The Minaret or the ‘Turkish Tower’ is located on the grounds of the Lednice Castle Gardens.
This attractive tower was built by Prince Alois Joseph I according to plans by architect Josef Hardtmuth – the famous pencil inventor and founder of the Czech firm Koh-i-noor, a major manufacturer of pencils and crayons. – at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries.
It is an exceptional construction of this character in Europe and stands almost 60 metres high – making it one of the tallest on the continent.
However, we need to specify that it is not a religious building: it was built to give the park an exotic note, bringing the symbolic element of the Islamic culture to central Europe.
The slender tower has three viewing platforms and serves as an unconventional lookout tower in the summer months; 302 stairs take you to the top. While the Minaret can be easily reached on foot through the chateau grounds, a cruise route also leads to it; boats depart from the jetty below Lednice Chateau.
The lower part of the tower has eight rooms with ceilings, walls, and floors richly decorated with oriental ornaments. According to experts, this decorative work was carried out by artists from Arab countries. The minaret served primarily as a lookout tower from which the whole area could be overlooked.
The walls of the minaret are covered with Arab inscriptions. Dr. Andreas Trieb redrew the inscriptions and translated them into German (the translation has been confirmed in modern times by workers of the Náprstek museum). The sign above the door says: There is no God except Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.
Today the Lednice minaret is a dominant feature of the entire Lednice-Valtice area and a unique example of Moorish architecture in the Czech Republic.
While the minaret never served for religious purposes, it has served as an important lookout tower – on a good day, you can see all the way to Vienna, which is more than 90 km away.