Breznice Chateau, Medieval Town and Jewish Quarter
Place of love story of Ferdinand of Tyrol and Filipina Wesser
Order Tour Code: C S5
The medieval town laying on the Golden path, by which way salt was first imported to the Czech lands from the direction of Pasau in the middle ages. The chateau is the place of love story of Ferdinand of Tyrol and Filipina Wesser, that secretely married in the castle in 1557. Also worth paying attention to is the stone bridge across the Vltava with sculptured Baroque ornamentation or remmants of "The Holy Way" to Pribram.
4 HOUR ROUND TRIP
The beginnings of Breznice castle are closely related to the rise of the small medieval town and the spreading up of shops. On the Golden path, by which way salt was first imported by the Czech lands from the direction of Pasau, a market town first grew up, and then later in the first half of the 13th century also a Gothic fortress.
In the history of the following centuries, a whole line of owners, well-known people and also the less known, have been mentioned in the history of Breznice. Only a very few castles, can boast a history so rich in interesting personalities and romantic events as Breznice.
The first stage of Renaissance reconstruction of the castle went under way at the time of Jiri Loksany in the years 1548-1551. In that year, however, Jiri of Loksany died and the administration of the estate and overseeing of the next construction activity was over by his wife Katerina of Loksany. At this time Breznice castle became a popular centre for social events. Occasionally the high prince, Ferdinand, son of Ferdinand I. Came there on visits. He chose for his wife Filipina Welser, the beautiful and shrp-witted niece of the owner of the castle , Katerina of Loksany. Katerina supported the acquaintance of her niece in every way possible, even though she was from the standpoint of social standards a very problematic case. Filipina Welser came from a rich, but socially lower placed middle-class lineage. Nothing about that changed the fact that she borrowd from her father the sovereign´s fine-sounding name, financial resources or splendid furnishings when organising banquets. The marriage of Filipina Welser and Ferdinand was thought to be mismatched and almost too unimaginable for the Habsburg archduke to offer the common girl his hand in marriage. Despite this event took place anyway, right in Breznice, even if it was without the knowledge and agreement of the imperial father. Historical records tell us high prince Ferdinand was charmed by Filipina and gave her preference in the face of the favourable offers of marriage to daughters of the Euroepan monarchs of that time and even to the king´s throne.
In January 1557 a secret marriage ceremony was held in Breznice between Ferdinand, who at that time had just given up the function of royal governor, and Filipina Welser. Now there was nothing left for the newly wedded couple to do except hope that at the appropriate moment the emperor would be merciful and acknowledge the unsuitable marriage. Before long Breznice castle became witness to, among other events, namely the birth of Filipina and Ferdinand´s first child. However, in order that it could be brought up by its mother without her being denounced as immorial, it was left by the gates of the castle. The guards then brought Filipina the child as a founding and she accepted it as her own. Soon after that archduke Ferdinnad and his wife resettled in the royal castle at Krivoklat. It was closer to Prague and Ferdinand was able to také care of the administration of the Czech lands. At the time it was hoped the emperor already knew about his son´s marriage, but a provision was made stipulating that the secret should be kept and children born from that marriage shouldn´t have any line of inheritance except in the case of the threat of the Habsburks´family sying out. Not until 1576, when Filipina and Ferdinand lived outside the Czech lands in the Tyrol castle at Abras, did official recognition of the marriage come about by the pope and Filipina could be seen publicly at her husband´s side.
LANDMARKS OF BREZNICE TOWN
The history of today´s castle is also closely related to that of the town of Breznice, originally a market settlement. Closely dependent on the castle� owners was a town which grew up and in which several landmarks have survived.
A unique historical monument of Breznice is the district where the Jewish population once resided, called Loksany. In 1726, by decision of the emperor , there was an edict that Jews lived separately from the other people. In Breznice the area of the former Loksan square was set aside for them and so teh new district started to be called Loksany. Up to the present several historical buildings have survived including the central synagogue (whose origin dates back to 1726-28, burnt down and was reconstructed) or a house which was the former Jewish school, the so-called �house with eyes�. Architecturally the most valuable structure is the house of a Jew by the name of Popper, in whose building Kilian Ignac Dienyenhofer, most probably one of the most eminent builders of that time, participated. The Jewish community even had its own cemetery, added as early as the 16th century, with a lot of the original epitaphs, which lie in the near vicinity of the road to Rozmital pod Tremsinem.
Also worth paying attention to is the stone bridge across the Vltava with sculptured Baroque ornamentation or remmants of "The Holy Way" to Pribram.
In the middle of the 17th century the Breznice Jesuits entered into the administration of Svata Hora. In this way it became a renowned place of pilgrimage. Breznice was joined to Svata Hora via a road with 16 crosses and pictures. This road was completed in 1759 with small stone-built chapels, of which some have survived until today.