Written by Radka Jindrichova
Kuks is not really a castle or a chateau, it is a hospital that can be found in Hradec Kralove Region. Its history began in 17th century, when Frantisek Antonin Spork took a liking to the place where Kuks Hospital rested and started with rebuilding it. Frantisek Antonin Spork is one of the most important people of the Czech baroque period, was a collector of baroque art and this is recognizable in Kuks. Kuks is well-known because of the statues from Matyas Bernard Braun. The whole complex is built in a baroque architectural style which includes an earl’s residence, spas, a monastery, the tomb of its founder and a cemetery.
Frantisek Antonin Spork was a son of a soldier and that may be the reason why he decided to build Kuks Hospital – to accommodate veterans. In 1707 the construction began and the first building was a church. The last thing actually to be placed in the area in 1720 was the set of Braun’s statues. Since then Kuks Hospital has been modified many times. Sadly, Frantisek Antonin Spork could not see the finished activity of the Hospital. He died in 1738 and the Hospital construction started in 1743.
People who were accommodated in the Hospital had to follow several rules. Many things were forbidden – alcohol, swearing, loud arguments etc. They also had to make sure that their room was clean and they had to go to church every day. The Hospital stopped working in 1938 because of the Munich Agreement. It partly became a storage building and also a building for a school and a museum. Since 1942 it was a detention home and after that it became a shelter for German women and children running away from the Russian army.
After World War II the complete reconstruction began. Since 1946 the Hospital has been opened to the public and also some tours are held there. In 1958 it became a cultural heritage building but under the wrong name – Kuks Chateau. In 1995 it was promoted to national cultural heritage building, now under the correct name – Kuks Hospital. The reconstruction has continued and in 2015 the Hospital was once a gained opened up to the public.