July 29, 2014

Park of Blatná castle

At the end of my previous post about the castle in Blatná I promised to take you to the castle’s park so here we go.

The park is open to the public all year round, free of charge. 


In the park used to stand several buildings but today there is only one, an Empire style house, where Hildprant family owning the castle lives today. They say it is more practical and the family have more privacy there.


By the house there is a little shed which would look very nice if repaired.


At the beginning of 19th century, baron František Hildprant let build an artificial hillock with rocks in the south-west part of the park, inside which grottos connected with stone corridors were made. Those plans brought work and wages to the inhabitants of the estate in the tough period of Napoleonic wars. We might have found an entrance into one of the caves but the underground system is referred to as inaccessible these days.

At the beginning of 19th century, the front part of the park was remodelled from a deer-park into an English style park, the back part remained preserved in its original form. 


The park is not as large as it used to be but it seems to have retained its charm.


In the 80's of the 20th century the park lost an oak tree more than 800 years old, 30 metres high and 180 centimetres in diameter. Unfortunately the tree had been struck by lightning and burnt and became damaged "beyond repair". They say that under that oak the Czech Queen Joanna of Rožmitál, a sister of Jaroslav Lev of Rožmitál that I mentioned in the previous post, liked to sit and met her future husband, the Czech King George of Poděbrady.

In the front park you can see (and hear) a bunch of peacocks of various colours. They are used to people and walk freely among them. 


Nevertheless, the most popular inhabitants of the park are fallow deer that roam in the park and accept food from people walking through the park. There are signs displayed warning you that you approach and feed the fallow deer at your own risk and of course you should respect the fact that they are not your pets but they are tame and behave friendly. Especially if you have something delicious in your hand. 


You can buy some dry food for them at the castle's ticket office if you have nothing prepared.


As the park is open to the public, there is a system of gates which close themselves if you forget so that the fallow deer wouldn't get out. 

It was interesting to notice that female fallow deer kept more their distance than male fallow deer that seemed much more interested in people and what they were offering. 


The nearness of the deer felt positively and we had lots of fun watching them.


Yet I need to remark that there is a little negative aspect relating to their feeding and gathering. You need to watch your steps carefully... :)

July 12, 2014

Blatná castle


Amidst marshland, situated on rock bedrock, a wooden fortress used to stand. Then, in the 13th century, the fortress was rebuilt into a castle and later in the place of the marsh a moat was built to protect the castle. That is where the history of the castle in Blatná, which is a small town in South Bohemia, dates back.


The era of the family of the house of Rožmitál in the 15th century under which the castle was remodelled significantly is considered as the most important period in the castle's history and sometimes it is called a golden age of the castle. The family of the house of Rožmitál was very influential and held many significant posts. Jaroslav Lev of the house of Rožmitál was a relative to George of Poděbrady, the King of Bohemia, who ruled from 1458 to 1471. Jaroslav Lev was designated as a leader of a representative Bohemian mission of forty lords and knights that was travelling European courts from 1465 to 1467 to gain regard for politics of the king aimed at creating a general peace union. Description of this travelling by Václav Šašek of Bířkov became the first Bohemian book of travels.


As each castle, also this one had many owners. The last family possessing it has been the family of Václav Karel Hildprandt who bought the castle in 1798. 


In 1948, when the communist party seized the rule, the castle was confiscated by the state. Thanks to relations with the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selasie I., the Hildprandt family was allowed to emigrate to Ethiopia in 1958. In 1990, after gaining the castle back into possession, baroness Kornelia Hildprandt returned to the Czech Republic and her family make effort now to restore the castle and keep it open to the public.


There is a lot that needs to be done before the restoration is finished but I applaud to that attitude and all the work that has been done. This time we haven't attended a guided tour so when I was reading the background information a moment ago, I was amazed to learn about the importance of the castle and its inhabitants in the history of Bohemia and thus the Czech Republic. 


And yet, there were no lines waiting to get inside the castle, there was no crowded parking lot...


The first photo of this post shows the entrance to the castle from the town, the other photos were taken in the castle's yard.


There is also a large park by the castle where you can meet fallow deer and peacocks freely roaming among visitors. I'm going to take you there in my next post.

June 25, 2014

Reflections


Once I was standing on a bank of a pond, watching a duck resting just opposite and admiring its reflection in the water. It was such a tranquil scene... I zoomed in my camera in an effort to capture the impression but when I opened the photo on my laptop, I felt taken aback. Is this what I saw at the place? There is something wrong with the picture…

And then it dawned on me. The reflection did not look as I supposed it should. The duck was there but there were also trees mirroring themselves in the water which could not be seen in the upper part of the photo. Thus the resulting image consisted of two not quite matching parts. That made me think about reflections.

Mental reflections, that is to say. Our mind is able to reflect everything, not only what we can see at the moment but also what we were able to see before, even without realizing it. In the reflection we can find what is hidden to our awareness. We can distinguish new structures, conjure new patterns, identify unusual hues. We can rediscover what was forgotten, realize what was not thought over, glimpse an unexpected solution. Sometimes the picture may seem unbalanced at first or make us confused but eventually - when we look long enough - it reveals its message.

Isn't reflection a gate inviting us to an exciting world of new views, understanding and enrichment?