Excursion to the Orlik Castle and Lake, Saturday, July 20, 2002

(this page is based on material prepared by Miroslav Krbec)

Time Schedule

departure from the conference venue
14.00 (approx.) arrival to the Orlik Castle
14.15 - 15.30 (approx.) guided tour round the Orlik Castle
15.45 (approx.) departure from the Orlik Castle
18.00 dinner at the Solenice Hotel
21.30 departure from the Solenice Hotel
22.30 (approx.) arrival to the conference venue

The Orlik Castle and the Orlik dam are located on the fontier of the Central and South Bohemia:

mapa.jpg        the Orlik castle

The picture is taken approximately from south. After the tour in the castle a ship will ferry us to the Solenice Hotel across the lake. The Solenice Hotel is located on the left (west) bank of the Vltava river, on the slope of one of the hills, surrounding the Orlik dam.

Some hints how to spend the time between our arrival to the dam and the dinner:
- swimming in a small pool at the hotel (showers and changing rooms available);
- bathing in the Orlik Lake (opposite side of the river, in the camp site Popelíky, showers available);
- walking across the dam to enjoy the spectacular view of the valley;
- enjoy a drink on the terrace of the hotel and a view of the dam.

The Solenice Hotel also serves as a restaurant. It has a reputation of a friendly place with good cooking.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Two beers or soft drinks per person as well as two bottles of wine per table (four persons) are included in the price of the dinner, covered by the conference fee. Further drinks must be purchased individually.


About the Orlik Castle


The word Orlik means in Czech a young eagle. Indeed, the builders of the castle have placed it on the top of a hill, as an eagle nest. Orlik was founded as an Early Gothic Royal castle by the king Wenceslas II (of the Czech Premyslides dynasty) in the 13th century. It served as one of the major spots around Bohemia, supporting the power of the Czech Kingdom. Today we can see a New Gothic style facade from the middle of the 19th century. It does not fully correspond to the fact that Orlik is one of the oldest important historical buildings in Bohemia. The first written records come from about 1253. The history of the castle reflects the complicated history of the Middle Europe. It was a royal castle until 1357 and it was a property of several noble families and highest officials of the Czech Kingdom. Among them, there were also supporters of the famous early reformation spiritual leader Jan Hus (once also the Rector Magnificus of the Charles University in Prague), whose last regards before his death in Konstanz in 1415 were sent to Orlik. The castle hosted also Jan Žižka, the military leader of the Hussite movement. Later, the castle was heavily damaged by a fire and it was repaired and actually rebuilt by the Švamberk family at the beginning of the 16th century. After the Battle of White Mountain in Prague in 1620, i.e. after the beginning of the Thirty Year War in Europe, new Habsburg rulers of Bohemia confiscated property of many noble families which had supported the defeated Protestants. The new owner did not enjoy the easily acquired property too long, he died two years after the illfamous public death penalties and torturing leaders of the domestic nobility on the Old Town Square in Prague (1621). Needless to say, these events, years of wars, and the merciless press on the religious freedom led to the first massive immigration from the Czech kingdom. The castle was bought by the Eggenberg family and later, in 1719, all the property was inhereted by Adam František Schwarzenberg. Various members of the the Schwarzenberg family played an important role in the Austrian and later in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. During years, the castle underwent various changes and got also another floor and precious interiors, mostly of Empire style. The turmoils of the 20th century did not leave the castle and its owners aside. During the Second World War there was a forced Nazi administration. After the communist coup d'etat in 1948 the castle was nationalized. The restitutions after the collapse of the communist regimes in the Middle Europe returned the castle to the Schwarzenberg family, whose prominent members were living abroad, after taking part in another immigration flow from Czechoslovakia, this time in the end of the 1940's. The current owner of the Orlik Castle is Count Karl Schwarzenberg, an ex-Chancellor of Mr. President Vaclav Havel.


The Orlik dam

The Orlik dam was built more than fourty years ago as a part of the dam system on the Vltava river. Central Bohemia and Prague especially is protected by the cascade of dams from once devastating floods in early springs. The lake is about 60 meters deep at the dam, whose construction swallowed about 1 250 000 cubic meters of concrete and about 50 000 tons of reinforced steel.

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