Vrchotovy Janovice

It is clear to see that the romantic chateau in Vrchotovy Janovice was once a water fortress. It has retained its closed-in character to this day, is surrounded by a moat, and is accessed through a medieval-style gate. It was given the neo-Gothic appearance we can see today in the 19th century. The chateau is now run by the National Museum, which has opened a unique exhibition devoted to Czech bell-founding, with a collection of around 150 historic bells. The biggest local star, however, was Baroness Sidonie Nádherná, who once attracted the leading lights of literature, art, politics, and philosophy to the place. The educated and cultivated aristocratic lady was visited and admired by people such as Karl Kraus, Rainer Maria Rilke, Adolf Loos, and Max Švabinský. The magic of being in such company continues to attract tourists from the Czech Republic and abroad to this day. There is also an interesting exhibition on Czech society in the 19th century that invokes the atmosphere of our recent ancestors to perfection.

We begin in Týnec nad Sázavou, a popular boating resort on the “Golden River”. The biggest attraction, however, is probably the castle here, which was built by the Premyslids. This was very lucky back in the times when other castles were left to rot - it underwent repair at the end of the 18th century, Anna Marie of Vrtba deciding to use it as a summer residence. The rotunda, the high prismatic tower, and the more recent palace, which now houses the Town Museum (Městské muzeum), have all been beautifully preserved. Have you ever heard of a place where the castle tower has been declared a natural landmark? Well, this is the case here, because of the colony of bats that live in the attic.

First follow the markings of the Greenway P-W (Prague-Vienna) cycling route and conquer a continuous uphill section through Benešovská vrchovina (Benešov Uplands). Turn off the route in Tloskov, where you should take a right on the other side of the pond and cycle around the mighty chateau and its neo-Baroque facade. Follow the road through the undulating landscape to Nová Živohošť on the banks of Slapy reservoir, a well-known holiday resort with plenty of recreational options and sandy beaches, the ideal place for some fun on/in the water.

Return along the same route and, at the crossing, turn off to the right along the Vltava cycling route to Nahoruby. This will take you to Radíče and its single-storey Baroque chateau, whose four wings enclose a beautiful arcade yard. The grounds are also home to an expansive Baroque farmyard with a number of farming buildings. Continue on along the road to Osečany and then climb to Drahoušek viewing tower along cycling route 8132. There is an area filled with ponds on the other side of Prosenická Lhota. Then, from Sedleček, you can look forward to a final climb to Šebáňovice along cycling route 0095.

It is now only a stone’s throw away from Vrchotovy Janovice. There you can look forward to an enjoyable tour of the local chateau. And don’t forget to stroll the adjacent landscaped park, which rises slightly at the foot of Větrák Hill. There is a stream that flows through, feeding several ponds, the clearings are lined by mighty trees, and there are vistas of the chateau and romantic little nooks to find. The harmony, beauty, and stories that it holds all combine to make this place one with an unbelievably charming atmosphere.

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Vrchotovy Janovice


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