During most afternoons, there will be shorter or longer themed excursions. Details of these excursions will be added later.
Tuesday 29th April
Nové Hrady has several "best practice" examples of new use for historic buildings, finding a good balance between preserving the historic appearance and integrity of the building and a sustainable economic use. Many of the historic buildings were confiscated during WW II by the Nazi's and again after the war by the communists. Most buildings were misused and badly maintained during this half-century period. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, some buildings were restituted to the original owners but the Buqouy estate remained State property. Only since the Czech entry in the European Union did funds for restoration became available on larger scale. Since then, several of the former Buqouy buildings have been restored to their former glory.
This historic building complex was built as residence for the Buqouy family, the noble family owning most of the region. Later, after the Chateau was completed, the Residence was used as administrative center for the management of the Buquoy estate. After WW II, the complex was confiscated and fell into disuse. In 2009, restoration of the complex was completed and opened as a Wellness Hotel.
The history of the Church of the St. Peter and Paul dates back to the 13th century. The building has been partly destroyed and rebuilt several times and since the 17th century forms one unit together with the Servite Monastery. The monastery was built by the Buquoys and since 1667 the Servite order served here. In 1950, the last Servite brothers were evicted and the building has served as barracks for the frontier police. Since 1987, the complex has been empty and fell into ruins. In the 1990s the property was restored to the Servite order and completely restored and opened for public and providing services again.
This Gothic Castle was founded in the mid 13th century as a guarding point controlling the important trade route between Weitra and České Budějovice - Český Krumlov. It stands on a 50 m high cliff above the Stropnice and is further protected by a 14 meter deep moat. Different branches of the Vitek family (better known as the Rožmberk family) had ownership of the castle up to the early 1600s. After the death of Petr Vok, the last of the Rožmberk males, the property fell to the related Svamberk family. At the beginning of the Thirty-Year War (1618-1648), the castle was besieged and conquered by the Habsburg general Charles Bonaventura Buquoy and was subsequently given to him as spoils of war. In the centuries following, the castle was used first as residence but later more as administrative centre. In. 1945, the castle was confiscated again, this time by the Czech State and it has been state property since then, and also has come under heritage protection. At the end of the 20th century, a large renovation took place restoring most of the castle to its old glory. The castle is open to public and two guided tours show different parts of the interiors.
Generations of the Grossinger family worked in this historic blacksmith workshop at least since 1717. After WW II, the family was evicted and the workshop was empty. Later, the Czech painter Karbal lived here, but after his untimely dead the workshop fell completely into ruins. In the early 2000s, the building was bought by the Town of Nové Hrady and restored with help of EU funds.
Wednesday 30th April
Iron Curtain Open Air Museum
The Iron Curtain Open Air Museum started out as a private museum on the history of the Czech - Austrian border since 1918, when the Czechoslovak Republic was split of from Austria and became an independent state. When its creator died, he left the exhibition and all its objects and documents to the Town of Nové Hrady. This open air museum now is located at the former border crossing between the Czech Republic and Austria, about 1 mile out of town. Most of the original museum exhibitions has been rebuilt and some things added, including a guard house.
The Academy and University Centre Nové Hrady
The Academy and University Centre is a close cooperation between the Institute of Nanobiology and Structural Biology of the Czech Academy of Science and the Institute of Complex Systems, Faculty of Fisheries and the Protection of Waters, University of South Bohemia. The cooperation was established to create a Center of Excellence. The Academy of Sciences is owner of the premises, which also houses the conference center used as our venue. More details about the scientific work and its practical applications in society can be found at the websites of the institutes.
Thursday 1th May
Mandelstein Hill, Austria
After the morning sessions, we will go by bus to Mandelstein Hill, just across the border in Lower Austria. This hill is a prominent landmark and viewpoint offering a great view over both the Czech and the Austrian country side. At the top of the hill, we will enjoy a cold lunch.
The later half of the afternoon will be used for several small excursions in and around Nové Hrady or participants can use this time as free time.
Friday 2th May
Friday is the big excursion day. After a short morning session we will leave for the world famous UNESCO World Heritage Site Český Krumlov, about 35 miles from Nové Hrady. This historic town is dominated by a 13th century castle guarding the meanders of the Vltava (aka the river Moldau) twisting around the town center. It was one of the power seats of the Vitkov family, better known as the Rožmberks, one of the most powerful Czech noble families until its extinction of the main line in 1611. When walking through Český Krumlov, you see the signs of the Rožmberk family everywhere, including on façades of houses and on gutter endings.
At the end of the afternoon we will follow the Vltava downstream to České Budějovice. Like Český Krumlov, this town was built on the confluence of the Vltava and Malse in the 13th century as well. King Ottakar II of Bohemia established it as a "king's stronghold" as a counter balance to the dominance of the Rožmberk families Thanks to this more planned design, the center of the town has a grid-like layout; a stark contrast to the winding and narrow roads of Český Krumlov.
The conclusion of the evening will be a tour and tasting through the Budweiser Budvar brewery. České Budějovice is also know in German and English as Budweis and is known as a beer brewing town since the 13th century. The original Budweiser Beer brewery was founded in 1785, and a second company under the name Budvar was established in 1895. The Budweiser Beer was exported to the USA already in 1872. Under communism, both breweries were nationalized and finally merged into one company.
Sunday 4th May
This day will be used to visit the Eastern Bohemian municipality of Nové Hrady, the second Newcastle municipality in the Czech Republic. This small village has only about 300 inhabitants but is house to a large 18th century rococo palace.