Monday, November 29, 2010

Valtice - The Lichenstein's Chateaux

As we mentioned in the last posting, Lednice is where the Lichenstein's Guest Chateaux (Castle), chapel, greenhouse/Orangerie and landscaped gardens are....these are just down the hill from the town of Valtice where the Lichensteins lived.  Here are pictures of Valtice and the grande Chateaux.

The elegant church greets us first on the square in Valtice, along with the fountain (foreground).

Various statues outstand weathering times to greet us as we pass..

Here the fall splendor of a sycamore tree (Platanus occidentalis) shines out with the church in the background. It was a grand old tree, undoubtedly alive when the Lichensteins lived here.
Here is the map of the square in Valtice, the church is at the bottom center (two towers) with the fountain in the foreground. We'll enter towards the right and walk up a hill, then turn right to go through the elaborate gardens into the castle.
The gateway entrance...
The Lichenstein Coat of Arms hangs above the gate.
As we go up the steep hill and turn to the right, here the splendor of the Lichenstein castle greets up...shining even on this cloudy November day!
The guards have weathered the times a bit but still stand as pillars of strength
Another view of the castle with the carefully trimmed yew (Taxus) standing at attention.
The spire at the top of the castle...
and underneath, the coat of arms, along with the Golden Fleece at the base of the glorious golden chain. We all pass in under the Golden Fleece.
Inside the castle in the courtyard, there are several sun dials or clocks. Too bad the sun wasn't shining.

Numerous statues adorn the rooftops of the castle.
A sun dial on the opposite side wall (for afternoon time)
As we move through the covered walkways, rather than cobblestones, we have wooden steps. You can still read the rings of the trees, despite years of feet and horse hooves over the surfaces.

In one of the walkways, was this stone relief.....all that remains from the hunting 'cabin' located south of the castle (see the second photo below for a picture of what it once looked like). The Soviets destroyed this as they were afraid that many Czechs would hide out there on their way to escape into Austria (just a couple kilometers away).

Views of the magnificent gardens and grounds surrounding the castle.
Here is a bit of notes about the development of the Manor from early times through the Lichensteins.

Notes on the reconstruction:
More views of the castle grounds. The fall colors of the trees/shrubs glistened like Golden Fleece even on a cloudy day.
A gorgeous weeping birch outside of the castle walls. This specimen must have been more than 150 years old, judging from the size of the trunk and the spread of the weeping branches.
A closeup up shot:
Another vista garden with a circular path to walk around and see the various statuary positioned within the hedges.
Some of the inviting paths to wander down...
In one of the courtyards, if your horses need a drink, this water tub will gladly supply.
Examples of the ornate lighting (now electrified)
Another picture of one of the castle gates.

Since we were there after mid-October, the castle was closed for it's winter rest. We'll come back in the springtime to see more and enjoy the beautiful gardens.  Do join us next spring!

The Valtice and Lednice castles/chateauxs are now the property of the Czech Republic; they were not returned to the Lichensteins possession after the Velvet Revolution. As we mentioned in the Lednice posting, these are now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Center.

Disclaimer: This blog is not an official University of Minnesota or Fulbright Program blog. The views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations, or the University of Minnesota.

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