From Prague you can take a trip to the nearby Baroque chateau from the first half of the 18th century once owned by the Chotek family. The chateau was later reconstructed in the classicist style, but the monumentality and dynamics of the high Baroque construction was preserved. The building is surrounded by a landscape park, which used to be the largest one in Central Europe.
Rural Baroque residenceThe construction of the chateau near Prague in Central Bohemia started in 1704 and was gradually completed by the mid-18th century. The author of the design is Italian architect Giovanni B. Alliprandi, who worked in Prague. The Veltrusy Chateau is incorporated into the urbanistic design of the natural-landscape park with a unique concept of a decorative farm that was to connect the decorative element with a utility form. It is one of the oldest buildings of its kind in Central Europe. During the greatest boom, the Veltrusy estate owned about 2,000 hectares.
The chateau has an oval core, to which lower wings arranged into an X-shape are attached radially. In the north, there is an honourable courtyard, enclosed by allegoric Baroque statues of the twelve months and four seasons by sculptor Matyáš Bernard Braun, who is famous for his statues on the premises of Hospital Kuks. The chateau interiors are mostly furnished with the Baroque and Rococo furniture that the Czech aristocracy used in rural estates. On the ground floor there is sala terrena and other preserved rooms.
The chateau belonged to the Chotek family until 1945 when it was confiscated by the state. The chateau and the park now belong to the state and are accessible to the public in the summer tourist season.
A unique landscape compositionThe building is situated in the natural landscape park designed as a decorative farming estate. The scenic romantic landscape, the slow flow of the Vltava River, the wild alluvian forest, the picturesque hundreds-of-year-old trees on hidden meadows, the golden fields with cereal as well as seemingly forgotten spots with sculptures and pavilions where time has stopped – this is the Veltrusy park. It also includes a lot of historical events – in 1754, there was the Large Commodity Market of the Czech Kingdom, the first trade fair in the world, visited also by Marie Theresa with her husband Francis I.
The chateau park is open year-round from dawn till dusk. The natural landscape park from the beginning of the 19th century, completed with small structures, a game preserve and scenic spots invites walks and relaxation. The original intention of the first owner of the chateau was to create a huge ornamental French garden similar to the one in Versailles. However, the vicinity of a river meant frequent floods, which also destroyed the French garden. The last flood that affected the area was in summer 2002.