Castles and Historic Houses
The Litice Castle
The Gothic castle of Litice was mentioned for the first time in the year 1304. It was founded by members of the Drslavic family simultaneously with colonisation of the surrounding region. It is situated on a summit of a rocky hill encircled on three sides by the river Divoká Orlice. King George of Poděbrady possessed the castle in the 15th century and had it extensively rebuilt – the reconstruction was completed in 1468. Then especially the bailey (sometimes named the lower castle) was erected as well as new gates and a quadrangular five-storey tower. Under the House of Pernštejn Litice lost its importance as this noble family also possessed the nearby castle of Potštejn and made it a centre of their domain while Litice served merely for administrative purposes as a seat of officers.
A record from 1657 describes the castle as half-ruined. For a certain time it served as warehouses and that is no wonder it was dilapidating rapidly. The House of Bubna repaired the southern palace with a tower, the northern palace was left in ruins. Main buildings were renovated as late as in 1933 - 35 by Karel Parish, who resided in the nearby town of Žamberk. However, during the alternations some architectonic features in the palace were destroyed and the tower was awkwardly completed with a concrete footbridge, stairs and a concrete sixth floor with a gallery. This concrete top floor was covered with wood-panelling in 1959.
In recent decades the castle has been being gradually renovated and lately it has been made accessible to the public. A visit to the castle offers exhibits of archaeological excavations from the 15th – 17th centuries, an exposition of historic postcards and a possibility to climb the tower and enjoy a nice view.
Distance from Rokytnice v Orl.h.: 16 km
The Potštejn Castle
The castle of Potštejn was founded by the Drslavic family in the late 13th century on a step hill upon the river Divoká Orlice. Already in the beginning of the 14th century it was conquered and considerably destroyed but renovations were carried out soon. The size of the then castle took up space of today’s inner castle.
The 15th century brought several stages of the fortifications strengthening and thus under the House of Pernštejn the castle could fulfil not only a role of their administration centre but it also became a prestigious seat of an influential family (its defensive system consisted of three circles of walls). Last alternations and renewals were carried out under the Hous of Hrzáns of Harasov in the late16th century.
The castle was abandoned, gradually fell to despair and in 1673 historic records described it as desolated. Its destruction was accomplished by Anton Harbuval-Chamaré who spent 38 years searching for a treasure allegedly hidden by lord Mikuláš within the castle premises. The underground prospecting caused damage to the castle statics. Nowadays, the castle ruin is opened to the public. Besides an introductory exposition, the visitor can admire medieval architecture of the castle and the chapel of St John Nepomuceni.
Distance from Rokytnice v Orl.h.: 23 km
The Kolowratský Palace in Rychnov n. Kn. (Kolowratský zámek)
The predecessor of the Baroque palace in Rychnov nad Kněžnou was a Renaissance residence of the Trčkas of Lípa, which later passed into the hands of Christopher Betengel of Neynperk. Construction of a new palace edifice was commenced in 1676 by F.K. Libštejnský of Kolowrat. Between 1713 and 1724 the palace was remodelled according to plans by an Italian architect Giovanni Santini Aichl who was also the author of a new Baroque face of the Trinity church located in a garden behind the palace. Later on, the church was connected with the palace through a covered passage and the whole premises were enriched with the architecture of stables, administrative buildings and a French garden.
The palace interiors house a vast collection of drawings by outstanding Bohemian and foreign painters. The collection gradually developed from an original family gallery of ancestors. In 1992 the palace was restituted to Kryštof Kolowrat who keeps it open to the public.
Distance from Rokytnice v Orl.h.: 18 km
The Castle of Častolovice
Originally, there used to exist a water keep which was replaced by the castle of Častolovice. It was built in a Renaissance style between the years 1588 and 1615 under Jan Bedřich of Oprštorf. An extensive remodelling in the Tudor Gothic style was carried out under the House of Šternberk between 1858 and 1874. Another alternation from the early 20th century restored to the castle its Renaissance appearance. The castle exposition in the original residential wing includes various historic styles. It also comprises a valuable collection of drawings which were gathered over three centuries by the Šternberks. Its remarkable part is a portrait series of the Kings of Bohemia and of important members of the House of Šternberk. Also the Knights Hall is very impressive, it is one of the largest interior spaces in Czech historic houses, it features a coffered renaissance ceiling decorated with scenes from the Old Testament.
The castle adjoins to an English style park with exotic trees, white fallow-deer, peacocks and an aviary. A rosarium and a nearby water garden are also worth of visiting.
Distance from Rokytnice v Orl.h.: 25 km
The Castle of Opočno
The castle of Opočno stands in a place of a Gothic keep from the 11th century which guarded the borderlands. The castle as seen by visitors today was built by Vilém Trčka of Lípa between the years 1560 and 1569 in the Renaissance style. This reconstruction is responsible for the regular quadrangular shape of the inner courtyard.
Several years later, the castle premises were enlarged with a construction of a ball-house and a two-storeyed summerhouse connected with the castle main edifice and a church through a passage. Following owners of the castle were members of the Italian family of Colloredo and considerably remodelled the castle in the Baroque style after a fire which broke out in the late 17th century. Among other alternations, the sgraffito plaster was replaced with a red facade we can see today. This characteristic colour earned to the castle its folk name “Red Opočeň” which was deeply rooted in local communities for a log time. The 19th century left its traces, too: the tower was pulled out and one wing with arches was removed leaving the courtyard opened towards the park. Currently, the castle offers a visit to its richly furnished interiors with large artistic collections. Perhaps the most noteworthy is a gallery established by Francis Gundakar Colloredo-Mansfeld which houses drawings by Italian, Dutch and Bohemian masters. The castle library contains about 12 000 volumes. Another remarkable feature of the castle is its armoury with a priceless collection of weapons.
The castle is surrounded by an English style park with rare wood species, ponds and artificial waterfalls and a game-preserve with mouflons, fallow-deer and Dybowski´s deer.
Distance from Rokytnice v Orl.h.: 39 km
The Manor House of Doudleby
The manor house in Doudleby nad Orlicí is a cultural landmark standing at a site where a medieval keep with a service court existed already in the 13th century. In 1588 Mikuláš of Buben and Litice had a hunting manor house built there in the Renaissance style. In the 17th century a late-Renaissance alternations were carried out and later on the house was baroquised. The house walls are decorated with the so-called carpet sgraffito. On the ceiling in the main hall we can find a rendition of a motif from Greek mythology - a valuable painting named “The Devil’s Wedding”. Frescoes from Greek and Roman mythology decorate other rooms. All these artistic embellishments are dated to the late 17th century. The exposition inside the house is devoted to the European tapestry of the 16th – 18th century, Renaissance furniture, hunts and huntmanship.
In the manor house you can find also the First Private Military History Museum. Its permanent exhibition displays uniforms, weapons, outfits, awards and decorations related to WWI, WWII and the genesis of independent Czechoslovakia.
Distance from Rokytnice v Orl.h.: 23 km
The Mansion of Kostelec nad Orlicí
On the western edge of the town Joseph count Kinský had his new residence built between the years 1829 and 1833. The mansion ranks among first rate architectures of the Nepoleonic style which exist in Czechia. It is situated in a vast park with which it creates a harmonious unity of style rarely seen in Czechia.
The Potštejn Manor House
A Baroque manor house was built in 1749 by John Lewis count Harbuval Chamaré. Fortunately, it has overcome the most dramatic period of its existence and the house has been recovering from the damages caused by the totalitarian regime. Come to us and see yourselves how the renovation advances. The manor house offers historic interiors including a newly opened marble hall with a valuable ceiling richly decorated with stucco.