We have a long list of towns, villages, castles and other sites within a few hours of Prague that we want to visit on day trips. Last week we traveled to the one that has been on the list the longest, Nelahozeves.
Ever since our emotional first visit to the Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle we have wanted to see and learn more about this family and its tremendous collections of art and history. This day was our chance.
The one hour rail journey from city center was very slow. It was a commuter train; stopping at every village. However, they were pretty riverside villages and the views across the river were nice. As soon as we got off the train we had our first view of the palace.
The exterior is obviously in need of restoration but I can not imagine where the money would come from to do the work. This country is just too full of worthy buildings going to ruin. The interior was a different story. While not brought back to its former glory the sense of grandeur is well conveyed, especially by the countless family portraits lining all the stairways and halls.
The permanent exhibition is titled: Private Spaces: A Noble Family at Home. It illustrates the life of prosperous nobility in the 19th century. The rooms are not exact recreations but meant as typical of the time. The furnishings and decorations are exquisite; something awe-inspiring in room after room–including this painting by Rubens.
Photographs are not allowed inside but you can see some on the Nelahozeves website.
The print below is for sale in the gift shop and photos are allowed there.
We had a one hour tour in English by a personable and competent guide named Lucie. (Non-Czech tours have to be scheduled in advance.) We felt we truly experienced the life of a 19th century noble family and left with an appreciation of the difficulty a 21st century noble family has in preserving the treasures of their history.
It was such a beautiful day that we wanted to eat lunch by the river. We followed signs to the Marina and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the atmosphere and the food.
The only negative to the day was the lethargic train ride home brought on by having a beer with lunch.
P.S. The composer Antonin Dvorak was born in a house just below the palace. There is a small museum there. Update: After writing this I discovered today was his birthday. Here’s a belated toast to his great music.