Written by Alexandr Kejr
The Duchcov Chateau is situated in the Town of Duchcov, Usti Region. It is merely a mile from the local train station, which makes it a popular destination for a family trip. An enormous courtyard rests before the three-wing chateau. The Duchcov Chateau assumed its current form at the end of the 17th century. The French architect Jean-Baptiste Mathey was summoned from Rome by the Waldstein family to reinvent a smaller Renaissance building originally owned by the family of Lobkowicz.
Later the residence was altered in the Baroque style by Johann Friedrich of Waldstein, who added a courtyard.
The famous Austrian sculptor Matthias Bernard Braun lent his hand to the alterations. Four of his statues depicting Roman deities decorate the quad of the chateau. Braun, together with Czech painter Vaclav Reiner, also designed the interior of the chateau’s Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, which was consecrated in 1722.
Unfortunately, the church accidentally burned down in May of 1945, while housing the Russian liberation army. All the paintings, sculptures, and other art were lost in the fire. The only part of the church that prevailed was the Waldstein chapel.
Another grand addition to the once humble homestead was the Count’s infirmary. It was constructed by the Church between the years 1716 – 1728 and its interior boasted Reiner’s frescoes. Sadly, the infirmary fell victim to unfortunate circumstances, too. This time, the historical building was sacrificed in the name of progress and the infirmary and an enormous chateau park were demolished in 1958 to clear space for intended strip mining of coal. The park used to be a vast area that had started as a Baroque garden. Since the second half of the 18th century it had been continuously enlarged and stylized into an English classicist landscape park with alleys, solitaire trees, and sculptures.
Reconstructive efforts started in the late 1960s to bring back the former glory of the park and chateau and to make them available to the public. However, the Duchcov Chateau lived through its most glorious days between the 18th and the 19th century, as a result of its proximity to the renowned spas of the nearby town of Teplice. Many famous visitors attended the chateau’s festivities during this time. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Ludwig van Beethoven and Frédéric Chopin are only a few to mention. Giacomo Casanova, the acclaimed Italian adventurer, even worked here as a librarian for thirteen years!