National Cultural Monuments of the Czech Republic

Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk

The Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk is the final work of Jan Santini Aichel, a Bohemian architect who combined the Borrominiesque Baroque with references to Gothic elements in both construction and decoration. In 1719, when the Roman Catholic Church declared the tongue of John of Nepomuk to be incorruptible, work started to build a church at Zelená hora, where the future saint had received his early education. I ...
Founded: 1719-1727 | Location: Zdár nad Sázavou, Czech Republic

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissan ...
Founded: 1497/1664 | Location: Kroměříž, Czech Republic

Cesky Sternberk Castle

Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles. The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdesla ...
Founded: 1241 | Location: Český Šternberk, Czech Republic

Bouzov Castle

Bouzov Castle was established at the turn of the 14th century with the purpose to watch over the trade route from Olomouc to Loštice. The minor aristocratic Buz of Bludovec family were its first recorded owners from 1317-1339. The castle also takes its name from the family. Ownership of the castles was then changed, and the Lords of Kunštát were among the most important medieval owners. According to tradition, the Bouz ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Bouzov, Czech Republic

East Bohemian Museum

The East Bohemian Museum was designed by Jan Kotěra, a prominent Czech architect in 1909-1912. Kotěra"s initial design, presented in 1907, was criticized for its exaggerated decoration and luxurious design. Moreover, the city did not have sufficient funds for such a grandiose design. Consequently, Kotěra created a new design that was finished in 1908. The museum is modeled on a classic temple. As far ...
Founded: 1909-1912 | Location: Hradec Králové, Czech Republic

St. Stephen's Cathedral

The St. Stephen's Cathedral is one of the most important cultural sites in the city. It is protected as a cultural monument of the Czech Republic. Located on a hill in the place of an older church (originally a basilica) The temple was built in Romanesque style in 1057 and rebuilt in the 14th century in the Gothic style. In the presbytery is a large altar dedicated to St. Stephen, patron of the cathedral. In the ...
Founded: 1663 | Location: Litoměřice, Czech Republic

St. Procopius Basilica

St. Procopius Basilica is a Romanesque-Gothic Christian church in Třebíč. The history of the basilica is closely associated with the history of the former Benedictine monastery. Before the basilica was constructed there was a chapel of St. Procopius, which was built in the year 1104 and was consecrated by Heřman, Bishop of Prague. Five years later, the monastery already had its own church. This was consecrated in year ...
Founded: 1240-1260 | Location: Třebíč, Czech Republic

Bezdez Castle

Bezděz Castle construction began before 1264 by order of Přemysl Otakar II. It was one of the most important royal castles in the Czech lands until its destruction in the Thirty Years" War. A year after Přemysl’s death, the castle Bezděz, which was still unfinished, became the place of imprisonment of Queen Kunhuta and her underage son Václav II (or Wenceslas II), kept under lock and ...
Founded: c. 1260 | Location: Bezděz, Czech Republic

Kost Castle

Kost Castle is is privately owned by Kinský dal Borgo noble family. It was first proposed by Beneš von Wartenberg in 1349 as a possible construction site and was completed by his son Peter von Wartenberg. It retains most of the original features and is overall very well preserved and maintained. The castle is known for its so-called 'White tower'. In about 1414 the family of Zajíc von Hasenburg moved there; later the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Libošovice, Czech Republic

Cervená Lhota Castle

Červená Lhota castle stands at the middle of a lake on a rocky island. Its picturesque Renaissance building is a destination of thousands of tourists every year. Its name Červená Lhota meaning 'red lhota' can be explained by the colour of the château"s bright-red roof tiles. There is also a park, where the Chapel of the Holy Trinity is located. The existence of an original for ...
Founded: 1542-1555 | Location: Jindřichův Hradec, Czech Republic

Veverí Castle

According to legend, the castle Veveří was founded by Duke Conrad of Brno in the middle of the 11th century. Nevertheless, the first written mention about the castle is from the years 1213 and 1222, when King Přemysl Otakar I used the fortified castle as a prison for rebellious peers. Initially, it was apparently a wooden or masonry residence situated near the Romanesque church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary west ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Brno, Czech Republic

Hrubý Rohozec Castle

Hrubý Rohozec is a castle in Turnov. The original structure was connected to a polygonal tower by a defensive wall. Its purpose, in the 14th century, was to monitor the trade route running below it. Between the two parts of the castle Jan von Šelmberk, and later Konrad Kraiger Kraigk, built Gothic palaces. During the Renaissance the Wartenberg family rebuilt the complex in the style of a chateaux. Albrecht von Wallenst ...
Founded: c. 1280 | Location: Turnov, Czech Republic

Ducal Rotunda of the Virgin Mary and St Catherine

The Ducal Rotunda of the Virgin Mary and St Catherine is Znojmo"s most valuable monument, and features one of the oldest fresco in the Czech lands. Particular importance of this painting is that besides the religious motives it displays also the praising portrayal of the ruling Přemyslid dynasty. The painting was commissioned by Konrad II of Znojmo on the occasion of his wedding with Mary, daughter of Uro&scaro ...
Founded: 1080s | Location: Znojmo, Czech Republic

Hrádek u Nechanic

Hrádek u Nechanic is a 19th-century Gothic style Romantic château near the town of Hrádek. It was built between 1839 and 1857 as a representative and summer seat by Count František Arnošt of Harach, one of the most important representatives of the Jilemnice dynasty. The young Austrian architect Karl Fischer led building operations and suggested decoration of the chateau's interior. The chateau was designed by the Eng ...
Founded: 1839-1857 | Location: Hrádek, Czech Republic

Holasovice Village

Holašovice is an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a traditional central European village. It has a large number of outstanding 18th- and 19th-century vernacular buildings in a style known as South Bohemian folk Baroque, and preserves a ground plan dating from the Middle Ages. Holašovice was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Holašovice is first mentioned in 1263. ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Jankov, Czech Republic

Znojmo Castle

Znojmo Castle was initially a wooden structure built by the Přemyslid Bretislaus I, Duke of Bohemia, and completed around 1080. The structure was intended to replace an old castle that was located across the Granice Valley, as part of an attempt at strengthening the defenses along the river Dyje against Austrian attack. From the new castle the river valley and surrounding area could be observed. However, in 1140, the woo ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Znojmo, Czech Republic

Trebic Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter of Třebíč placed is one of the best preserved Jewish ghettos in Europe. Therefore, it was listed in 2003 (together with the Jewish Cemetery and the St. Procopius Basilica) in the UNESCO World Heritage List and it is the only Jewish monument outside Israel specifically placed on the List. The Jewish Quarter is situated on the north bank of the River Jihlava, surrounded by rocks and the river. There a ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Třebíč, Czech Republic

Kozel Castle

Kozel, meaning 'goat' in Czech, is the name of a hunting castle in the Classical style close to the city of Plzeň. The castle was built at the end of 18th century by architect Václav Haberditz for Jan Vojtěch of Czernin. It is a ground-floor building around an inner rectangular court. Around the castle we can find also a chapel, a riding school and a stable. The area is surrounded by a large park that is popular amongs ...
Founded: 1784-1789 | Location: Šťáhlavy, Czech Republic

Buchlovice Castle

Buchlovice castle history is closely connected with nearby Buchlov Castle which grew more and more uncomfortable in the late 17th century, and that is why Jan Dětřich of Petřwald decided to build a new castle. Buchlovice castle was built between 1707-1738 as a copy of an Italian villa in baroque style, by Domenico Martinelli. It is one of the most romantic buildings in this country. In 1800 it became proper ...
Founded: 1707-1738 | Location: Buchlovice, Czech Republic

Jánský vrch Castle

Jánský vrch castle stands on a hill above the town of Javorník in the north-western edge of Czech Silesia, in area what was a part of the Duchy of Nysa. For most of its history the castle belonged to the Prince-bishops of Breslau (Wrocław) in Silesia. The castle is first mentioned in written sources in 1307, when it was still the property of the Princes of Svidník. In the 1348, they sold the castle to the Prince-bis ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Javorník, Czech Republic

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.