Visit the Orlík Castle
Eaglet in Czech, it may have been suggested by the castle resemblance to an eagle´s nest), is located 85 km (53 milles), 1 hour drive south of Prague. The original position of the chateau, on a rock 60 m above the Vltava river valley, was altered by the creation of the Orlík reservoir in 1962, and the chateau is now barely a few metres above the water level. Orlík was established as a royal castle beside a ford across the Vltava river in the second half of the 13th century, probably by Přemysl Otakar II, although in the Middle Ages it came into the hands of noble families and its ownership changed many times. From 1408 the Zmrzlík family owned it, and during their time the Hussite Captain Jan Žižka of Trocnov stayed in the castle. In 1508 the castle burned down, and was rebuilt as a Renaissance chateau by the new owners, the Lords of Švamberk.
In 1623 the Eggenbergs acquired Orlík, and in 1717 it was inherited by the Schwarzenbergs.
At the beginning of the 19th century it became their main residence. The most famous member of the family was Field Marshal Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg, who was victorious over Napoleon in the Battle of Leipzig in 1813. In 1802 the chateau was burned out, and during the subsequent repairs a fourth storey was added to the building. The current Romantic Gothic appearance dates from 1849 to 1860, when partial remodelling in this style was carried out according to plans by Bernard Gruber. The Early Gothic style castle of Orlík was confiscated by the Communist regime after 1948, but in 1990s was reverted to the Schwarzenbergs.
Years ago this castle was perched high above the deep Vltava river valley, before the Orlík Dam was built. See the old paintings. The interiors are mainly in the Empire style, from the first half of 19th century. The Hunter´s Hall with quadripartite ribbed vaulting, is original Gothic, and the chapel, also dating from the Gothic period, has a net vault. Adjoining the chateau is an English style large park, with native and non-native species of trees and shrubs, and a greenhouse with a collection of fuchsias. After 40 min. boat trip from here you can visit the second interesting place - Zvíkov Castle.
Visit the Zvíkov Castle
The royal castle was probably founded at the end of the rule of the king Přemysl Otakar I.(died in 1230). The oldest part of the castle was the powerful prismatic tower called Hlízová (Bulbous).
The palace was built on the ground plan of an irregular pentagon with a courtyard which is on the ground floor and in the 1st floor surrounded by an arcade gallery. After the palace has been finished strong fortifications with gates and guard tower were constructed in the 13th century. In the 14th and 15th century the castle with its mighty fortification system served as a protection for the nobility from the environment. In the case of danger they escaped behind its strong walls.