A hundred Czech castles, chateaus open their gates for the new season

Czech castles, chateaus usher in a new season focusing on the Habsburgs; a series of events is planned to mark the death anniversary of Franz Ferdinand.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 28.03.2024 16:28:00 (updated on 28.03.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Castles, chateaus, and other monuments under the Czech National Heritage Institute (NPÚ) are kicking off their 2024 visitor season this Easter with a celebration of the House of Habsburg.

The new season, which officially begins on March 28, Maundy Thursday, will feature the 14th year of the institute’s popular In the Footsteps of Noble Families program. This year’s edition is The Habsburgs – Home in the Czech Lands. It aims to showcase how the imperial dynasty lived and adapted properties in Bohemia and Moravia during the 18th to 20th centuries.

After keeping entrance fees unchanged for two years, the heritage institute noted that it would raise adult admission prices by about 6 percent on average due to increased operating costs. However, discounts remain available (an increase of about CZK 20-60 for adult entrance).

Many castles have Easter programs beginning March 28 and running through April 1. Guided tours of Easter-decorated interiors are available for visitors, an accompanying program on Easter customs, creative workshops for children, fairs, and, at many monuments, baking, and tasting of traditional dishes await. Details can be found on individual monument websites and at the National Heritage Institute site.

One hundred sites will open their doors daily throughout the Easter holidays before shifting to regular seasonal operations on April 2.

Visitors can look forward to newly accessible areas at several prominent attractions. The Litomyšl Castle will unveil a renovated tour route and exhibit on its UNESCO heritage in June, while previously off-limits spaces like the historic kitchen and tower will open in July.

Meanwhile, the Velhartice Castle is debuting the “Šumavská Klenotnice” (Bohemian Forest Jewel Box) route through formerly inaccessible cellars that may have hidden the Bohemian crown jewels during the Hussite Wars. The Český Krumlov castle is reopening its restored Bellaria pavilion with a new visitor circuit in September.

As part of the Habsburg theme, evening tours at Konopiště will spotlight important dynasty members like Franz Ferdinand, while newly furnished rooms at Zákupy Castle capture the summer residences of the deposed emperor Ferdinand V.

From April to November 2024 , the Konopiště State Castle will offer evening tours focused on the most important Habsburgs. It will present a number of unique historical objects, including the personal belongings of the family of František Ferdinand d'Este

Other highlights include an apartment belonging to Ferdinand’s sister at Velké Losiny Castle and new exhibits on Archduke Eugene at Bouzov Castle.

Beyond the 21 heritage institute sites involved, municipalities overseeing former Habsburg residences like Ostrov and Brandýs nad Labem will also participate in related programming planned throughout 2024.

In cooperation with the National Technical Museum, a steam train with the saloon car of the František Ferdinand d'Este family will be sent from Prague to Benešov on May 19.

The season's traditional Night at the Castles culminating event is scheduled for Aug. 24 at Konopiště Castle.

Last year, a total of 4.2 million visitors came to the monuments of the NPÚ. Objects open year-round also recorded greater interest. During January and February 2024, 17 percent more tourists visited them than in the same period last year.

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