Vysoka u Pribrami, a small community located in the middle of scenic wooded countryside within a stone´s throw from the Brdy hills, was for over two decades a home away from home to one of the foremost protagonists of Czech music, the composer Antonin Dvorak (1841 – 1904).
In 1878, Dvorak´s brother-in-law, Count Dr Vaclav Kounic, the proprietor of the estate of Vysoka, had a mansion built at the edge of the wood, set in the middle of a large park adorned by small lakes, today serving as the Antonin Dvorak Memorial. The composer would regularly come here to visit the Kounic family, staying at the steward´s lodge adjacent to the deer-park.
In 1884, following his triumphant reception in England, the composer purchased from his brother-in-law a plot of land with an old granary which was then promptly converted to a comfortable country home (the Villa Rusalka). There, Dvorak spent a good deal of time indulging in
his favourite pastimes of gardening and pigeon breeding, as well as, naturally enough, composing – indeed, Vysoka was a place which immensely boosted Dvorak´s creative potential. The composer himself wrote in his letters to friends: “I feel so happy here…”.
The first permanent exhibition, on a comparatively small-scale still, was open to the public as early as 1963. Owing to the mansion´s general reconstruction and subsequent extensive overhaul of the adjoining park (approx. 16 acres), the memorial was closed to visitors between 1990 and 1993. Since May 1994 it has again served as a museum open to the general public, newly offering access to all of the mansion´s three floors. For short-term exhibitions, the mansion´s basement was substantially refurbished, making possible the opening there, in May 2001, of the Vaclav Kounic Gallery.
The extensive English park with an area of 8 hectares attracts walks in all seasons. There are two romantic lakes in the park and next to the
chateau there is a monument to Antonin Dvorak by the sculptor Karel Otahal.
For more information about the Central Bohemia Region where this place is located click here.