Would you like to find yourselves in a fairy-tale, at least for a day? At sunset, you can watch as the slender pinnacles of an English Tudor-Gothic style chapel get silhouetted against the sky, marvel at a Moorish minaret and worship the beauty of a temple to the ancient Greek god Apollo. Would you otherwise need at least a couple of weeks to make such a far-ranging journey? Well, here everything has been brought together in a single place. Have you ever heard of the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape
? Welcome to the most extensive cultural and landscape area in the world, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
© Ladislav Renner
For more than six centuries, the area was developed and looked after by the princely family of Liechtensteins. They have left us and future generations with a vast and superb legacy. Over the centuries of caring for their estates, the Liechtensteins employed an admirable combination of common sense and highly educated taste. Certain monuments, such as the current chateaux in Lednice and in Valtice, were rebuilt on the site of earlier castles. Other buildings in this vast area were built from scratch, even though their more recent construction may not be apparent at first sight. Who today knows that romantic dreamers of centuries ago thought it would be fun to build just the ruins of a castle? And yet it is true. The current shape and appearance of the Janohrad
castle is not the result of the relentless ravages of time and neglect – what you see is how it was built and meant to look according to the original romanticizing design. The area encompasses almost 300 km², with two splendid historic chateaux, a water canal that is perfect for a boating trip, shady groves that provide cool relief on hot summer days, and gardens filled with beautiful flowers. There is everything here to enchant and populate your dreams – silent chapels, romantic colonnades, a triumphal arch... Women can dream about the glamorous lives of the ladies who lived in the chateaux and strolled in its blossoming gardens or the exotic greenhouse; men can imagine what the noble gentlemen’s lives, full of hunting and feasting, were like.
Do you know what Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic have in common? Well, it is a passion for a drink, which, in Czech, is called “burčák”. Many languages don’t have any comparable name for it as many leading wine-making countries don’t produce it. Burčák is actually an intermediate product in wine-making. It is the partially fermented juice of the fruit of the vine and its alcohol content is therefore much lower than in wine: typically around 1–7%. During a burčák-tasting, the French would probably think that Czechs must be crazy. However, if you happen to be in Valtice in autumn, we recommend you to give it a try.