Bright red chateau backs onto network of fish ponds

February 20, 2013



ICONIC BUILDING:  I am pictured walking up to the entrance of the castle Cervena Lhota in Bohemia, in the southern part of The Czech Republic.


WATER RESOURCE: The Otapovicky pond near Trebon.

ONE of the Czech Republic’s most idyllic old castles lies in the some of the country’s most stunning landscapes.

The original site of this Chateau was built on the rocky granite outcrop, which, after the damming of a stream and the filling up of a fishpond, became an island.  The original building was said to have been built in the middle of the 14th Century.

The house’s red colour is also the source of many local legends.  One tells a story about a beautiful Lady taken away by the Devil. Only Lady’s blood stains left on the white walls of the chateau gave evidence of her gruesome end. The body was never found and the indelible stains inspired later chateau’s owners to have it decorated in red.

Červená Lhota gets its distinct red colour from the red plaster used on it when the chateau was purchased to Vilém Růt of Dírná in 1597.

When I visited with my close friend, who lives in nearby Ceske Budejovice, it was a rainy day in November 2010 and we only got around the edge of the fishpond. It didn’t diminish to me the majestic nature of it.

Between 1621 and 1639, the house was used as a residence by a gentleman called Antonio Bruccio. On his death, there was no heir and it was used by his eventual successors as an occasional cottage.

The house was confiscated by the Communists in 1946 and turned into a children’s clinic. This function only lasted for a year and it was turned over to the National Culture Commission and opened to the public in 1949.

Although I couldn’t see the interior on my visit there, the two-storey chateau has a courtyard in the centre, occupies the rock and juts into the fish pond. There is a priceless collection of historic furniture, tiled sloves, pictures, porcelains and other items.

Rowing on the lake at the height of summer is a popular pastime and boats are hired out near the chateau.

The house backs on to the network of fishponds of Bohemia that are spread out across the Trebon Basin. There are 460 ponds that were built by a noble family called the Rozmberks. They are used for breeding freshwater fish, especially carp.

The Trebon fishponds and the surrounding countryside are vital corridors of territory for species such as the sea eagle and the Eurasian otter. Other species that are natives to the area are eagle owls, wild boar, black storks, night herons, Eastern imperial eagles, Saker falcons and white-backed woodpeckers.

The fishponds were designated a Unesco site in the early 1990s and constitute the core area of what has been designated a biosphere reserve.

As well as fish farming and tourism, other industries flourishing in the basin include agriculture; forestry; sand, peat and gravel extraction; glass blowing; timber manufacturing; construction materials and spa treatment services.

The fishponds are harvested every autumn and at the Rožmberks pond and on this pond, the harvest is  a bi-annual event. Besides freshwater fish farming, the ponds are used for water sports, recreation and sports fishing.


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