The ruins of Nový Hradek castle dates from the 14th century, on a promontory overlooking Dyje river. It is situated in the National Park Podyjí, accessible from the villages Podmolí or Lukov, but only on foot or by bicycle.
The first historically proven owners of this territory were the Premonstratensian monks from the Louka monastery in Znojmo, who exchanged it with the Moravian Margrave John Henry von Luxembourg in 1358. He was the one who established – on the narrowest place of the rocky stripe, perched some 80 metres high above the level of Dyje – the so-called Lower Castle as a fortified settlement used for his occasional hunting outings. The lower moat wall has been preserved to this day, with its unique inner oval wall that is up to three metres thick in some places. The castle was substantially reconstructed to withstand the Hussite wars in the 15th century.
In the 16th century, this reconstructed aristocratic seat changed hands between several owners during a relatively short period of time. They added more fortification measures on the northern side – a massive wall and a bastion with loopholes.
In the 17th century during the rule of the Scherfenbergs, the terror of the Thirty Years’ War reached Nový Hrádek. The surrounding villages were plundered, and the insufficiently protected castle was – for unknown reasons – taken and partially demolished by the Swedish army lead by General Torstenson in 1645. Since then, the military importance of the castle has been only marginal. The damaged parts were not renovated.
In 1799, Nový Hrádek received a new owner – the Polish count Stanislav von Mniszek, who reconstructed one of the older buildings in the large courtyard (probably in 1800), and later established a storage and sales department for the stoneware produced in his factory in Vranov. Following the romantic fashion of his period, he also reconstructed the Upper Castle, and adjusted it for short-term outings and hunting events he liked to hold with his family and guests. His daughter and heiress Luitgarde of Stadnice later continued with these activities, and in the second half of the 19th century she ordered the extension and reinforcement of the garden terraces on the south-eastern slope.
The natural, as well as the historic and architectural values of the castle are really outstanding. They were also recognised by the Czech government, which declared Nový Hrádek, together with the Vranov State Chateau, a National Cultural Monument in 2002. By this measure, the supreme executive body of the state expressed the statement that Nový Hrádek represents a valuable source of material culture, and that it belongs to the group of monuments representing the most important part of the nation’s cultural heritage.References:
The Arch of Constantine is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, it is the largest Roman triumphal arch. The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph.
Though dedicated to Constantine, much of the decorative material incorporated earlier work from the time of the emperors Trajan (98-117), Hadrian (117-138) and Marcus Aurelius (161-180), and is thus a collage. The last of the existing triumphal arches in Rome, it is also the only one to make extensive use of spolia, reusing several major reliefs from 2nd century imperial monuments, which give a striking and famous stylistic contrast to the sculpture newly created for the arch.
The arch is 21 m high, 25.9 m wide and 7.4 m deep. Above the archways is placed the attic, composed of brickwork reveted (faced) with marble. A staircase within the arch is entered from a door at some height from the ground, on the west side, facing the Palatine Hill. The general design with a main part structured by detached columns and an attic with the main inscription above is modelled after the example of the Arch of Septimius Severus on the Roman Forum.