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Charming Dobříš Chateau near Prague

Travel back to the Rococo and Classicist periods during a tour of 11 representative rooms and former guest rooms of this picturesque chateau with a cheerful red and yellow façade. Only a half hour from Prague by direct bus, this chateau makes a superb day trip.

Dobříš Chateau did not start out as a fortress or castle. It was born as a Renaissance chateau during the 16th century. When Bruno Mannsfeld bought the chateau in 1630, the Mannsfeld era had begun. It underwent Baroque reconstruction at the end of the 17th century.

Yet the Mannsfeld clan was not the only family to influence the history of this chateau. When Maria Isabella Mannsfeld wed František Gundakar Colloredo in 1771, both families shared ownership.

During World War II the Nazis took over, and it became the headquarters for Acting Protector of the Reich Kurt Daluage. However, Vikard Colloredo-Mannsfeld, the owner of Dobříš during this turbulent time, would not give in to the Reich’s demands and boldly refused to become a German citizen.

With the year 1945 a new era for Dobříš emerged. It was nationalized and became the property of the Writers’ Syndicate. Writers could reside here and work on their manuscripts from the 1950s to the 1990s, and the chateau hosted prominent writers’ conferences.

After the Velvet Revolution, Jerome Colloredo-Mannsfeld insisted the chateau be returned to him. He had to wait six years for his wish to become reality. The Colloredo-Mannsfeld clan still retains ownership of this charming historic landmark.

The most awe-inspiring room is the Hall of Mirrors, also the biggest space in the chateau. The frescoes in this 220-square meter space are sure to amaze. The stucco decoration and other ornamentation hails from the 18th century. Allegories of the four seasons are depicted above the door while the frescoes on the balcony represent the five senses. Eight Venetian chandeliers and two Czech crystal chandeliers grace the room, too. The two marble fireplaces add to the splendor as well.

The Gobelin Tapestry Room is another delight. It features tapestry upholstered onto the furniture. Scenes from Italian commedia dell’ arte decorate the armrests. An 18th century jewel chest forged with black ebony dazzles with its semi-precious stones.

Various vases and four Venetian mirrors capture undivided attention in the Rococo Room or Music Room. Two Czech chandeliers make the space even more opulent. The library is home to some 3,600 books scribed in German, English and French mostly, dating back to the 18th century, though some volumes are older, such as a German Bible from the 16th century. The Dining Room has a 20th century Neo-Renaissance flair. Vases from Delft and the ceiling stucco ornamentation also impress.

The Master Bedroom shows off Classicist style furniture. An 18th century armchair upholstered with Gobelin tapestry portrays the birth of Venus as she emerges from the sea. The oldest picture in the chateau is exhibited here. It depicting Saint Jerome with a skull and dates from the 16th century. Saint Jerome was the Colloredo-Mannsfeld’s patron saint.

The Italian Lounge does not disappoint, either, especially with its renditions of Venice – there is even an 18th century original by Canaletto. Naples and Messina also are portrayed. The exquisite chandelier hails from Murano and weights 50 kilograms.

In the Ladies’ Rococo Lounge women had once sipped tea from Meissen porcelain while relaxing on the maroon Rococo furniture. A Bohemian crystal chandelier and paintings of idyllic scenes add to the stunning décor.

The Ladies’ Bedroom features Ludwig XVI style furniture from the 18th century. A copy of Raphael’s Madonna decorates the space. If you look into the Venetian mirror, you will have your wish granted, so the legend goes, as long as you do not gaze into another mirror for a year.

Dobříš Chateau also offers visitors a magnificent park and a restaurant with outside tables in the summer months. Stay away from the crowds at Karlštejn Castle and Konopiště Chateau and explore this marvel so close to Prague.

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A resident of Prague since 1991, Tracy A. Burns has published articles and stories in English, Czech and Slovak. Her work in English has appeared in The Washington Post, for instance. Her travel blog is at She also writes book reviews and essays for the Czech and Slovak academic journal Kosmas. Her writings in Czech have been published in Reflex and Listy, among others. Her articles in Slovak have been printed in SME, for example. She has edited an art catalogue for Prague's National Gallery and is a contributing author to the book The Arena Adventure, about Arena Stage theatre. Her passions are writing, reading and traveling.

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