Gardens below Prague Castle

Character of castles and chateaux in Czech republic

In Czech republic there is a very high number of historical castles and chateaux. This fact is interesting when you consider the size of the country. There are some nine hundred castles, some of them are important heritage sites, some are being used as offices, schools, cliniques and many are just empty waiting for an owner that would find some use for them.

After the war nearly all the properties were nationalised and belonged either to state schools, hospitals, homes for the elderly, art galleries, agricultural cooperatives and local government. Some of them were used as hotels or recreation facilities or even army barracs. Only smaller part of the castles were open to the public as museums.

Many chateaux and castles suffered during the socialist period from insensitive reconstructions and building additions. However only few of them were really seriously damaged by the activities of the time. The most common construction changes that were applied to them were addition of new partition walls and of lower false ceilings. But above these added ceiling the original stucco decorations and frescoes were in most cases preserved. The partition walls can be removed, the damage was usually done only to the parquet floors that had to be cut to provide space for the walls.

Paradoxically the largest damage was in many cases done after the castles were privatised or returned to the relatives of the orginal owners. The new owners either did not live in this country and did not show interest in their newly acquired property or the businessmen that have bought these castles had too optimistic view of how quickly they can resell them with profit. The result in these cases were many years of lack of care and very little protection from the elements and vandalism. Those properties can now be as a rule bought for very low price, e.g. 200 – 300 thousand euros.

There are also castles and chateaux that are in very good condition and the owners want to sell them for various reasons. There are some 10 such chateaux and castles that can be purchased for prices starting at 670 000 euro. Then there are luxury residences with large private parks that sell for prices around 4 - 5 mil. euros.

There are smaller romantic chateax and villas in relatively good condition that sell for around 500 000 euros, depending on their proximity to the capital. If you want to refurbish a castle yourself you can probably get one for something like 150 000 euro. Advantages of refurbishing the property yourself consist mainly in possibility to preserve all the historical elements you like, adjusting the property to your own needs, and in case of enterpreneurs they can include the refurbishment cost in their accounting to lower their tax burden. Properties that are in need of total refurbishment are abundant and you can make your choice from several castles in each part of the country.

Majority of chateaux in Czech republic are now in baroque , rococo or neoclassicism architectural styles. Gothic and renaissance period is less common. In the 19th century when historical romanticism became fashionable, many chateaux were rebuilt in a mixture of architectural styles.

Copyright © Roman Hronek