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 fortress on the site of today's château is assumed from sometime around the middle of the 14th century. It was built on a rocky granite outcrop, which, after the damming of a stream and the filling up of a fishpond, became an island. The first written source is an entry into the land records from 1465, mentioning the division of the property of deceased Ctibor of Zásmuk between his two sons Petr and Václav. The fortress then might have been sold into the ownership of Diviš Boubínský of Újezd, who sold it to the knightly family of Káb of Rybňan sometime around 1530. The family had the original Gothic castle rebuilt and the basic Renaissance remodelling carried out between 1542-1555, and the château acquired the name Nová Lhota. In 1597, the château was sold to Vilém Růt of Dírná who had the building rendered with red plaster, from which it got its name Červená Lhota. The last of the Ruts, Bohuslav, had to leave the Bohemian lands as an Utraquist after the Battle of White Mountain.
In 1621, Červená Lhota was inhabited by Antonio Bruccio, who died in 1639 without an heir. With his death, Lhota lost its function as a residence and it was used by his successors as occasional cottage. In 1641, it was acquired by aristocrat Vilém Slavat of Chlum and Košumberk and later it passed into the hands of the Windischgrätz family. Bedřich Arnošt Windischgrätz and his son Leopold dragged the dominion into great debts due to their out-dated style of economics, so the custodian of his under-aged successor Josef recommended the sale of the dominion. In 1755 the château then was obtained by the free lords of Gudenus. Franz de Paul, free lord of Gudenus, shortly afterwards initiated several constructions, which were brought to an abrupt halt in 1774 by a great fire, which destroyed essentially all agricultural buildings.
In 1776, Červená Lhota welcomed a new owner, Baron Ignác Stillfried, a progressive aristocrat of Prussian Silesia whose son sold the dominion to Jakub Veith in 1820. His daughter Terezie sold the château again in 1835, this time into the princely hands of Heinrich Eduard Schönburg-Hartenstein who gave the castle to his son Josef Alexandr Schönburg-Hartenstein. He died in 1937 and was buried into the newly built tomb, and thus spared the destructive events of the new war, which drew the curtains closed for the entire aristocratic history of Červená Lhota château.
After the confiscation of the château by the Czechoslovak state in 1946, a children's clinic was established here. However, a year later, the château was granted to a National Culture Commission, and in 1949 it was opened to the public.
The four-winged two-storey château, with a small courtyard in the center, occupies the whole rock and juts into the fishpond. A stone bridge, built in 1622, links the château with the banks of the pond, replacing the original drawbridge. The interiors have an extensive collection of historic furniture, tiled stoves, pictures, porcelain and other items. The southern edge of the fishpond is covered in thick forest, which forms a backdrop to the château. On the northern side is a landscaped park where the Renaissance Chapel of the Holy Trinity is situated. A marked circular path trenches around the fishpond. Rowing across the fishpond is a pleasant diversion on a hot summer day, and boats can be hired near the château.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.