The history of Venngarn manor dates to the 12th century. After several owners it was acquired by crown in 1555. Gustav II Adolphus donated Venngarn to Franz von Thurn Berendt and his son sold it to Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie in 1653. The late 17th century was a golden age for Venngarn castle. The present castle was built mainly in 1670 by the architect Jean de la Vallée.
As a chancellor and the leader in Charles XI's regency, De la Gardie was Sweden's most important politicians. Unfortunately for him, due the king's reduction De la Gardie had to return Venngarn later to the crown. Since 1686 the state of Sweden has leased Venngarn castle for several families and purposes. In 1916 a central government institution for alcoholism treatment was established at Venngarn. In 1997 it was sold to its current owners, Wenngarn AB.
There is also a notable chapel in the castle. When the crown took Venngarn 1686, the chapel was completely untouched. None have been added and only a few details have been lost since then. Thus, the chapel one of the country's best preserved church from the Age of Greatness. It was prepared by the De la Gardie, and presumably he also has hired Jean de la Vallee as an architect.References:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.