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.

Nelahozeves Zamek StationThe 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 Nelahozeves Courtyardbuildings 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.Rubens at Nelahozeves

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.


Print from Zamek Nelahozeves

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.

Nelahozeves MarinaIt 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.

Bila Hora or White Mountain

One snowy January day we decided to go to see where the Battle of White Mountain took place.  We found a map and saw a little dot in the middle of a large empty space just outside Prague.  (The little dot was suppose to be the monument to the Battle.)

From previous readings we learned this battle took place on White Mountain or Bila Hora in the Czech language.  It was an early battle of the Thirty Years’ War on 8 November 1620.  There an army of 15,000 Bohemians and mercenaries under Christian of Anhalt were routed by 27,000 men of the combined armies of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor.  The battle marked the end of the Bohemian period of the Thirty Years’ War.

Tram 22 would take us there.  Riding to the end of the line, we got off in a residential area with a lovely old church called P. Marie Vitezne and a date over the door that said 1713.Church of P. Marie Vitezne, Prague, Bila Hora


We followed the road from the tram stop through a housing area to a very large open area we could see in the distance.Housing area near Bila Hora, Pragueskiers at Bila Hora, PragueWe came to a huge open area with a couple of cross country skiers racing across and a rather small mound in the distance.  It was so cold and clear with the sun making all that white snow very sparkly and it dazzled the eyes!Snow fun at Bila Hora, Prague


Michael set off, walking to the Monument where a mother and 2 small children were having fun sledding down the slopes of the mound. Monument to Battle of White Mountain, Bila Hora, Prague


The monument, of course, is written in Czech but the dates were there so we knew we were in the right spot!  It was hard to imagine such a battle going on with horses, men and their weaponry; all fighting for their own cause.  They say the Battle only lasted 2 hours with much loss of life.  Hard to imagine because on this day, in January 2010, it was so serene!Rusne airport from Bila Hora, Prague


Looking towards the airport. . .Star Castle at Bila Hora, Prague


And looking towards the Renaissance summer palace built in the shape of a six-pointed star. It was built in 1556 for Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol.  This palace was there when the Battle took place!Nice snow covered houses and streets, Bila Hora, Prague


We walked through this neighborhood and on past the church to the tram stop.what a wonderful day!  I could even imagine myself living in this area . . . there is something very special about the country and open spaces and fresh clean air.