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Český Krumlov Castle and Chateau - panorama picture

Prehistorical Settlement of the Castle Hill in Český Krumlov

The Early Middle Ages Settlement in the area of the town of Český Krumlov

The Castle in the years 1253 - 1302

The Castle in the years 1302 - 1601

The Castle in the years 1622 - 1719

The Castle in the years 1719 - 1992


Prehistorical Settlement of the Castle Hill in Český Krumlov

CastlescapeThe oldest archeological artifact from the area of the castle dates back to about 4000 B.C. An axe-hammer made of stone dating from the early Stone Age - Neolithic Period was discovered on the 1st Castle Courtyard, in the place where the staircase leads into the Latrán area.

The remains of primeval settlement were also founded and searched on the top of the original rocky promontory in front of the Eggenberg Mint situated on the 2nd Castle Courtyard. The research work proved the settlement (the knoll settlement or smaller fortified settlement) in the spell of the two Primeval Periods - at the turn of the early and mid Bronze Age (approximately 1500 B.C.), and at the end of the late Iron Age - late Halstat Age (approximately 500 B.C.).

Very interesting is also the occurrence of ceramic objects from the late La Tene Age about 150 years B.C., which, however, do not originate from direct archeological exploration but only from collection and lack and exactlocation. Even in this case, it was probably proof of an elevated castle site.

The promontory on the confluence of the Vltava River and Polečnice Stream had not been continuously seetled during the Primeval Times. Mostly it had been used by people at the end of the Bronze Age, late Iron Age and during the last years of the Celts rule (the 4th - 1st century B.C.). The locations could have been settled by a small group of people, used as a watch point or refuge - during the spell of endangerment. 


The Early Middle Ages Settlement in the area of the town of Český Krumlov  

The Slavic ancestors were interested in the Vltava river-site area already settled in the Neolithic Period. They settled down during the 8th century A.D. We have  managed to search one of the sunk cottage - a half-ground shelter in their settlement so far. A large number of pottery fragments and some pieces of fired clay were found in the cultural layer filling the parts of the sunk half-ground shelter remains.

The other a little sheerer river-site was settled during the Earlz Middle Ages. Any evidence of Slavic settlements have not been found so far, in contrast to the location of "The New Town". It may be caused by the enormous structural work. The local inhabitants have spread widely. All the older settlement remains may have been destroyed irretrievably. The single pottery fragments are only excavated from earlier cultural layers dating from the period of the town existence. The settlement is evident to have been situated somewhere near the town much earlier than the town itself. Several pottery fragments dating from the 8th - 9th century come from the archeological researches in Svornosti Square No. 15 and Radniční Street No. 29. A pottery crock dating from the 11th or the 12th century was also excavated here. Other three pottery fragments dating from the 9th - 10 th and 10th - 12th century come from an indeterminate place somewhere in Český Krumlov, and are displayed in the České Budějovice Museum Depository.

With the exception of the half-ground shelter dating from the 8th century only several single crocks were found. It is probable that a little Slavic settlement had been founded on both of the Vltava river-sites a long time before the town itself. The insistence must be proved to be correct in the future.

Coat-of-arms of Vítek of PrčiceIn 1179 Vítek of Prčice, forefather of all Vítkovci, apparently settled in Southern Bohemia. The fact that his domains were not liable to the so-called law of escheat indicates his strong influence, as his property did not have to return to the hands of the family of Přemysl. Vítek could freely dispose of his properties and therefore gave it to his four sons - Jindřich of Hradec (predecessor of the Lords of Hradec), Vítek II. senior (predecessor of the Lords of Krumlov), Vítek III. junior (founder of the family of Rosenberg) and Vítek IV. It is likely that the then newly founded residences Nové Hrady (New Castles), Rožmberk (Rosenberg), Třeboň and Krumlov fell into the rank of domains of the Vítek family, while Krumlov would have beentheir fourth castle in the rank.


The Castle in the years 1253 - 1302

Coat-of-arms of Záviš of FalkenštejnThe original Gothic castle was founded by the Lords of Krumlov some time before 1250. They represented a branch of the powerful Vítkovec family (Witigonen) with the five-petalled green rose in their coat-of-arms.

The Castle Krumlov was first mentioned in a letter of Duke Otokar Štýrský in 1253. 


The Castle in the years 1302 - 1601

Coat-of-arms of Lords of RosenbergIn 1302 the Krumlovian branch of the Vítkovci died out, and according to the law of escheat their domains should have passed to the king. At that time the Krumlovian estates consisted of a relatively extensive network of castles and smaller subject towns which were sources of numerous incomes for aristocracy.

A member of another powerful branch of the Vítkovec family, Jindřich of Rosenberg, asked the king Václav II. (Wenceslav II.) to override the law of escheat and vest the Krumlovian estates to the Rosenbergs. In 1302 Jinřich transferred the family residence to Krumlov and the Krumlov castle thus became the residence of the Lords of Rosenberg for the next three hundred years.

Jindřich´s son Peter I. of Rosenberg (+1347) served as the highest valet at the court of Jan of Luxembourg where he was one of the most influential aristocrats in the country. At the same time he was also the most richest aristocrat in the country. Peter tried to gain a glory equal to the royal court, even marrying the widow of the Czech king Václav III. (Wenceslas III.), Viola Těšínská. Peter I. of Rosenberg was the sovereign reponsible for giving the castle and town its original 14th century appearance. 

Peter´s sons were engaged in royal services; his oldest son Heinrich died in 1346 at the side of the Czech king Jan of Luxembourg in the battle of the Hundred Years´ War at Kresčak (Crecy).

Another significant personage of the family was a son of Ulrich I. Heinrich III. of Rosenberg (+1412) who lead the Union of Nobility therefore imprisoned the king in 1396 at the castle in Český Krumlov.

Český Krumlov Castle in the 15th centuryHeinrich III.´s son Ulrich II. of Rosenberg (1403 - 1462) belonged to the Czech members of the nobility who defended the interests of Czech Catholic nobility and of Sigmund of Luxembourg during the stirring times times of the Hussite wars. A daughter of Ulrich II. was Perchta of Rosenberg who is identified with the Rosenberg "White Lady".

The renowned personage Peter IV. of Rosenberg (1462 - 1523) meant, for the Rosenberg family, the development of economic activities (namely fishing and the mining of precious metals), the beginnings of humanism and the Renaissance, and especially the affirmation of a significant position of the Rosenbergs among leading Bohemian families.

The decline of the Rosenberg family is linked with Wilhelm (1535 - 1592) and Peter Wok (1539 - 1611) , the sons of Jošt III., who were brought up in the guardianship of their uncle Peter V. Wilhelm of Rosenberg was the most significant representative of the family as he made Český Krumlov the centre of cultural and political life. After his death in 1592, his younger brother Peter Wok assumed the reign.

Coat-of-arms of the Habsburg familyIn 1601, Peter Wok was forced to sell the Krumlov castle and estate to the Emperor Rudolf II. of Habsburg. Peter Wok transferred his after the sale to Třeboň where he died in 1611. Peter Wok brought to a close the three-hundred-years-long  history of the most influential Czech noble families - the Rosenbergs. 


The Castle in the years 1622 - 1719

Coat-of-arms of Prince Johann Ulrich I. of EggenbergIn 1622 the Emperor Ferdinand II. of Habsburg donated the royal demesne to the Prince Johann Ulrich I. of Eggenberg (1568 - 1634) who was the representative of an Austrian princely dynasty. Prince Johann Ulrich received Český Krumlov in return for his financial assistance to the Emperor Ferdinand II. as well as for his participation in the Thirty Years´War and the Battle on White Mountain. He was elevated to the status of Prince with title of Duke in 1628.

Prince Johann Ulrich as well as his son Prince Johann Anton I. of Eggenberg (1610 - 1649) never lived here, as they were busy in the service of the Emperor.

Český Krumlov Castle in the late 17th centuryThanks to Prince Johann Christian of Eggenberg (1644 - 1710) and his wife Maria Ernestine, born Countess of Schwarzenberg , more intensive development  of farming, building activities and arts was evident and the Český Krumlov Castle surmounted the period of provincial backwardness and stagnation in economy and arts resulting from the Thirty Years´War. They converted Český Krumlov into an impressive Baroque seat. 


The Castle in the years 1719 - 1992

Coat-of-arms of the Schwarzenberg family (1792)Johan Christian and Maria Ernestine had no children, so after Christian´s death his nephew Johann Anton II., the son of Christian´s younger brother Johann Seyfried (1644 - 1716), announced his right to the inheritance. Johann Anton II.´s son Prince Johann Christian II. was the last surviving male heir of the Eggenberg family and he died at age 13 in 1717. The heritage of the Eggenbergs, the Krumlov estates, was thus passed on to the nephew of Maria Ernestine after her death in 1719, Prince Adam Franz of Schwarzenberg (1680 - 1732).

Český Krumlov Castle in the late 18th centuryThe castle and estates of Krumlov saw their period of highest cultural development under the rule of Prince Josef Adam I. Jan Nepomuk of Schwarzenberg (1722 - 1782). The aristocratic court and standard of living followed the example set by the Emperor´s residence in Vienna.


Český Krumlov Castle in the late 19th centuryIn the 19th century Český Krumlov lost its character of an aristocratic residence; thanks to this it kept in its Renaissance-Baroque character. Later constructions were not significant.

After the Declaration of the Czechoslovakian Republic in October 28, 1918, the German population responded with the Declaration of an Indenpendent Šumava Province Böhmerwaldgau which was to become part of a newly constituded Austria. This movement was suppressed by the Czech forces. By order of the Ministry of the Interior, from 30th April 1920 the town was renamed from Krumau to Český Krumlov, a name which had already been used in 1439. 

The first reduction of the Schwarzenberg property was part of a nationalisation process of several large family estates as part of the first land reform laws in 1920´s

During World War II. the head of Krumlov-Hluboká branch Dr. Adolf Schwarzenberg left the country. In retalitation , the Gestapo confiscated all his property in 1940 and imposed forced administration on it. Krumlov was liberated in 1945 by the American army and the German population was expelled.

After the end of the war, a national administrative body was created for the Schwarzenberg properties. In spite of original expectations, however, neither Dr. Adolf nor his cousin Dr. Heinrich of Schwarzenberg returned to the Republic. Dr. Adolf began negotiating with the Czech state on the issue of the transfer of his property into the ownership of the Czech state on the condition that he be compensated for the art collections and the unpaid use of several of his buildings. After difficult and drawn-out negotiations, the property of Krumlov-Hluboká branch of the Schwarzenberg family was nationalised by a special law of the National Assembly in 1947. The direct line of the family which would have been entitled to restitution died out with Dr. Adolf of Schwarzenberg in 1950.

Český Krumlov Castle in the late 20th centurySince the mid 1960´s, special care has been devoted to the preservation of the historical merits of Český Krumlov; the town was included in 1992 onto UNESCO´s List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.