National Cultural Monuments of the Czech Republic

Kacina Palace

Kačina is a significant empire style palace built in place of the defunct medieval village Kačín. It was built as a prestige mansion of the supreme burgrave of the Kingdom of Bohemia and president of governorate Jan Rudolf Chotek (1748–1824) from 1806 to 1824. The architectural scheme was drawn up by Saxon royal architect Christian Franz Schuricht (1753–1832) from Dresden. Johann Philipp J&oum ...
Founded: 1806-1824 | Location: Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is a late Gothic church building in Most. The 13th century deanery church in Most, which stood in the middle of the church yard near the road to Žatec, burned down in 1515, and only the eastern crypt and the inner peripheral brickwork of the western tower could be saved. The building of the new church began on August 20, 1517, when the cornerstone was laid, and was finance ...
Founded: 1517 | Location: Most, Czech Republic

Zbraslav Abbey

The Cistercian Abbey of Zbraslav was one of the most significant monasteries of the Cistercian Order in the Kingdom of Bohemia. Founded by King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia in 1292 it became the royal necropolis of the last members of the Přemyslid dynasty. The abbey was abolished by the Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II in 1789. The best-known abbot of this monastery was Peter of Zittau († 1339) who ...
Founded: 1292 | Location: Praha-Zbraslav, Czech Republic

Zbraslav Abbey

The Cistercian Abbey of Zbraslav was one of the most significant monasteries of the Cistercian Order in the Kingdom of Bohemia. Founded by King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia in 1292 it became the royal necropolis of the last members of the Přemyslid dynasty. The abbey was abolished by the Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II in 1789. The best-known abbot of this monastery was Peter of Zittau († 1339) who ...
Founded: 1292 | Location: Praha-Zbraslav, Czech Republic

Kynzvart Castle

Kynžvart Castle is a neoclassical palace. After extensive renovations, the castle was reopened to the public in 2000. A guided tour takes visitors through 25 rooms of the castle. The first castle, built before 1600, collapsed. After the Battle of White Mountain during the Thirty Years' War, the remains of the castle were confiscated and by 1630 granted to the Metternich family. From 1682 to 1691, Count Philipp Emmerich ...
Founded: 1821-1836 | Location: Lázně Kynžvart , Czech Republic

Lednice–Valtice Cultural Landscape

Between the 17th and 20th centuries, the ruling dukes of Liechtenstein transformed their domains in southern Moravia into a striking landscape. It married Baroque architecture (mainly the work of Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach) and the classical and neo-Gothic style of the castles of Lednice and Valtice with countryside fashioned according to English romantic principles of landscape architecture. At 200 km2, it is one ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Lednice, Czech Republic

Buchlov Castle

The Buchlov royal castle was built in the first half of the 13th century, but archaeological finds suggest that the area around Buchlov castle was settled in the oldest periods of civilization. The first castle was created with two massive prismatic towers situated on opposite parts of a rocky plateau. A high palace on the southern part of the yard was built at the same time and it was surrounded by a wall. The second co ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Buchlovice, Czech Republic

Lidice Memorial

Lidice village became a symbol of Fascist despotism in World War II, when it was completely destroyed by German forces in reprisal for the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich in 1942. The Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia had tragic consequences for Lidice. In order to suppress the growing anti-Fascist resistance movement, security police chief SS Obergruppenfuhrer – Reinherd Heydrich was appointed deput ...
Founded: 1942 | Location: Lidice, Czech Republic

Kokorin Castle

Kokořín Castle was built around 1320 by order of Hynek Berka of Dubé. At the close of the 15th century the castle was heavily damaged during the Hussite Wars and renovated in the late Gothic style by the lords of Klinštejn. Since the middle of the 17th century Kokořín had been tenantless and it deteriorated. The ruins were not bought until 1894 by Václav Špaček of ...
Founded: 1320 | Location: Mělník, Czech Republic

Horovice Castle

Hořovice Castle was built in two parts. In the first half of the 19th century by Friedrich Wilhelm I of Hesse, following plans of the architect G. Engelhardt, a major rebuilding took place, adding another story to the building. Its final appearance is due to more refurbishings at the beginning of the 20th century, with the furniture of the rooms being carried out in late classicist style.
Founded: 19th century | Location: Hořovice, Czech Republic

Bítov Castle

Bítov Castle is located on a steep promotory towering above the meandering River Želetavka. Built in the 11th century, Bítov is one of the oldest and largest Moravian castles. A Přemyslid fortified settlement originally stood on the site and included the Chapel of Our Lady. The fort was rebuilt in the first half of the 13th century as an impregnable Gothic castle guarding the southern boundaries of th ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bítov, Czech Republic

Grabstejn Castle

The original Gothic castle of Grabštejn (or Grafenstein) was founded in the 13th century. In 1562, it was bought by Crown Chancellor Georg Mehl von Strelitz. Between 1566 and 1586, he had rebuilt the castle in Renaissance style and thus turned it into a representative chateau. Georg Mehl also had a steward"s house built below the castle, which was around the year 1830 rebuilt in Classicist style. Shortly befo ...
Founded: 13th century/1566 | Location: Hradek nad Nisou, Czech Republic

Hradisko Monastery

Hradisko Monastery was originally a Benedictine monastery, from the mid-12th century a premonstratensian monastery in Olomouc. It was established in 1078 and it serves as an military hospital since 1802. The four-winged building with a rectangular platform, with corner towers and a moat, is divided by an inner lateral wing into two parts - the convent and the prelature. While the northern part of the monastery was built ...
Founded: 1078 | Location: Olomouc, Czech Republic

Krásný Dvur Palace

Krásný Dvůr is a Baroque palace with English-style landscape park and a garden inspired by that of Versailles. The first records of Krasný Dvůr date back to the 14th century, since then numerous aristocratic families held possession of it until Count Hermann Czernin von und zu Chudenitz bought it in the middle of the 17th century. Count Franz Josef Czernin von und zu Chudenitz decided to sta ...
Founded: 1720-1724 | Location: Krásný Dvůr, Czech Republic

Kunstát Castle

Kunštát Palace is located in the site of medieval Kunštát castle mentioned in 1380. In 1448 it became the property of King George of Poděbrady. The medieval castle was rebuilt to the current palace in 16th and 17th century. Today it is a venue for events.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Kunštát, Czech Republic

Duchcov Palace

Duchcov palace houses a museum with a collection of historic furniture. Also on display is the painting and portrait gallery of the Waldsteins, including portraits of the most famous member of this family, Albrecht von Wallenstein, Duke of Friedland, by Anthony van Dyck. One room is dedicated to Giacomo Casanova, who was employed here as a librarian from 1785 to 1798, and his memoirs were written here in the years before ...
Founded: 1675-1685 | Location: Duchcov, Czech Republic

Saints Peter and Paul Rotunda

Pre-Romanesque Rotunda of Saints Peter and Paul dates from the late 10th century and is the oldest preserved sacral structure in Czech Republic. The first mention of the rotunda dates from 976. It collapsed in the 15th century, but was restored later. Inside the rotunda there is an exhibition of archaeological finds.
Founded: 10th century | Location: Starý Plzenec, Czech Republic

Chotesov Abbey

Chotěšov Abbey is a former Premonstratensian nunnery founded between 1202 and 1210 by the Blessed Hroznata and settled by nuns from Doksany Abbey. The new foundation soon acquired wealth and influence, to the envy of the surrounding lordships and territories. In 1421, during the Hussite Wars the nunnery was occupied and destroyed by a Hussite army under Jan Žižka. During the Thirty Years' War, in 1618, the ...
Founded: 1202 | Location: Chotěšov, Czech Republic

Kobylisy

Kobylisy is a former military shooting range located in Kobylisy, a northern suburb of Prague. It was established in 1889–1891, on a site that was at the time far outside the city, as a training facility for the Austro-Hungarian army. During the Nazi occupation it was used for mass executions as part of retaliatory measures against the Czech people after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in 1942. About 550 Cze ...
Founded: 1889 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.