Undiscovered Baroque Treasures
No other historical epoch in Bohemia left behind as many footprints as the Baroque. Under its influence, cities as well as the landscapes outside of large metropolises were transformed, gaining new dominant features in the form of the rounded towers of rural baroque churches. In such a vast volume of monuments, it would be easy to miss certain gems that have no equal in Bohemian or even across Europe.
The best place to discover these all-but-forgotten pearls is Western Bohemia. This wealthy region owes its extraordinary development during the Baroque Era primarily to the powerful monasteries in Plasy and Kladruby, whose ambitious abbots invited the best architects in the country into their service: Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel and Kilian Ignatius Dientzenhofer. Santini distinguished himself with his brilliant technological design of the new convent in Plasy, while Dientzenhofer completed the expensive renovations of the monastery in Kladruby. However, both were able to find the time to design a number of other small buildings in the area while they worked on these large commissions, structures that now decorate the towns of Mladotice, Mariánská Týnice, Přeštice, and Nicov.
The Baroque was also a period of finding delight in various curiosities. Overseas discoveries brought increasingly more frequent rumours about the nature of distant landscapes all the way to Central Europe. Perhaps these are what inspired painter Antonín Tuvora to paint the dance hall of the chateau in Western-Bohemian Nebílovy with tropical forest scenes. A similar peculiarity can be found in the expansive complex of artificial underground caves (called grottos), decorated with numerous statues that were commissioned by Duchess Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg at her chateau in Northern-Bohemian Ploskovice.
It is not only inspiring architecture that awaits discovery, but remarkable human fates as well. Probably the most interesting of these is narrated by the chateau in Northern-Bohemian Duchcov, where famous seducer Giacomo Casanova lived out his final years.