last Lobkowicz to live at the Castle.
The Castle was confiscated by the Communist government in 1948. During the late 1970s and 1980s, the Castle was used by the Czech Regional Gallery to exhibit modern socialist art, as well as some of the Lobkowicz family's paintings.
In 1993, the Castle was returned to the Lobkowicz family and a temporary exhibition was immediately opened. In 2007, when certain works on display at Nelahozeves Castle were transferred to Prague to become part of the family's new museum at Lobkowicz Palace, Nelahozeves Castle was reinstalled with an exhibition of historical period rooms, Private Spaces: A Noble Family at Home. This exhibition illustrates in wonderful detail the lifestyle of this influential noble family in the mid-19th century.
What can you do in Nelahozeves Castle:
· You can visit Nelahozeves Exhibition and step back in time and experience how a noble family lived in the 19th century; walk through the private living quarters of this magnificent estate. The historic furnishings include works by Brueghel, Rubens, Veronese and more.
· Become a part of the festival: Nelahozeves Castle is famous for its family-friendly festivals that celebrate traditional Bohemian country life. Pottery, Pumpkin and Christmas Advent festivals feature local crafts, music, games, performances and a wide variety of food, wine and homemade specialties.
· Educate your children: The rich history of Nelahozeves Castle makes it a perfect location for interesting and unique educational programs for children. The castle, its surroundings and items from The Lobkowicz Collections are used as tools to enhance school curriculums.