Zámek Klášterec nad Ohří

   
 






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History of the castle

History of the castle


Klášterec castle, built on a promontory of the river Ohře at the foot of the Ore Mountains, is one of the most important historical sites in the northwestern Bohemia. The name of the castle and town is an Old Czech term for a small monastery (derived from Latin claustrellum), which was founded around the year 1250 by Benedictines from Postoloprty, in places of the present-day town. However, the monastery's goods passed into the ownership of the king's chamber as early as 1277. Lords of Šumburk soon became the new owners who managed it until 1449. After that, Klášterec was shortly held by Vilém of Liburg and it was bought by the family of Knights of Fictum in 1453, in whose possesion was also a nearby castle Šumburk-Šumná. In 1514 Volf Dětřich Fictum founded a new ancestry mansion at the site of a present-day castle, later expanded by his sons. Volf's grandson Kryštof Fictum then rebuilt the old fort into a Renaissance chateau, whose core along with the tower is maintained in the mass of the east wing of the current castle. Fragments of sgraffito plaster, stucco decoration of five halls in the building's east wing and the alliance emblem of Kryštof Fictum and his wife Voršila née Šlik, located above the tower's portal, reflect the qualities of a Renaissance form of the castle. The year 1590 in emblem at the same time refer to the completion of a Renaissance construction phase of the castle.
Because of participation in the corporative revolt in 1621, the property of Fictums was confiscated and then sold to Kryštof Šimon Freiherr Thun (1582-1635) in the year 1623. Kryštof Šimon soon gained a large property in the Northwestern Bohemia and he was promoted to the state Imperial Counts with a Hohenstein (according to Rhineland county acquired as the imperial pledge) title along with other family members in the year 1629 thanks to the faithful services for the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1628 he handed over family goods in Bohemia to the possession of his brother Jan Cyprián (1569-1631), who thus became the founder of a Bohemian branch of Counts Thuns of Hohenstein. During the administration by his son Jan Sigmund (1594-1646), at the time of the Thirty Years' War, the castle with its neighbourhood was burnt out and plundered in 1639 and 1646 by the Swedish army.
Around the middle of 17th Century, Michal Oswald Thun (1631-1694), descendant of Jan Sigmund, was forced to approach to extensive transformation of the mansion. Italian architect Rossi de Lucca was charged by realisation in the early Baroque style towards 1666. The castle has been given four-wing disposition, it was surrounded by the newly created park with sala terrena (ground floor hall) and the arcade side corridor. Sculptural decoration from 1685-1687 was created by Jan Brokof, the father of famous Ferdinand Maximilián Brokof. Among the other construction activities of Michal Oswald, excel in particular a palace at the Hradčanské square in Prague, later called Tuscan, built according to the plan of the famous architect Jean Baptiste Mathey.
Michal Oswald had no male offsprings and his succession goods was inherited by his younger brother Maximilián (1638-1701), who founded Děčín heirship. These family assets then inherited Maxmilián's son Jan František Josef (1686-1720). His son Jan Josef Antonín (1711-1788) divided these heirships between his descendants in 1786, whereas the Klášterec heirship got František Josef (1734-1800). At that time, the castle burnt out again (1784) and it was constructional edited by the builder August Gruber.
The Klášterec heirship was assumed after the death of František Josef in 1800 by his son Count Josef Jan Thun, whose name is connected with obtaining the recently established Klášterec porcelain manufactory (1794), which was held by the Thun Hohenstein family until the 1940s. Another possessor of Klášterec became Josef Matyáš (1794-1868), an important representative of the Czech public life, chamber counsel, hereditary member of House of Lords and member of the Royal Czech society of doctrines. During the possession of heirship by Josef Oswald, the castle passed the last major reconstruction after a fire in 1856. It was modified in, at that time new-fashioned neogothic style to its present form according to the project of architect Václav Hagenauer. The Castle Park was also extended and modified in the same spirit. After 1918, only minor structural interferences were made, when the original entrance to the grounds was walled and the new was pulled down in the southern part of the same wing and the terrace from 1817 was elevated. Only after the death of Oswald ІІІ. Thun in 1942 finished more than three hundred years period when the castle Klášterec nad Ohří was in continuous ownership of notable European family Thun-Hohenstein.

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The castle moved to the state property after the Second World War and valuable Renaissance interiors were restored in years 1950-1952. The idea of opening an exhibition of Czech porcelain in the castle from the collections of Museum of Applied Arts in Prague was born in these years. It recalls the establishment of Klášterec in the most significant area of the Czech porcelain industry and the existence of Klášterec porcelain factory, the second oldest in Bohemia, which is today one of our most important producers of porcelain. The entering part of an exposition is situated in the Renaissance halls with the original stucco decoration in the ground floor of the castle and it offers illustrations of Asian and older European historical porcelain. The main part of the exposition is located at the first floor, where in twenty rooms of the so-called piano nobile (i.e. the "noble plane") the development of Czech porcelain from its beginnings in 1792 to the modern production of the 20th century is installed.

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