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1-12-2020, 11:48 UTC
Photo Tour of Czech Republic - Castles


Situated to the north of Prague, on the right bank of the Vltava river, is the municipality of Veltrusy. Visitors to Veltrusy will be attracted by a chateau that is ranked alongside Bohemia's major high-Baroque residences and a park interspersed with romantic follies, sculptures and garden pavilions - the most remarkable are The Laudon Pavilion, The Maria Theresa Pavilion, The Doric Pavilion, The Egyptian Cabinet, The Temple of Friends of the Country and Gardens, The Bridge with Sphinx, and The Artificial Cave with a Ruin. The park was landscaped from a one-time alluvial forest which surrounded farmland and buildings occupying an island formed there by two arms of the river and called appropriately Ostrov (the Isle). The park is also biologically very interesting. Many rare plants can be found there, as well as an old raven reserve. But most attractive is the fallow-deer park.

Early written records of the existence of a settlement there date from the 12th century when it was listed under the name of Velprideh. By the 13th century the then village became the property of the monastery of Doksany. Its new owners changed the place's name to Veltrusy. From the 17th century the history of the whole area was linked with the Czech baronial family of the Choteks of Chotkov and Vojnin. In 1899 the village was granted the status of a town.

The name of the proprietor was indelibly linked with major changes in the park. Adaptation work there started in the wake of a great flood of 1764 which had destroyed the French garden together with a part of the park. Still in Rudolf Chotek's time the immediate environs of the chateau had been cleared of trees, to make the building's architecture prominently visible from various angles. Subsequent landscaping of the park was determined by the then new approach to nature, which marked a radical turn in garden and park architecture. This entailed a trend towards preserving nature in its unrestrained form and the transformation of its cultivated segments to parks, giving rise to the local variety of landscaped park called, in reference to its original models, the English park. Using the advice and expertise of Europe's leading specialists, Johann Rudolf Chotek was involved in introducing this new type of park architecture to his estate. The shape of the Veltrusy park was affected by another two floods, in 1784 and 1785. It then developed to include a fully functional "decorative" farmsstead and an array of romantic follies (some of which have survived to the present time), while cultivation projects were launched to enhance the alluvial forest, and rare trees and other plant species were brought in.