Roudnice Castle was built in the 12th century by Bishop Jindřich Břetislav, the nephew of the Czech king Vladislav I, to protected an important trade route from Prague to Upper Lusatia along the Elbe. The castle complex included several farm buildings, protected by a fortified wall; the castle itself had walls that were two meters thick, and watch towers in each corner. In the mid-14th century, it was rebuilt in a Gothic style and became a favorite summer residence for Prague bishops. It is said that Jan Hus was ordained as a priest there.
In 1421, the Catholic Church sold the castle to Jan Smiřický, who renovated it once again. George of Poděbrady, king of Bohemia (1420-1477), captured Roudnice from Smiřický in 1467. It passed into the ownership of William Rožumberk, the Supreme Burgrave and one of the wealthiest men in Bohemia. After Rožumberk’s death, his widow Polyxena Pernštejn married Zdenek Vojtěch of Lobkowicz, Chancellor of the Czech Kingdom and later 1st Prince Lobkowicz, bringing Roudnice into the Lobkowicz family’s possessions. In 1652 their son Václav Eusebius, 2nd Prince Lobkowicz, embarked upon an ambitious project to transform the castle into an early baroque palace. From 1657 until the Second World War the Lobkowicz Collection's library was stored in Roudnice Castle, leading to the library being named the Roudnice Lobkowicz Library.
The castle is open to the public. The basic tour includes visits to the courtyard , tour of the castle chapel with předsálím with information about the family Lobkowicz, a tour of the Romanesque castle from the courtyard, the view from the balcony of the castle. The wine tasting tour includes a tour of the foundations of the original Romanesque castle from the 12th century with a presentation of the town, the castle and the winery.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.