The Lednice Castle complex is located in Lednice Czech Republic. Its is located 20 km off the main highway 10Kilometers before you get to the Austrian border. We were travelling from southern Poland town of Wisla to Vienna when we visited.
Lednice is a village in South Moravia in the Czech Republic. In 1996, UNESCO came knocking and added the castle complex to the World Heritage List as “an exceptional example of the designed landscape that evolved in the Enlightenment and afterwards under the care of a single family.”
The complex at Lednice contains not just 1 castle but the largest park in the country, which covers 200 km². We can attest to that, we did not walk it all, but park land stretched for as far as the eye could see.
The history of Lednice Castle
The first mention of Lednice in the History books dates back to 1222 when a history book from the Lednice locality notes a Gothic fort with a courtyard stood here owned by the Czech King Vaclav.
At the end of the 13th century, the Liechtenstein family became the owner and rulers of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov.
In the 16th century, it is reported that Hartmann II of Liechtenstein had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century, the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach. This riding hall still stands today in all glory untouched from when it was built.
The castle complex you visit today dates from 1846. Prince Alois II of Liechtenstein had decided that his palatial pad in Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic.
Prince Alois II had a grand hall on the ground floor transformed to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.
I must admit my own ignorance that I had never heard of The Lednice castle complex before stepping out of our friend’s cars in a nondescript car park in small town Czech Republic.
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Visting Lednice Castle
I still believe if our friends Adriana and Thomas did not take us there I would still not know about it. Even from outside the walled complex looks like something you would just drive past without paying a second thought too.
We spent 1.5 hours at the complex which was way too short of time to take in all the beauty and the sweeping landscaped that the complex has to offer. Quite frankly I really did not know how big it was till I started doing some research for this article. The gardens near the main castle/chateau are immaculate with many manicured hedges.
The castle its self is amazing with its Gothic spires and courtyard. The spires at the front of the Lednice Castle remind me of smaller versions of Gaudi’s spires on La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The gothic style of architecture always draws my attention since Australia as a young nation missed out on the gothic period of architecture, actually, Australia was not even settled at these times just indigenous natives living in bark huts.
The Lednice greenhouse is a cast iron, steel and glass structure. It reminds me of something Eiffel might have designed in his day. The greenhouse is situated right next to the castle and by all accounts contains a wide collection of tropical and sub-tropical plants from all over the world.
The day we were at Lednice the greenhouse was closed. We were able to view the plants through the large glass panels that line the greenhouse. The whole park and Gardens area of Lednice is often called the “Garden of Europe
We walked around the small lake the sits behind the castle and strolled briefly through the parkland adjacent to the Lednice castle. The time we had here was not enough to even scratch the surface. We would have loved to explore the inside of the Lednice castle and for that matter the other castle Valtice Castle that lies on the other side of the park land.
The complex features:
We can only attest to the magnificence of small area maybe 10% of the whole complex that we viewed. For us Vienna was waiting and we had to get going.
On a side note, the Liechtenstein Family opposed the annexation of the Czech republic by the Nazi’s in WW2. The Nazi’s, as a result, had the castle and park lands confiscated from The Liechtenstein Family. After WW2 and up to present day the Liechtenstein Family is still making legal attempts to have the property and buildings returned to them. All legal attempts have been denied by the Czech government
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About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband and traveller. Having been to over 30 countries worldwide I think I know a thing or 2 about travelling with kids. I have been writing about travel on our website for the last 4 years and have featured on numerous other websites. When I am not talking, dreaming and planning travel I can be found working in disability support .