Ranking among my list of the top 10 castles and chateaus in the Czech Republic, Buchlovice Chateau and Buchlov Castle are only a little more than an hour away from Brno, the capital of Moravia. The two sights are separated by a scenic path through the woods, so they can both be visited during one day. Yet Buchlovice and Buchlov could not be more different architecturally. Buchlovice Chateau celebrates the Baroque style, resembling an Italian villa, and its history only goes back to the 18th century. Massive Buchlov, on the other hand, is pure Gothic and was first mentioned in writing around 1300.
Jan Dětřich of Petřvald had Buchlovice constructed for his wife in the early 1700s, and the place was renovated in the 1920s. Then, in 1945, the chateau was nationalized under the Beneš decrees that forced Germans and others to give up their Czechoslovak citizenship and property.
The chateau’s intimate rooms feature exquisite furniture, fine porcelain, stunning frescoes and impressive paintings and are decorated in Baroque and Rococo styles. A canopy bed has a pink, brown and white floral design while wallpaper shows off pink flowers. Love letters were once stored in a 17th century jewelry box from Spain. The frescoes in the Music Hall amaze while the Silver Salon is distinguished by the silver on the wood paneling. The table in the Big Dining Room is set with Hungarian porcelain. The paintings in the chapel, the oldest in the chateau, hail from 1600. Divided into terraces, the English style garden is a delight as well.
One look at Gothic Buchlov and the visitor is transported back to the Middle Ages. At first Moravian noble clans were responsible for the care of the castle. Later, from 1544 to 1644, it was owned by the Zástřizly family. In 1644 Buchlov became the property of the Petřvald clan that built Buchlovice. They would own it until 1800, when the counts of Berchtold took over. Many of the artifacts in the castle come from journeys around the world by the half-brothers Leopold I Berchtold and Dr. Bedřich Berchtold. In 1945 Buchlov suffered the same fate as Buchlovice and was nationalized.
The castle offers many attractions. The Late Romanesque arch in the Black Kitchen is the oldest architectural element in Buchlov. Its history can be traced back to 1340. Some of the weapons in the armory were used during the 15th century Hussite wars, others during the 17th century Thirty Years’ War. The library flaunts the Baroque style, seemingly out-of-place in the Gothic castle but intriguing. The statue of the Buchlov Madonna comes from the 14th century. The coats-of-arms of Moravian noble families adorn the vaulting in the Knights’ Hall.
The castle museum makes up another section of the spellbinding interior. Its eclectic collection includes weapons once wielded by American Indians, human skeletons, an embryo of a baby pig with eight legs and two tails and an Egyptian mummy in a coffin. There are spectacular views of the countryside from the top of the tower, too.
Brno is easily accessible by train or bus from Prague. The Student Agency buses offer the most comfortable means of transportation. The journey only takes two and a half hours. From Brno it is only a short bus ride to the chateau and castle, two of the most breathtaking sights in the country.