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Slatiňany Chateau: a Czech jewel in east Bohemia

Slatiňany Chateau is probably one of the Czech Republic’s best kept secrets, located a little over 100 kilometers east of Prague in the Pardubice region, near the town of Chrudim. Chateau enthusiasts in Prague need to change trains in Pardubice to reach this historical gem. Trains from Prague to Pardubice run frequently.

The chateau dates back to the 13th century. After being ravaged by flames on several occasions, Slatiňany got a Renaissance makeover during the 16th century, and a mill and brewery were built on the grounds. Josef František, Count of Schönberg, gave it a Baroque appearance in the 18th century. When his daughter, Marie Kateřina, tied the knot with Jan Adam of Auersperg in 1746, the Auerspergs took control of the chateau. They would hold onto the property for 200 years and play a significant role in transforming the chateau into the jewel it is today. The family had lived there while they had managed Žleby Chateau as a sort of museum. In 1942 Dr. Josef Karel Trauttmansdorff claimed the chateau and became the new owner. After World War II, the state was responsible for Slatiňany. Visitors are in for a real treat – they can also see a horse farm and a hippology museum on the property.

The chateau had used modern conveniences as far back as the 1920s, when heaters had been installed in the stunning interior. It also had a boiler room, flushing toilets and a dumb waiter, dating from the early 20th century. Visitors view the boiler room on the tour.

The interior amazes. The room used for official visits features many portraits of the distinguished Auersperg family. The furniture is also striking with maroon-colored chairs and couch while the doors and walls are painted white, adorned with gold decoration.

In the room for unofficial visits a white-with-gold tiled stove crowned with a golden jug is just one of the space’s delights. Blue-and-white porcelain adds to the elegant ambiance.

A bedroom charms with an exquisite white desk partially covered in lace. Paintings with religious themes decorate the back of the bed. A white Rococo tiled stove has blue ornamentation. Black-and-white engravings make the room even more stunning. A toiletry section includes porcelain objects inscribed with the letter “A” for Auersperg. What purpose did the small, elongated bowl serve? It was designed for women to urinate in.

The Small Dining Room does not have a table, but its features are outstanding. A Venetian chandelier from the 18th century and a tapestry showing an idyllic landscape are two highlights of this space. A black-and-white jewel chest also makes an appearance. The Big Dining Room astounds with a large painting of hunters getting ready for a hunt, green scenery filling the background.

The museum of hippology is not to be missed. It was established by the founder of Czech zootechny, geneticist František Bílek. After World War II a horse farm was created at Slatiňany because the property featured vast grasslands and stables. The museum has three parts. One section is made up of representative rooms while another offers displays on paleontology, zoology and anatomy. The third section features horses in art.

Slatiňany is an exquisite chateau featuring modern conveniences, stunning furnishings and remarkable artwork. The museum of hippology is unique, showing off exhibits from over 100 Bohemian and Moravian castles and chateaus. Slatiňany may not draw big crowds like Karlštejn Castle and Konopiště Chateau do, but it boasts unique characteristics that have greatly contributed to Czech culture.

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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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