Lednice Chateau has been the property of the state since 1945. It is administered by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic through the National Monuments Institute in Prague. The castle is one of the most visited monuments in our republic. The neo-Gothic reconstruction in the 19th century turned it into a romantic mansion surrounded by one of Europe’s largest parks (almost 500 acres), where visitors can find a palm greenhouse, a Venetian fountain, a Roman aqueduct, a Chinese pavilion, a minaret and the artificial ruins of John’s Castle. Thanks to the unique connection of architectural monuments with the surrounding man-made landscape, in 1996 the entire Lednice-Valtice area was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The first historical record of this locality dates back to 1222. Even then, there was probably a Gothic fortress with a courtyard, which in 1249 was granted by the Czech King Wenceslas I to the Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek.
At the end of the 13th century, the owners of the whole of Lednice and nearby Mikulov became Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, who gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family were most often used in military service and, druring the Renaissance in economic business. Since the second half of the 15th century, members of the family were also employed as the highest provincial authorities. However, a fundamental change in the position of the family in Moravia occurred only under the brothers Karel, Maximilian and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Karel and Maxmilian secured the great wealth of the old Moravian family Černohorský of Boskovice through advantageous marriages. The brothers were initially, like their father and grandfather, Lutheran Protestants, but soon converted to the Catholic faith, paving the way for further political activity. This concerned in particular Karel, who worked at the court of Emperor Rudolf II. In 1604 he became governor of Moravia, and in 1608, King Matthias II promoted him to princely status and granted him the principality of Opava.
During the Bohemian revolt, he sided with the Habsburgs and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the defeat of the noble uprising in 1620 by the systematic purchase of confiscated property of some participants in the resistance, the Liechtensteins became the richest family in Moravia and replaced Žerotín in their position. The huge land fund brought them great profits and enabled them a magnificent construction business here in Lednice.
By the 16th century, Hartmann II of Liechtenstein had local medieval water fortress demolished and replaced it with a Renaissance castle. At the end of the 17th century, this building was demolished and a Baroque mansion was built here with a large architecturally designed garden and a monumental riding school, designed by Jan Bernard Fischer of Erlach, which has been preserved in an only slightly modified form to this day.
After the middle of the 18th century, the chateau was again remodeled and in 1815 its front tracts, which were part of the baroque chateau, were removed.
Today’s appearance comes from the years 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II of Liechteinstein decided that Vienna was unsuitable for holding summer festivities and had Lednice rebuilt into a representative summer residence in the English Gothic style. The representative halls on the ground floor (now the 1st sightseeing circuit), which are equipped with carved ceilings, wooden wall paneling and selected furniture, were used to organize grand meetings of the European nobility. On the 1st floor of the castle you can visit the private rooms of the Liechtensteins. On the 2nd floor there are rooms for children and their governesses, together with the puppet museum of Milan Knížák.
For more information about the South Moravian Region, from which chateau comes, click here and here.