The magnificent castle at Nelahozeves is an outstanding example of the flowering of Italian Renaissance architecture in Bohemia from the mid 16th century. It was bought by Princess Polyxena Pernstejn Lobkowicz in 1623, but suffered considerable damage during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). Later generations of the family used the castle variously as an administrative center, a convent and most recently as a family home until it was confiscated in 1948. During Communist times, the castle was heavily restored and re-opened as a regional art gallery. Unfortunately, this restoration considerably altered some of the original character of the castle. The interior now needs sensitive work to restore it to its former glory, and the 15th century black and white sgraffito on the exterior is urgently in need of attention.
This project will make the Castle the beating heart of Nelahozeves once again. The castle will work in conjunction with the new Library and Study Center as a place for world-class events, including music performances, lectures, international festivals and conferences. The former state rooms on the first floor, known as the ‘Paradise Rooms’, will be opened up and restored for public and private events, while smaller rooms around the castle will be used as study, rehearsal or seminar rooms. The museum on the second floor will be redesigned and reinstalled, drawing on the latest scholarship and presentation techniques. A new restaurant will open on the ground floor, making use of the courtyard, with connections out to the terrace and the landscaped south and east-facing gardens. A key ambition of this project is to re-establish and strengthen the Castle’s relationship with the beautiful surrounding landscape and river vistas.
Nestled in the south east bastion, with views down the beautiful Vltava river, will be two elegant performance spaces. The upper hall will be capable of accommodating 200 people, while a more intimate space below will be perfect for chamber music and seminars of up to 150 people. A leading international specialist has advised on how to achieve the best acoustic conditions for both venues. The stucco stables in the basement and extensive castle cellars will be re-purposed into foyers, cloak and restrooms and back of house areas. The auditoriums will be used throughout the year for concerts and performances, as well as lectures, conferences and other public and community events. With these two versatile and unique venues, Nelahozeves Castle will offer some of the finest performance halls in Europe.