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2020-04-29

Klenová Castle

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The first mention of the castle dates from 1287; at that time the castle guarded the trade route from Železná Ruda to Bavaria. The lords of Klenová come from the castle. The palace was built in the 14th and 15th centuries, and the Renaissance wing dates from the 16th century. In 1564, Kryštof Harant from Polžice and Bezdružice was born here. The castle has fallen into disrepair since the 17th century.

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In the second half of the 19th century, a neo-Gothic chateau and a complex of other residential and farm buildings (a granary, a villa, the chapel of St. Felix, a farm) were added to the medieval Klenová castle. In the 20th century, until 1951, the owner of the castle was the painter Vilma Vrbová-Kotrbová. Then it became the property of the Czechoslovak state.  The space and surroundings of the chateau have been used as an art gallery since 1963. As part of the restitution, the chateau was returned to Mrs. Vrbová-Kotrbová, who bequeathed it to the Klatovy-Klenová Gallery in her last will in 1993.

Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice  was a Czech nobleman, traveler, humanist, soldier, writer and composer. He joined the Protestant Bohemian Revolt in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown against the House of Habsburg that led to Thirty Years' War. Following the victory of Catholic forces in the Battle of White Mountain, Harant was executed in the mass Old Town Square execution by the Habsburgs.

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As a composer he represented the school of Franco-Flemish polyphony in Bohemia. Harant is also noted for his expedition to the Middle East summarized in a travel book Journey from Bohemia to the Holy Land, by way of Venice and the Sea and published in 1608.

Harant was born at Klenová Castle, near Klatovy, Bohemia. From 1576 he studied singing and counterpoint as a member of a local court band at Innsbruck, at the court of Archduke Ferdinand II, learning 7 languages, discovering his talent for music and the other arts and his interest in history, geography and political science. He returned to Bohemia in 1584 in a vain attempt to get a post at the court of Rudolf II, and so enlisted as a soldier, participating in the 1593 and 1597 campaign against the Turks. In 1589 he married Eva Czernin von Chudenitz - they had two children before she died in 1597. Kryštof married two more times. Leaving his relation Lidmila Markvartová z Hrádku to raise the children, in 1598 and 1599 he went to the Holy Land as a pilgrim, wishing to visit the Holy Sepulchre with Eva's brother Hermann. He wrote about his experiences in a book entitled Journey from Bohemia to the Holy Land, by way of Venice and the Sea which was published in Prague in 1608.

After his return, in 1599, he was given a post in the emperor's court and simultaneously raised to the peerage, though both his children died that year. In 1601 he was made an advisor to the court of Rudolf and his successor Matthias and part of the imperial chambers. When the imperial court moved to Vienna, Harant was granted the Pecka Castle and dedicated himself for some years to music, becoming the most important Bohemian composer of the time. During 1614-15 he travelled to Spain with a diplomatic mission.

In 1618 he converted to Protestantism, returned to Prague, joined the forces arrayed against the Catholics as an artillery officer and fought on the side of the Bohemian states during the uprisings. In 1619 he became the commissioner of the military unit of Boleslav, Kouřim and Hradec Králové, and was involved in a 50,000 strong regiment in the unsuccessful march on imperial Vienna. During the rebellion he bombarded the imperial palace in Vienna—with the emperor inside—which proved to be a bad move.

After Friedrich V succeeded to the Palatinate, he was appointed as a privy councillor and president of the Bohemian chamber, though this career was short-lived. After the defeat of the Protestant Czechs at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620 by the combined arms of Maximilian and Tilly, the subsequent sack of Prague by Imperial troops, and the assumption of office by the Emperor Ferdinand II, Harant withdrew to his castle. He was captured there by Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Waldstein, arrested and taken to Prague, unsuccessfully pleading for mercy. As one of the twenty-seven Bohemian noble rebels, he was condemned to death and beheaded on 21 June 1621 by Jan Mydlář in the Old Town Square, Prague, along with all the other leaders of the insurrection.

 

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KLENOVÁ - CASTLE, GALLERY

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April, October: Tuesday - Sunday, 10-12, 12.30-16
May, June, September: Tuesday - Sunday, 9-12, 12.30-17
July, August: Monday - Sunday, 9-12, 12.30-18
Entrance fee: 70 Kč (valid also for Gallery At the White Unicorn in Klatovy)

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