Once the ownership of the Lords of Rohans, the ancient French aristocratic family. Composer Antonin Dvorak.
Order Tour Code: C NN4
This castle was built by the Rohans, an old aristocratic family who left France after its revolution in the 18th century. Before they came to our country, the family ranked among the ten most influential aristocratic clans in France. It is open every day of the year. We recommend to have the lunch in the castle on the rock Hruba Skala with the great view of the Bohemian Paradise, the rocky formations protected by UNESCO.
5-7 HOUR ROUND TRIP
The history of the area, where the castle is situated, dates back to the 15th century. From this time there are records of a fort, which was the property of the Czech royal chamber. In its place a stone mansion house was built in the 16th century, and in the years 1690 – 1693 a smaller Baroque castle was constructed by the knighted Lamotts family of Frintropp. Members of this French aristocratic family can be classified as belonging to the category of officers who were being rewarded with lands confiscated from Czech aristocracy for their services to the Austrian Emperor during the Thirty Years´ War. In 1740 this estate was bought by František of Valdštejn of Mnichovo Hradiště family line. Since the Valdštejns resided in Mnichovo Hradiště, the castle of Sychrov ceased to be a permanent residence of lords. For almost 80 years no significant changes took place here, and the compound was used for farming purposes and for the accommodation of servants. This situation radically changed on August 30th 1820, when Duke Karel Alain Gabriel Rohan became the new owner of Sychrov and the Svijany estate. That year the 125-year era of the Rohans at Sychrov began, as well as the period of the castle´s greatest fame. The Rohan family originated in Brittany, where the oldest records relating to them can be traced back to as early as the year 951. Over the centuries their position strengthened until they ranked among the ten most influential aristocratic families in France, and as direct cousins of French kings also acquired the title of „Princes of Royal Blood". The family included several lines whose members held significant offices – military, political or clerical. After the French Revolution they left France and settled into the Austrian Monarchy. Contrary to other aristocratic escapees who were returning to France (during the reign of Napoleon I and mainly in the period of reaction – i.e. under Louis XVII and Charles X), the Rohans stayed in Bohemia, in spite of being later invited to return.
The main residence of the family was Sychrov, however, as a small, dilapidated Baroque castle, it did not satisfy the demands placed on the residence of Dukes and Princes. During the period under Duke Karel Alain Gabriel Rohan, a grand redevelopment in the Empire Style was performed (completed in 1834). Nevertheless, the construction development of the castle continued, particularly under Duke Kamil Joseph Idesbald Philip Rohan, during which time the current neo-Gothic look of Sychrov was being established. Due to the reconstruction in the romantic neo-Gothic style between 1847 – 1862, carried out according to the design of Bernard Grueber, a professor of the Art Academy, Sychrov is included among the most significant monuments of historical styles of the 19th century ( as are for example the castles of Hluboká nad Vltavou, Lednice and Hrádek u Nechanic …). All works were solely entrusted to domestic artists and craftsmen. Among these, a significant position was held by Petr Bušek, a woodcarver, who with his creative and artistic talent imparted a great artistic value and unrepeatable ambience to all the castle´s interiors. His work was complemented by the activities of a number of other great artists and craftsmen (sculptors Emanuel Max and Vincenc Smolík, upholsterer Ludvík Grein, joiner Petr König, blacksmith Jan Novák, ...). Duke Kamil Rohan paid specific attention to the Castle Park, designed in the English style, which during his life experienced an unprecedented boom and became a model for the establishment of many now important arboreta such as Průhonice and Konopiště. During this period, a rare harmonising of the castle exterior, interior, and the park was accomplished.
The end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s brought to the castle functional adaptations which not only partially changed the castle exterior ( various decorative neo-Gothic oriels and attics were removed, as was the plaster from the formerly plastered towers, which was replaced by rubble masonry…) but also its interior. In many rooms, Bušek´s lavish carvings (e.g. ceiling panelling in the staircase hall) and French embossed wallpapers made of pigskin were taken down. The neo-Gothic furnishing was being replaced by new, modern items.
After the end of World War II the castle was confiscated pursuant to Decree No. 12/1945 the Collection of Laws and became state property. At first it served as a collection point for confiscated property, and since May 1st 1950 it has been open to the public to a small extent. During the 70s the tour route expanded to the south wing and the corridor of the south annex with the Antonín Dvořák Memorial. Since the beginning of the nineties, an extensive reconstruction and restoration of castle exteriors, interiors, and the park have been under way, the object of which is to make the Castle of Sychrov look as close to its original form at the time of its biggest boom- i.e. its condition in the second half of the 19th century- as possible.
The Basic Sightseeing Route
The basic sightseeing route takes visitors, in addition to a number of interiors situated on the ground floor, particularly to interiors on the first floor of the south, west, north and east wings, including part of Brittany Tower. To begin with, the visitors will walk through the sgraffito corridor to the Castle Chapel. Here they will learn about the basic characteristics of the place, its history, and the targets of the re-installation of the interiors, which took place during the years 1990 - 1999. The chapel interior was installed in 1990 in accordance with the preserved archive materials and photographs. From here it is possible to take a look into a small vestry, in which cast-iron plaques bearing the names of the deceased, taken from coffins from the Rohan´s burial chamber in Loukov, are placed on the walls in genealogical order. On the table are a small wooden casket, containing a piece of bloodstained cloth from the shirt of the Duke de Turenne, and a small marble container in which the heart of the Duke d' Enghien was placed. The visitors come out of the chapel through the antechamber and can view the vestry, which is furnished with furniture from the workshop of Petr Bušek. Afterwards, follows the viewing of the staircase hall with a marble statue of the most significant ancestor of the family - Henry II. Duke of Rohan and Prince of Leon. The visitors will walk up the main marble staircase to the first floor, the sightseeing of which will begin in the south wing. Here they can see three small private rooms of the Duchess-Mother (antechamber, bedroom and lounge), which are furnished in neo-Gothic style, complemented by items of graphic art, depicting French harbours; very high quality paintings with religious motifs (e.g. Madonna on the Throne- Italy from the middle of the14th century, Holy Family with St. Catherine – work of Pietro Paolo da Santa Croce) and portraits from the Rohan gallery. The rooms of the south wing are completed by the hunting room which contains many trophies and weapons of European and Oriental origin, and the family museum, the display cases of which contain many articles commemorating the Rohan´s homeland - France (e.g. pebbles from the family residence of Josselin) or significant personalities (e.g.. the Duke of d´Enghien). The corridor in the south wing is filled with life-size portraits of significant ancestors of the family (some of the paintings in question are imaginary portrayals by Karel Javůrek, others are French originals from the 17th and 18th centuries). From the south wing the sightseeing route leads through the„Corridor of Antlers" to the west wing, in which hunting trophies and weapons are displayed. The west wing rooms have been open to visitors since July 1st1999. They include the so-called Royal Suite (antechamber, drawing room, bedroom, Oriental lounge, clothes room with an adjoining room for a servant) and a bedroom of the flat next to the gallery. All the interiors are furnished with Busek´s neo-Gothic furniture and the lounge with the bedroom contains large portraits of French sovereigns and members of the Royal Dynasty of Bourbon. Five interiors of the north wing were reconstructed according to archive materials in 1991, and first opened to visitors on April 18th 1992. These are the Duke´s private rooms in the following order: study, dressing room, bedroom, lounge, and small dining room. All of them are furnished with richly carved neo-Gothic furniture from Petr Busek´s workshop, portraits of the Rohan´s family gallery, a collection of porcelain, pipes, and articles which commemorate the Duke´s greatest hobby - botany and dendrology (botanical atlases, microscope, herbariums...). After the north wing, two parts of the east corridor and the antechamber of a large drawing room follow. The walls are filled with many portraits from the Rohan portrait gallery. The tour continues in the hall next to a large oratory with a beautifully carved spiral staircase from Petr Bušek´s workshop, and with Rohan´s portraits from Karel Javůrek´s painting workshop. It is possible to take a look into the large oratory, which has a number of high quality late Gothic sculptures, reliefs, and panel paintings. The other five rooms of the east wing form the Duchess suite (these consist of the Duchess´s small private oratory, her bedroom, dressing room, study, and lounge with a fireplace). All the Lady´s interiors are furnished with Busek´s neo-Gothic furniture inspired by both the Gothic style of Central Europe and the English architect Pugine (e.g.. a suite in the Duchess´s study). The rooms are embellished with Dutch floral still life and with a number of family gallery portraits. Articles of every day use by a lady are also to be seen, together with a rich collection of faience, glass, porcelain and old tin decorative items. Castle stately interiors start with the large drawing room with a rich carved ceiling from P. Busek´s workshop, containing Rohan´s crest motifs. The castle library contains 7,209 titles, which are placed in richly carved neo-Gothic, Busek´s cabinets. Visitors are also attracted by glass paintings by Jan Zacharias Quast, which are also housed in another interior, the billiards room. The original wallpapers from embossed skin are preserved on the walls. The most splendid castle interior ends the east wing of the castle - it is called the large dining hall, in the decoration of which the artistry of the carver Petr Busek culminates. This exquisite area is dominated by large canvasses of significant ancestors of the family and Rohan´s owners of Sychrov (Karel Alain Gabriel Rohan, Kamil Josef Filip Idesbald Rohan, Alain Benjamin Rohan), they are supplemented with glass paintings of other Rohan ancestors (creator of the glass paintings: Jan Zachariáš Quast). In the last part of the tour the visitors walk through the corridor with family portraits, taking a look into a meal preparation room with a rich collection of Holic faience. Afterwards they walk down the spiral stairs of the Brittany Tower to the starting point - sgraffito corridor.
The Extended Sightseeing Route
The extended sightseeing route includes the basic sightseeing route, which is enhanced by the interiors of Berta´s Wing, which informs the visitors about the development of interior design from Renaissance to historicism. The first hall is dedicated to the art of the Renaissance period, followed by a small connecting passageway with items of a hunting theme represented mainly by copperplates by E. Riedienger. A Baroque lounge comes afterwards, displaying Holic faience, it is a small room conceived as a conservatory. The multiplicity of Rococo shapes can be admired by the tourists in the Rococo Lounge with a rich collection of Meissen porcelain ware. An interesting collection of Prague vistas may be viewed in the Lounge of Classicism. Pride of place in the Empire-Style Lounge surely goes to Füger´s painting, depicting the portrait of Octavia Merveldt - Pergenova. The imperial lounge contains portraits of the Emperor Francis Joseph I and his wife Elisabeth. The last interior is dedicated to historicism, represented by the neo-Gothic altar (from Petr Bušek´s workshop) which was originally located in the castle chapel and then transferred to the Rohan´s burial chamber in Loukov. The visitors leave through the corridor, in which they can view a very interesting collection of colourised lithograph with a military theme.
At the end of the corridor it is possible to see four other interiors. The first is dedicated to the most significant Rohan ancestor at Sychrov - Kamil Rohan. The second room depicts in photographs the life of the last Rohans at the castle.
The last two rooms are of different character to all the other castle interiors.
The first, with the help of modern lighting and equipment, elucidate the relationship of Antonin Dvorak, a classic music composer, to Sychrov and to the commissioner, Alois Göbl.
The last room resembles a Turkish tent.
I. - III. 10.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m.
IV. 9.00 a.m. - 3.30 p.m.
V. - VIII. 9.00 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.
IX. - X. 9.00 a.m. - 3.30 p.m.
XI. - XII. 10.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m.
It is open every day all aover the year.
The private night tours of the castle can be booked ahead.