*as seen in The Logbook
For visitors to the Czech Republic, Castle Blatná offers a real insight into the history of the country that dates back to the year 1235, when the fortress was first mentioned as the seat of Vyšemír, a member of the nobility. Today, as accurately as a geologist can map the movements of the landscape by observing the lines of sediment in a cliff, visitors and history lovers can observe the past within the design of this beautiful fortress.
Castle Blatná was acquired by the Hildprandt family at the end of the 18th century and after the turbulence of the communist regime the castle was finally handed back to the family to be re-opened to the public in 1992.
The current owners are Jana Germenis-Hildprandt, who is the daughter of the original owner from whom the property was confiscated by the Communist regime some 70 years ago, and her son Stephanos Germenis.
Jana spent her life in Ethiopia and Greece before returning in the early 1990s to take over the estate following restitution. Stephanos who has spent most of his life in Greece and the UK took over management of the estate a few years ago and works with between 20-50 members of staff depending on the season.
Maintaining the castle is not only a matter of family heritage, but also patriotic pride to the long history and distinct architectural style that the Castle Blatná represents. As one of three surviving water castles in the Czech Republic, the others being Švihov and Červena Lhota, it is the best preserved and this is a legacy worth maintaining.
The architectural and historical development of the chateau are striking examples of the changing artistic styles over the centuries, and since it was mostly held by members of the high nobility over the years, Blatná was one of the places where Central Europe’s history was written. But its presence goes back much further as archaeological findings indicate that the knoll in the middle of the marshes, known as blata – from where Blatná’s name derives was settled in prehistoric times and the area has always been either lived in or travelled through ever since.
These details and many more are worked into the very substance of Castle Blatná. As an example, Jaroslav Lev, who owned the castle in 1446, held several high government posts at the court of Bohemian King Jiří of Poděbrady to whom he was related by marriage. Between 1465 and 1467, he led a diplomatic delegation of forty Bohemian lords and knights who traversed the continent seeking to broker peace between the courts of Western and Central Europe. The influence of his travels is reflected in the late Gothic renovations he made to the castle’s distinctive entrance tower and the beautiful frescoes that survive in the Rožmital Palace.
Castle Blatná has survived political upheaval, war and the trials of time thanks to the dotage of those who have owned and been inspire by it over the centuries. Understanding that for its outstanding prominence to continue for future generations to enjoy, Stephanos has sought to restore and maintain the estate in a sustainable, self-sufficient and eco-conscious manner. Supporting the cultural heritage, safeguarding its relevance to the future and keeping it accessible to the general public.
LOOKING AFTER CUSTOMERS AND VISITORS
As Castle Blatná is part of a wider symbiotic system within the greater community, customer service and relationship building have played an imperative role in their mission to maintain a high-quality level of visitor experience.
At the institutional level, they cooperate closely with the Ministry of Culture and its Heritage Authority, as well as with their private sector partners, in order to develop the estate further. Equally importantly, at the local and community level, they believe in their responsibility to promote culture and heritage; it is great to see the public embracing and sharing their vision toward this end either directly or via social media which is used extensively as a tool to reach people.
Within an hour’s drive from Prague, the castle is a perfect weekend destination. Although currently they are unable to provide overnight accommodation on-site, there are plenty of hotels nearby that act as a great base for exploring Castle Blatná and the surrounding Bohemian countryside, which is filled with lakes, cycle-paths, and other castles.
The 2019/2020 season is an exciting time for Castle Blatná as they are launching a series of long-term projects that include expanded museum tours to the newly restored areas of the castle and for the first time, intimate candle-lit dinners in the English deer park.
Alongside these new projects, they are continuing to host their programme of hugely popular concerts in the courtyard, bringing musicians from across Europe to Blatná throughout the summer.
ADDRESS: Castle Blatná, Na Příkopech 320, 38801 Blatná, Czech Republic
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 00420 383 422 934