History of Český Krumlov Castle

The tall rock cliffs jutting out over the Vltava river was populated long before the oldest parts of today\'s castle and church were founded. The first settlement of the castle promontory dates back to the Bronze Age.

The original Gothic castle was founded by the Lords of Krumlov some time before 1250. They represented a branch of the powerful family of the Witigonen with the five-petalled rose in their coat-of-arms. When the Lords of Krumlov died out in 1302, their relatives the Rosenbergs inherited the castle. The Rosenbergs family had their seat there up till 1602. Their name as well as the three centuries of their rule is connected with the greatest era of flourish of the town and castle. In the second half of the 16th century the castle acquired the form of a mighty and splendid Renaissance residence. At that time the rulers of the Rosenberg dominion represented eminent personalities among Bohemian aristocracy, educated humanists, patrons of the culture and arts, and prominent politicians all filling the highest posts within Bohemian Kingdom.

Period pictorial representation of the constructional development of Český Krumlov Castle

In 1602, the Emperor Rudolf II. von Habsbursg bought the Krumlov dominion. Afterwards, the Emperor Ferdinand II. von Habsbursg donated the royal demesne to the Prince Johann Ulrich von Eggenberg who was the representative of an Austrian princely dynasty. It was not until their third generation that, in the 1680\'s, thanks to Johann Christian I. von Eggenberg, more intensive development of farming, building activities and arts was evident and the Český Krumlov Castle surmounted the period of provincial backwardness and stagnation in economy and arts resulting from the Thirty Years\' War. Johann Christian I. von Eggenberg converted Český Krumlov into an impressive Baroque seat.

Period decoration of Český Krumlov Castle, 17th century

As the Eggenbergs died out without successors in 1719, the new dynasty - the princely lineage of the Schwarzenbergs - inherited Krumlov. As early as in their second generation Joseph Adam zu Schwarzenberg showed his creative personality. A deft and enterprising businessman as well as a passionate art lover, he played an important role in the far-reaching reconstructions of the castle. Inclination towards the culture of the imperial residence in Vienna contributed to the enrichment of building innovations as well as of social life at the castle with the cultural impetus of European importance. Towards the end of the 18th century, and especially in the 19th century, the protracted stagnation of art and economy became evident, and after the middle19th century the Český Krumlov Castle lost its role as the main residence of the Krumlov-Hluboká Schwarzenberg branch and was not regularly inhabited even in the 20th century.

Period decoration of Český Krumlov Castle, 19th century

In 1947, the Schwarzenberg property, including Český Krumlov, was transferred to the Czech provincial properties and after the abolition of the provincial system it became the property of the Czechoslovak State in 1950.

See also :
Český Krumlov Castle - Prehistory
Český Krumlov Castle in the Gothic Period
Český Krumlov Castle in the Renaissance Period
Český Krumlov Castle in the Baroque Period
Český Krumlov Castle in the 19th century
Český Krumlov Castle in the 20th century