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:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.