Written by Vojtech Navratil
Krasny Dvur Chateau and the neighboring village of the same name lies in the westernmost part of the Usti Region, approximately 12 miles south of the town of Kadan and about the same distance southwest of the town of Zatec, famous for its hops-growing tradition. Only a couple of miles west of Krasny Dvur lies the Karlovy Vary region military zone, inaccessible to ordinary people.
The first written record of the village of Krasny Dvur dates back to the last decade of the 13th century and mentions the name of William of Krasny Dvur, who had the village in his possession. Besides the village, William also owned two nearby mills and a small fort (two forts according to some sources).
In the second half of the 16th century, when it was owned by Jan Mastovsky z Kolovrat, the fort was converted into a renaissance villa. After the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, the villa was confiscated and Vaclav Michna z Vacinova, a Habsburg loyalist, became the new owner. However, the villa didn’t remain in his hands for very long. In 1649, the building, then in a state of decay and serving as a silo, was purchased by Herman z Chudenic of the house of Cernin. In the 18th century, the villa experienced a resurrection.
Frantisek Josef Cernin ordered the villa to be reconstructed into a baroque palace, more suitable and representative to his position at the court of Emperor Charles VI. Reconstruction ended in 1725 after five years of work, during which two buildings were added to the living quarters, forming an U-shape. The author of the project was Frantisek Maxmilian Kanka. More changes and renovations were made in years 1783-1793 by Jan Rudolf Cernin. The most notable changes were made to the gardens and other surrounding areas, which were converted into English landscape gardens.
The Cernins owned Krasny Dvur until 1938 when the eagle’s wings cast a shadow on Sudetenland (including Krasny Dvur). The property was confiscated by the Germans and used as an infirmary during the war. Also the Nazi minister of foreign affairs, Joachim von Ribbentrop, spent some time there. After the war, the chateau became state property.
As written above, the chateau is built in baroque architecture, though not as pompous as many sacral edifices. The living quarters consist of three floors which compromise the tallest section of the chateau. Two smaller, two-story buildings are attached to the living quarters. These used to serve as utility buildings, storage sheds, or as accommodations for servants.
Mesmerized by parks he had seen in England, Jan Rudolf Cernin ordered creation of a similar looking garden at the very end of 18th century. The park contains dozens of kinds of plants and trees, which makes the park valuable from a botanical perspective. However, the common visitor will probably appreciate numerous romantic structures spread all over the park. One of the most famous structures is Panuv Templ (Pan’s Temple) with an artificial waterfall. This romantic structure was inspired by classical Hellenic temples and served as a small concert hall in the past. The park, however, has much more to offer, such as the Gothic Temple, the Obelisk or Goethe’s Oak.
Krasny Dvur chateau was visited by several important personalities. Probably the most famous one of them is Johann W. Goethe, who paid a visit to the chateau in 1810. Other names on the list are Duke Metternich, Franz Josef I, Josef Dobrovsky, and many others.
Two movies were shot at Krasny Dvur Chateau – The End of Old Times (Konec starych casu) in 1989 and How Life Smells Good to Poets (Jak basnikum chutna zivot) in 1987.