My second Postcrossing card of 2016 was this jumbo-sized postcard from the southern Bohemia town of Hluboká nad Vltavou in the Czech Republic. Settled since the Bronze Age, the area was the site of medieval Froburg Castle, built high above the Vltava River near České Budějovice. Once a possession of the Přemyslid king Ottokar II of Bohemia, it later passed to the Vítkovci dynasty. Again purchased by the Bohemian Crown in the fouteenth century, it was a favorite residence of Emperor Charles IV, who often visited the castle when residing in České Budějovice.
Held by the local noble William II of Pernstein from 1490 onwards, the castle and town prospered. Though seized by French forces in the Thirty Years’ War, the acquisition by the House of Schwarzenberg in 1661 brought even greater wealth to the area. After a blaze in 1742, the medieval fortress was slighted and rebuilt as a chateau. A Jewish community (Qahal) arose in the late 17th century, however, a synagogue was not erected until 1907. Hluboká Castle reached its current appearance during the nineteenth century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England’s Windsor Castle.
The present-day municipality arose in 1850, then part of the Budweis district. The majority of the population was Czech-speaking. The town was renamed after the Hluboká/Frauenberg Castle in 1912. The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
Considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Bohemia, Hluboká is a National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic. The walls and ceilings of the stately halls on the first story of the castle are paneled with precious wood with unusually rich workmanship and carving decoration. The bedroom and dressing room of princess Eleonor, the Hamilton’s closet and the reading room are all decorated with paintings by European masters of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries as well as beautiful chandeliers, late Renaissance window panes, and Delft china. The most precious pieces of furniture are situated in the Morning Drawing Room and complemented with painted Chinese vases from the 18th century.
The biggest hall is the library with a panel ceiling, transferred to Hluboká from the family castle of the Schwanzenbergs. The Gothic Revival chapel is dominated by the late Gothic altar with carved folding wings. Today, the South Bohemia Gallery of Mikuláš Aleš is located in the former riding school with an outstanding exhibition of Gothic paintings and statues as well as of Dutch and Flemish art from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and with changeable exhibitions in the main hall. A riding lodge built next to the castle in the nineteenth century houses the Aleš South Bohemian Gallery which displays exquisite Gothic paintings and statues. The castle was used in a scene of the movie Shanghai Knights.
Monika writes on her card that Hluboká is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but I could find no further verification of this online. I think it’s great that her and her husband are both teachers (as am I) and I’m posting this article on the date designated each year by UNESCO as World Teachers’ Day. Cheers!