Private owners of historic buildings in the Czech Republic have opened their doors to the public and organised special events for their visitors as part of European Private Heritage Week, which takes place until Sunday. The aim of the event, which takes place under the banner ‘Our House, Your Heritage’ is to raise awareness about the contribution private owners of heritage buildings make to society as a whole.
Dobříš Chateau in Central Bohemia, Boskovice castle in South Moravia and the water tower in Cítoliby are just some of the 15 historical objects across the Czech Republic that have joined European Private Heritage Week. The event is organised by the European Historic Houses Association on the occasion of the Year of Cultural Heritage.
Jana Germenis-Hildeprant is the owner of Blatná Castle in South Bohemia and the president of the Czech Association of Private Castle Owners, which is responsible for the Czech part of Private Heritage Week:
“I hope European Private Heritage Week will contribute to raising awareness and highlighting the necessity of maintaining and protecting our rich cultural heritage not only for the current generation but mainly for future generations.”
Owners of the historic buildings have organised all kinds of special events for the occasion, including exhibitions, concerts and theatre performances. In Blatná, for instance, people can take a special guided tour or visit the flower and garden market.
Deputy Culture Minister Anna Matoušková says one of the most interesting opportunities is to meet the building’s owners in person:
“These tours are led by the owners of the historical objects themselves. It is a great opportunity to convey stories to the visitors that are often tragic or dramatic. Many of their stories reflect the darker side of our history. And that, I think, is a huge added value of this event.”
However, not all the stories shared by the owners need to be serious or tragic. Zuzana Pavlík-Šimonková, the owner of Stránov Castle in Central Bohemia, has also prepared some amusing stories for her visitors:
“Visitors to Stránov will find out where my grandfather stored his bottles of liquor. When his friend came to visit, he would always tell them to ho and greet his wife first. But his friends would always tell him: First the liquor cupboard and then your wife.”
Visitors to the Central Bohemian Renaissance castle of Stránov can also take a special night tour or attend a theatre performance and dinner.
There are more than 2,000 castles in the Czech Republic and only a very few of them are actually owned by the state. Most of them belong to private owners or municipalities and many of them are still in a very poor state due to the legacy of around 40 years of Communism.
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