Orlík takes its name from ‘orel’, the Czech word for an eagle; and indeed for many centuries this rocky outcrop rising 200 feet above the river Vltava must have made a dramatic eyrie for the original fortified manor. Its appearance today — a neo-gothic fantasy floating only just above water-level — is the result, prosaically, of the construction of Czechoslovakia’s largest hydroelectric dam in the 1950s.
Orlík Chateau is located on the border of South and Central Bohemia. The castle was expanded in the 16th century after a fire that destroyed Orlík.
Under the stewardship of the famous field-marshall Karl Philipp Schwarzenberg (1771-1820) and his descendants, the house and park began to take on their current romantic appearance. A fourth floor was added, and the grounds were extensively planted with trees in the English fashion. Finally, between 1850 and 1861, the entire house was remodelled in neo-gothic style under the Prague academician Bernhard Grueber.
When visiting the castle, you can expect to see the following:
- Artwork depicting historical events and personalities.
- Schwarzenberg family trees spanning centuries.
- Medals and orders relating to military victories.
- Empire style furnishings from revolutionary Paris.
- The unique Teskas Hall with ornately hand-crafted wooden ceiling.
- The knights hall and armory with weapons dating from the 16th to 20th century.
- The largest private collection of hunting rifles in the Czech Republic.
- Personal gifts to Charles Philip Schwarzenberg from Napoleon himself (they were once allies).
- The private rooms of the Schwarzenberg family which have been perfectly preserved and act as windows into the past.
- Various unique historical curiosities.
Orlík Chateau is surrounded by a large landscape park. About 140 hectares have been preserved from the original 180 hectares; the rest was flooded in the 1960s by the Orlík Dam, which now forms one of the natural borders of the park. Inside the park is a Neo-Gothic tomb of one of the Schwarzenberg family branches, who owns the chateau.