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Kačina Chateau: Empire style Elegance

Kačina Chateau, situated near the popular town of Kutná Hora, is the biggest 19th century Empire chateau in the Czech lands. A tour of this chateau is sure to impress. There are the dazzling representative rooms in 19th century Empire, Biedermeier and Classicist styles. And that’s not all. Kačina also boasts a spellbinding library, a pharmacy and an agricultural museum. The park at Kačina, established in 1789, includes 20 hectares with 61 kinds of trees and 20 kinds of bushes.

The story of Kačina revolves around the story of the Chotek clan. Jan Rudolf Chotek had Kačina built in the early 19th century. Kačina was by no means his only creation. Thanks to Jan Rudolf, many parks and embankments were constructed in the Czech lands. The family was very accomplished. Jan Rudolf’s youngest son Karel served as the highest Czech burgrave for 17 years. The fourth son of Jan Rudolf, Ferdinand Marie Chotek, held the post of Olomouc archbishop for four years. Žofie Chotková became the wife of Archduke Franz Ferdinand d’Este, and they were assassinated in Sarajevo, triggering World War I. The last male Chotek, Karel, emigrated to Germany after World War II. Perhaps the chateau’s darkest days took place under the Nazi regime, when the HitlerJugend took over Kačina. The chateau was nationalized after the war.

The first room on the tour will take your breath away. The hallway features a 16-meter high roundel. The Pink Salon flaunts a Czech crystal, second Rococo style chandelier. Pink and white porcelain adds to the elegant atmosphere of the room. The Ladies’ Bedroom boasts stunning intarsia furniture. The Dance Hall is another highlight. Measuring 22 meters in length, 12 meters in width and 16 meters in height, the space includes amazing roundels with a breathtaking crystal chandelier. The parquet floor is exquisite, too.

The Men’s Salon has an oak leaf motif. Wooden circles with oak leaf motifs adorn the ceiling and the tops of the walls. Even the picture frames show off this style. They are covered in wooden oak leaf ornamentation. The couch and chairs hail from the second Rococo days. The Men’s Study or Smoking Room is another room that will amaze. Its Empire style furniture and Empire style chandelier are breathtaking. A large portrait of a young Franz Josef, later to be the ruler of Austrian-Hungary for 68 years, hangs there.

In the Hunting Salon, gaze at the exquisite, white tiled stove, Oriental chairs and Baroque furnishings. The Big Dining Room could seat 24 guests during the Chotek’s era. A green clover motif decorates the table. Each chair is adorned with the coat-of-arms of the Chotek family, a crown adorning the top. The walls feature gilded wood.

The 19th century library is one of the most daunting libraries in the country. Circular windows with painted cupolas and stylized squares bring light to the three sections. The imitation gray marble columns provide the room with a certain elegance. The spaces are home to some 40,000 volumes, mostly written in German. The oldest book dates from 1480. Another part of the library features small statues of Czech rulers. One intriguing object consists of a globe that has eight layers. Six layers represent the different continents. One side shows a picture of the continent while the other side gives information about it. The third section of the library includes a huge vase with ornate décor as well as a fascinating Empire style card catalogue.

A 19th century pharmacy is on the premises, too. There you can find a machine for mixing syrup and several presses, for making fresh herbs and for making tablets. The theatre is another sight not to be missed, dating from 1851. The Chotek family had written most of the plays themselves and performed the plays, which were viewed by only private audiences. The walls are made of imitation marble on the lower section while stylized painting decorates the upper half. The two balconies boast gold and black ornamentation.

Kačina Chateau is punctuated by a unique elegance. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get to by public transportation. However, it is certainly worth the journey to take in the atmosphere of the 19th century in this fascinating place that features not only representative rooms but also a vast library, a 19th century pharmacy and a stunning theatre. Kačina has so much to offer visitors. Come to this spectacular chateau, and immerse yourself in the elegance of the Empire style.


CITY


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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 taburns25.wordpress.com. 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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