Charles’ Crown Castle

As architectural designs go, insisting on a new castle that resembles a crown is quite original. Wanting this sort of thing to impress the king is less original, but that’s what the Czechs got in 1721.

About an hour’s drive from Prague, there is a castle set in 40-acre gardens surrounding the property. [1] It’s open from April to October when the weather makes exploring it an excellent day trip from Prague.

A photo of Charles' Crown Castle - Chlumec nad Cidlinou, Czechia

Charles’ Crown Castle – Chlumec nad Cidlinou, Czechia

František Ferdinand Kinský was the nobleman who ordered this castle in 1721. He wanted it ready in time for the coronation of Holy Roman Emperor King Charles VI. Unfortunately, there is little information about the previous fifteenth century fortification defending the town. [2]

The building has a central cylindrical core with three wings. They’re positioned such that if you look at the building from outside, you can see two wings at any one time. The wings, and the turrets above them, make the place look like a crown when seen from the front. It’s an interesting optical effect but only works at certain angles. Between this and the decor on and inside the building, it is one of the finest baroque castles in the country.

A photo of the first floor ballroom at Charles' Crown Castle - Chlumec nad Cidlinou, Czechia

The first floor ballroom at Charles’ Crown Castle – Chlumec nad Cidlinou

Kinský invited the King there soon after his coronation. Kinský’s ability to secure a royal visit is now immortalised in the castle’s name. These fine-tuned political skills were a family tradition. His ancestors had sided with the Protestants in the 1618 defenestration of Prague. [3] They avoided death by switching sides to the Catholic Hapsburgs. (Unlike his fellow nobles who the Hapsburgs killed in Prague’s Old Town Square – see my article about that.)

The interior contains works of art from the family collection, and items related to their history. Recent family members are also Knights of St John of Malta and there is ample memorabilia related to this on show too.

A photo of the family memorabilia, including the Cross of the Knights' of Malta - Karlova Koruna Zamek, Czechia

Family memorabilia, including the Cross of the Knights’ of Malta – Karlova Koruna Zamek, Czechia

The beautiful grounds are lovingly cared for and well worth a stroll if the weather is good. The train station is a short 10-minute walk away; the castle is a 1h 30 min ride from Prague.

Their web site has more information in English too.

Which Baroque castles have you visited recently?

References

[1] History of the castle, karlovakoruna-zamek.cz (Retrieved 2017-03-31)
[2] Karlova Koruna Castle, wikipedia.org, 2017-05-21
[3] Kinsky Family Tree, geneology.euweb.cz, Retrieved 2017-07-22
[4] Karlova Koruna Zamek, Google Maps, Retrieved, 2017-07-29

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