Written by Dusan Vokrouhlik
The town of Benesov nad Ploucnici, located in the Usti region, hosts a complex of 7 buildings, including two Renaissance chateaus.
The first is the Upper Chateau and the second is the Lower Chateau. The Upper Chateau was built by Bedrich from Salzhausen from the noble family of Salhausens.
The year was 1515 when the Salhausens came to the Czech Republic to Benesov nad Ploucnici from Meissen. In the same year, the Salhausens were accepted amongst the Czech nobility. The three sons of Jiri Salhausen – Bedrich, Jan, and Volf – lived together in the beginning but they parted ways in the year 1522, and only Bedrich stayed in the town of Benesov nad Ploucnici. He had the Chateau built between the years 1522-1524. Later, his son Bedrich II of Salzhausen, lived in the Upper Chateau. In 1571, there was a fire in Benesov nad Ploucnici and the Upper Chateau was damaged. Bedrich II of Salzhausen renovated the Chateau after the fire and built a new door with the Salhausens coat of arms.
Bedrich II of Salzhausen built the Lower Chateau for his son Jan of Salzhausen. Construction on the Lower Chateau started in the year 1540 and ended in the year 1544. The Lower Chateau is decorated with a Renaissance pediment and a three-story tower. After Jan´s death, his sons – Antonin and Volf – lived in the Lower Chateau. Around the year 1578, Volf built his own renaissance palace near the Lower Chateau called the Volf‘s Wing.
Both chateaus were owned by many noble families. They were mostly owned by separate noble families at the same time. They often acquired them through marriage or bought them. The Upper Chateau was also owned by the town of Benesov nad Ploucnici. The Lower Chateau was confiscated in 1945 and became the property of the Czechoslovak state. The Upper Chateau was transferred to the Pamatkovi ustav in Usti nad Labem in 1991. The Lower Chateau was opened to the public in 1961 and the Upper Chateau in 1991.
Normally, you would be able to take 3 types of guided tours. One for the Lower Chateau in which you could see historically accurate interiors, including the kitchen, bedrooms, and the armory; second for the Upper Chateau, which features an art gallery that includes paintings and statues; and the third for Volf‘s Wing, which can offer a hunter‘s trophy room and an antique clocks exhibition. All of the buildings are unfortunately closed due to the ongoing pandemic situation.