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About Frýdlant Castle

OWNERS AND BUILDERS

Frýdlant is one of largest and most important heritage sites in Northern Bohemia. It consists of two architectural complexes: a medieval castle and a renaissance chateau.The castle was founded in the mid 13th Century by the members of Ronovec Family. The first documented member of the family connected with Frýdlant was Častolov of Ronov in 1257. On February 7, 1278, Rudolf of Biberstein purchased the castle from the king Otakar II for 800 hrivnya (currency of that time, counted in the weight of silver). Biberstein family owned the castle till 1551 and they put a lot of effort into its medieval development. In 1551, Biberstein line died off with its last member Kryštof of Biberstein and in 1558, the castle was sold to Bedřich of Redern. The Redern era took only 63 years but even in such a short time period, the castle was significantly improved and extended. Kryštof of Redern, the last castle owner of this line, joined the uprising of lords (rebellion against the monarchy) - as a consequence of this rebellion, he lost the castle and died in exile in 1642. The castle was bought by Albrecht of Wallenstein on June 21, 1621 – as a reward, Albrecht later got the title “The Duke od Frýdlant” and he gradually built a large domain. His estates – with its center in Jicin town - flourished greatly. The Frýdlant region was called Terra felix – the Happy Country. After Albrecht’s assassination in 1634, the emperor gave Frýdlant to the Gallas house, from the first owner Matyáš Gallas to the last owner, Filip Josef Gallas, who died in 1757. His wife Anna-Marie inherited the castle and after her death in 1759, the domain was owned by the Clam-Gallases, an important aristocratic house active in diplomatic and military circles at the imperial court. They remained until 1945, when Frýdlant became property of the state. The Clam-Gallases gradually filled the castle with their numerous collections. In 1801, they opened the castle to the public – the first one in Central Europe. They lived in the chateau. In 1945, after the WWII finished, the castle was confiscated by the state and now it belongs to the National Heritage Institute. You can visit the castle and join one of its six guided tours, opened to the public from April to October. Occasionally, there are special tours, like with the guides wearing historical costumes, or baking in the castle´s kitchen. In the meantime, you can assemble this paper model. However, before you start, you might be interested in the architectural history of this spacious complex which will help you understand what you are building.

ARCHITECTURAL DEVELOPMENT
The original image of the castle is not preserved. The core was built around a mighty circular tower with its walls thicker than three meters, standing on the tallest peak of the castle. On the north-western side, it was connected with a palace, which was expanded in 14th and 15th century. Bastions and entrance tower on the south side and gate tower on the north side were added. In late Biberstein era, the fortification was improved and extended so that it protected also the front yards. Melichar and Kateřina Redern started a big reconstruction in Renaissance style after 1582. The builder was the Italian architect Marco Spazzio (also called Spazi). His project was to re-build the Gothic castle into a noble residence. Spazzio had the old palace tear down and built a new building on its place. In 1598-1602, there was a new chapel built – it was connected with the castle buildings by a covered passage and attached to the newly built edifice of the “new” or also “lower” chateau. There was an octagonal staircase tower built as well. Rich ornamental and figural decoration highlighted the typical Renaissance style of both upper and lower castle and turned the castle into an opulent residence.
Albrecht of Wallenstein did not pay much attention into the castle´s renovations, perhaps due to his scarce visits to the castle in 1627, 1628 and 1630. During Matyáš Gallas reign, the castle was attacked by the Saxons and later, repeatedly occupied by the Swedes in 1634-1649. The Swedes built a mighty Barbican, strengthened the fortification with pentagonal bastions and improved the moat. Until today, there is an inscription in the Barbican wall, saying “Pax bello potior, sequar trahentia fata” (Peace is more powerful than war, I will walk where the fate leads me).
After the Thirty-Year War, the castle belonged to the Gallas family again. In 1676 and 1684, two big fires damaged the castle. The Clam-Gallas family did significant renovations in 18th Century. In 1767, a new “Warden Wing” was built, façades were repaired and colored. The new “chateau” rooms served as accommodation, while the collections were stored in the old castle.
At the beginning of 19th Century, the castle was re-built in the Romanticism style and the façade was painted gray. Eduard Clam-Gallas made several changes in popular historicism style – a new one-storey wing was built in 1867-69, also a new tower with loopholes and battlements were built on one of the bastions, facades got new sgraffito plasters, and new gables and bow windows were added. These renovations lasted until the end of 19th century and the general look of the castle remained the same until today.
The recent owner, the National Heritage Institute, made significant restoration works, for example uncovering and restoring sgraffitos made during the Redern era, sgraffitos on the yards, repairing roofs, restoring the interiors and collections.

Text written by Miroslav Konopka, translated by Simona Čechalová


frydlant Castle
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