Minorite Monastery in Český Krumlov (officially Monastery of the Order of the Knights of the Cross with a Red Star) was founded in 1350 by Peter I of Rosenberg and his wife Kateřina as a common monastery of Minorites and Clare nuns, with a common church. From the end of the 14th century, the complex also included a house for pious laic women, called beguines. The stay of the Clare nuns was brought to an end by reforms of Emperor Joseph II in 1785, but the Minorites stayed in the monastery until as late as 1950. After that the monastery premises were used for secular purposes. As far as the Clare Convent is concerned, this situation has lasted until today, while the remaining part of the complex was acquired by the Order of the Knights of the Cross with a Red Star.
The monastery area is entered through a gate with the coat-of-arms of the Knights of the Cross, behind which a small park called Tramín is situated.
The monastery Church of Corpus Christi and St. Mary in Pain was consecrated in 1358, and in the years 1649-1681 it underwent a Baroque rebuilding. The interior of the church is a unique gallery of the Baroque church arts. The high altar was made by the order of the prince Johann Christian von Eggenberg and his wife Eleonore in the years 1679-1682. Their joint coat-of-arms is situated in the middle part of the altar. The altar painting by Matyáš Leithner depicts the Virgin Mary with Christ and St. Francis, and the painting on the extension shows God the Father giving his blessing. The early Renaissance architecture of the altar is completed with statues by the Eggenberg sculptor Jan Worath.
An outstanding work of woodcarving is the Baroque pulpit from 1746. Its oratory is adorned with a gilded relief depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis, and there is a sculpture of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary encompassed by clouds and rays of light above the canopy. The attic of the canopy has the unified coat-of-arms of the donors: Prince Joseph Adam von Schwarzenberg and his wife Maria Theresia von Liechtenstein.
Another noteworthy part is the early Baroque altar of the Virgin Mary from the second half of the 17th century, situated at the southern wall of the church. It is adorned with a relief of the Coronation of the Virgin Mary and statues of St. Benedict, Bernard and St. John Evangelist.
The southern part of the church is adjoined by monastery buildings. Their most important part is the cloister from around 1500. It is vaulted by a tracery vault and its northern wing is made up by a unique two-nave space divided by spiralled columns. In the middle of the western wing is the entrance to St. Wolfgang’s Chapel, consecrated in 1491. There are preserved partly Gothic wall and partly Baroque paintings from 1781 presenting scenes from St. Wolfgang’s life.
Another interesting tombstone is placed in the cloister, on a wall neighbouring with the monastery church. It is a tombstone belonging to the family of Michael Antonín of Ebbersbach, who lived at No. 77 Široká Street and was employed as an alchemist at the court of the Krumlov ruler Wilhelm of Rosenberg. After Wilhelm’s death in 1592, owing to fraud, he was put into castle gaol, where he died in 1593.
On the walls of the cloister hang paintings from the mid-17th century depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis, and in the eastern wing is installed part of the treasure of the Order of the Knights of the Cross. The inner walls of the cloister have windows with lavish late Gothic traceries opening into the „Paradise Courtyard“. In 1686, the Chapel of St. Mary of Einsiedeln was establi-shed in its middle, based on the model of the famous pilgrimage chapel in the Swiss canton of Schwyz. Above the entrance to the chapel the joint coat-of-arms of its founders, prince Johann Christian von Eggenberg and his wife Marie Ernestine, née von Schwarzenberg, is situated. In addition, there is an altar with the statue of the Black Madonna of Einsiedeln inside the chapel, dating from the second half of the 17th century.References:
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.