Nelahozeves Castle: the Finest Bohemian Renaissance Castle

the beautiful courtyard surroundings, Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic

“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.”

-from the website (Lobkowicz.cz) of the former Czech royal family, the Lobkowiczes

The View toward Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic
The View toward Nelahozeves Castle, near Prague, Czech Republic

 

Music has always been an important part of my life. Not just rock music (which I love, and blogged about going to see U2 in Vienna and Coldplay in Prague), but classical music as well. This is the story …

I distinctly remember the day I chose what instrument I would play when I was a girl in the 5th grade. My family had recently moved from the South (Texas) to the cosmopolitan North (suburban Philadelphia), and I was an awkward 11 year old with a hard twang of an accent, dressed in prairie clothes my mother made and double braids my mother braided every day, and stood taller than my male 5th grade teacher. Yes, that was a tough time. Music was one of the things that saved me, I’m sure.

the much-played music from my case

The cart the music teacher rolled into the school auditorium had been loaded with instruments — flutes, clarinets, trumpets, and a violin. Perhaps a few more. But I remember I only had eyes for the stringed instrument. When the teacher saw the size of my hands, she told me I needed to play something larger than a violin. A viola or cello, she said. I agreed. A viola sounded nice.

me with my viola, 2004

For the next many years, I played my viola. I toted it with me when we moved to another new state, and also when I ventured to college. I played the same viola when I became a mom and after, at friends’ events or at church. My viola still sits upstairs in a special boy-proof spot. The sheet music waiting inside the viola case still calls my name, though I don’t play it nearly as often as I like. Several of the pieces inside the case were written by Beethoven, and one was by Dvořák — all are favorites.

Fast forward to Czech Republic, where I currently live with my family. One day, when playing the music from my viola case, I recognized a name written at the top of the music, in German. Lobkowicz.

Soon, I discovered the 7th Prince Lobkowicz had been the prinicipal sponsor of Beethoven, including his 3rd, 5th, and 6th symphonies. Stunning!

And Dvořák grew up literally beside the Lobkowicz family castle called Nelahozeves Castle in Nelahozeves, Czech Republic (then Austrian empire). It was then, at these discoveries, that I began to dig in to see everything I could about the rich history in this enchanted region near Prague. Seeing all of the history, standing inches from the original Beethoven manuscripts, hearing the music played in castles and theaters near Prague — these all have left an imprint upon me and my life.

So, I must share them here as best I can with you — today, Nelahozeves Castle.

Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic
The Grand Scale: Me, standing beside Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic

The Lobkowicz family has made an enormous mark on the world, through so many things, but also through music. Last week, I featured one of the Lobkowicz castles, Strekov Castle. I have talked about the Lobkowicz Palace inside the Prague Castle. And following, photos from one of my visits to the Lobkowiczs’ magnificent Nelahozeves Castle.

the bridge to Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic
the bridge to Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic

Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic

Sgraffito, Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic
Sgraffito, Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic
Sgraffito, Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic
Sgraffito, Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic
Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic
Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic

Sgraffito, the stunning facade, Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic

Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic
Looking up, Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic
the beautiful courtyard surroundings, Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic
the beautiful courtyard surroundings, Nelahozeves Castle, Czech Republic

One of the most incredible parts of the Lobkowicz story happened when their properties and possessions — castles, music, palaces, and everything — were confiscated by the Nazis in 1939 and then by the Communists in 1948. In recent years, since the fall of Communism and the Soviet bloc, the Lobkowicz family has been working to restore all that had been taken from them, and put back on display for the public to see.

And since photography isn’t allowed inside the Lobkowicz properties, you must go and see the incredible exhibits for yourself. Priceless music, art, household items, armor — the Lobkowicz palace and castles are must-see places when you visit Prague. For more, visit their website at Lobkowicz.cz.

For you: What are your favorite classical musicians? Do you play an instrument? How does seeing such history and grandeur affect you?

 

Published by Jennifer Lyn Art

About Jennifer Writer Author Photographer Artist Corporate Marketer Happy Wife & Mom World Traveler Grateful.

2 thoughts on “Nelahozeves Castle: the Finest Bohemian Renaissance Castle

  1. What gorgeous photographs! It must be so moving to have that personal connection to these stunning castles through the music you’ve always loved.

    I played violin for 7 years in grammar school, middle school and high school — never very well! My daughters are learning piano now, and I love to listen to them practice. I’m also working on (the early stages of) a novel that has a lot to do with classical composers, so I’ve been doing research into music history. I love the background stories — like the way Liszt was virtually a rock star, with women fainting at his feet. 🙂

    1. Yes, Lisa, it is so moving! I still have to pinch myself to confirm that it’s real, that I really do get to see these amazing historical places in person. It has been amazing!

      I love hearing you’re working on a novel with classical composers. Isn’t it fun to dive into the stories of the past and try to connect them to our time? I can’t wait to follow how it goes! Happy writing, and thank you!

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