A Life of Luxury
The Baroque arrived in the Czech Lands together with epochal social change. A large portion of the local aristocracy and intellectual elite were forced into exile, and an expansive confiscation of property ensued. On the other hand, however, new dynasties were coming in, and the loyal local nobility was rewarded for their steadfastness by the Habsburg dynasty, and was promoted to the courtly aristocracy. Part and parcel to this promotion came the need to represent themselves materially. Palaces as well as urban and rural estates were being built and renovated. Characteristic stylistic elements stood out on these monumental representative structures—rich ornamentation, dramatic movement, illusory perspectives, and murals. These baroque estates clearly express with their vastness a new self-confidence and place for the nobility in the world. They conveyed the wealth and status of their owners, and secured the maximum amount of comfort for them. And they also came alive frequently with sensational celebrations, balls, theatre productions, and musical concerts, which presented the works of the best contemporary composers.
What life at a noble estate during the Baroque Era looked like can be best experienced by visiting one of the many surviving chateaus and palaces. You can begin in Prague, however, the internationally-unique Baroque theatre in Český Krumlov should not escape your attention, with its fully-functional theatre equipment. Additionally, the chateau here offers exquisite Baroque interiors, and its expansive Baroque garden simply calls for a stroll. To the east, do not miss out on a visit to the Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou Chateau, which, in the period of its foundation in the 18th century, was one of the largest structures in all of Europe. In Moravia, on the other hand, you must not leave out one of the most remarkable architectural gems of the Central European Baroque. The Vranov nad Dyjí Chateau looms atop a tall cliff above the river in the western section of the Podyjí National Park. The opulently furnished interiors will allow you to be transported into the atmosphere of the aristocratic estate of the late 18th and entire 19th centuries.