Sunday, 21 September 2014

Cimburk Castle, Korycany

In the middle of the forest, but easy to find lays Cimburk castle at Korycany city. It seems quite big from the bird’s eye as I saw on the internet, but once you’re inside it changes its proportion.

I choose to go there on the Castle’s Night, as this was one of the castles close by that offered interesting programme. Not only did we feel like we moved backward in time, because of the knights and fencers but we also witnessed the most spectacular fire show. A lot of sensation was going on that night. Everything started at 6 p.m. once we entered the castle. We could have move freely around the castle without any supervision, visit every corner of it and take as much time as we need to look into every detail. Then one demonstration by one took place, we’ve been a part of the lectures about swords used by knights back in time, about the clothes proper ladies wore in Baroque or admired battles between knights. What’s more, every hour or so guided tours were organized.

Those who participated learnt many interesting facts about the castle, things they won’t google or find on castle’s official website. I was a bit shocked when we entered the “basement” and I heard there’re six more floors underneath the place I was standing. As long as we could enter the “basement”, which was at a time transformed into alchemist’s laboratory, unfortunately we were not allowed to see what’s hiding beneath our feet. Maybe better for us, because it must have been cold and dark over there, since it served as a food warehouse. Actually nowadays they also keep beer and food supplies there.

Another point that draw my attention was the story about a 300-year-old tree, which grew on the main yard. Castle’s guardians were afraid it may collapse one day destroying the building in front of it. They wanted to cut it down, but green fighters were completely opposed to that idea. Eventually castle won, the tree was cut down, but not thrown away. It was recycled- a new roof and chairs were made out of it.

As the tour went to an end, we were told everyone can participate in castle rebuilding. Due to tropical heats 2 or 3 years ago, part of the castle fell to ruin. Now every hand is needed to put the bricks back in the place they belong.

This was the second time I stayed at the castle after dusk. But this time, the place turned to a fairytale castle, ornamented with candles on every corner. The atmosphere was unusual.


It’s around 50 kilometers from Brno in directions to Vyskov, go through Slavkov u Brna, Bucovice and then straight to Korycany.

You don’t necessarily need to park your car at Korycany city, since it’s quite a distance to walk. There’s a parking place around a kilometer from the castle: U Krizku, so called crossroads between two hiking paths-yellow and red. You should follow the yellow one. But first how to get there? From the city U Korycany turn right before the church and follow the Lhotka street as long as you see the parking space.

The GPS coordinates of the castle are as follow: GPS   49°6'13.177"N, 17°12'58.217"E. 

Opening hours: 

Thet are opened every day from 10 am to 5 pm from September till April, during summer they are opened from 9am till 6pm. 

Enjoy your visit

Friday, 5 September 2014

Novy hradek u Lukova

Novy hradek u Lukova

This place is a bit further than our usual destinations, but it’s still worth considering.

There’re two that I am aware of, cities called Lukov in the Czech Republic, one in Znojmo Region and the other one in Zlin Region. Surprisingly in both you may find castle’s ruins. The one I would like to write about is closer to Znojmo, it’s around 90 kilometers from Brno, which makes more than an hour to get there. We’ve parked 3 kilometers from the castle on a designated parking space-next to stable and very close to a guesthouse U Hradku.  We took our bikes so we covered the distance within 15 minutes, but it takes around 30 - 40 minutes to get there on foot. The commented guided tour takes place every hour. No one is allowed to enter the castle’s premises on their own as it endangers the natural environment as well as health and safety of individuals.  It’s necessary to wait outside the gate, which is opened only every hour to let 20 visitors in. In September the castle is opened only on weekends. There’s a lunch break between 12 and 1 pm so keep in mind not to plan your trip at that time. The entrance fee is 60 kc, reduced 30 kc.

Novy hradek u Lukova is called one of the most romantic medieval castles in the Czech Republic. Why? Probably because of the gems Podyji National Park hides.

We’ve been waiting more than 30 minutes for the tour, but if we’re not going inside we wouldn’t see much. Once the gate opened we could’ve seen what seem to be forbidden from the outside. We’ve learned that this is the only castle laying in the first zone of Podyji National Park, that there’re actually two castles-the old one from the second half of XIV century and the new one from XIX century and a lot more I’m about to share. First we went to see the old castle, which was devastated by Swedish during the Thirty Years’ War. On our way there we’ve been warned several times how dangerous and slippery this place can be. We’ve seen the remnants of the entrance that used to be on the 1st floor. We were told that the inner body of the castle was left intact. It looks as it used to. We’ve been also instructed how well the castle must have been built, since it last more than 400 years without any maintenance. At the end we heard that in 1645 the old castle was desolated. Then we moved to the new castle, which was used as a summer villa for almost 100 years by Stanisław Mniszek, contemporary owner. Many years later, for some time, the new castle served as a lodging house. People were arriving to Lukov happily hoping not only to rest but also to derive pleasure.  This place used to be a touristic centre, people could rent a boat, go on a hiking tour or go to a gallery.  This region was called Moravian Switzerland and Znojmo was acclaimed the gate to the Moravian Switzerland. Everything changed when in 1948 the terrain was guarded, and the castle was no man’s land.

40 years later in 1990 Podyji National Park was acclaimed and in 1992 the castle was reopened. It’s claimed that around 1400 kinds of plants were discovered here-it’s more than in Tatry Mountains.
Thanks to visitors and their donations, a new roof could be built on. A roof we could walk on and admire splendid view on the Podyji River. One river but seems like 3 completely different rivers, going in a completely different direction. The river creates a natural Austro-Czech border.

I’m convinced this trip won’t end up here for most of you. This place will only whet your appetite. You may go to Vranov reservoir, jump on a boat and find yourself on a Bitov castle. Remember the last cruise go at 4 p.m. The parking fee 80 kc. If you don’t feel like cruising, you may go to Znojmo undergrounds or cross the borders and visit the Hardegg castle. Close by there in a beautiful castle Vranov nad Dyji, I wrote about a year ago or so. There’re plenty of cycle or hiking paths-definitely a lot to choose from.