The construction on Nelahozeves Castle began under the orders of Florian Griesbeck von Griesbach, a Tyrolean aristocrat and adviser to Emperor Ferdinand I, who commissioned the building from royal master builder Bonifaz Wolmut. The castle took more than sixty years to build and was completed at the beginning of the 17th century, more than a decade after Florian's death.
However, financial difficulties forced the von Griesbach family to sell the castle to Polyxena, 1st Princess Lobkowicz (1566-1642), in 1623. The castle was severely damaged during the Thirty Years' War, but was reconstructed by Václav Eusebius, 2nd Prince Lobkowicz (1609-1677), who used the castle as the center for administration and management of his estates.
The castle never served as the Lobkowicz family’s primary residence. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was home to the Order of the Sisters of God's Love, a religious institution for widowed or unmarried noblewomen founded by Princess Wilhelmina Lobkowicz (1863-1945).
Nelahozeves Castle was confiscated by the Communist government in 1948, and housed an exhibition of modern socialist art run by the Czech Regional Gallery in the 1970s and 80s. It was returned to the Lobkowicz family in 1993, and now features an exhibition of historical period rooms, demonstrating the lifestyle of a Bohemian noble family in the mid-19th century. The castle also houses part of the Lobkowicz collection of paintings.References:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.