The current cool cloudy clime is still the perfect time for a visit to Zvikov and Orlik. This would be my third time there and indeed, my second time to write about it (the first time was covered here). I won’t cover much information that I covered there on this blog, but rather something we managed to do that I’d never done before: the tours.
Our first stop was Orlik, or the “little eagle” in English, beginning with our customary langose. I’m not overly sure what a langose is, but it’s flat, fried, and topped with copious amounts of cheese and garlic. Frankly, I’m not even sure if it’s any good, but I keep ordering the stuff so it must have some merit.
We then went on our merry way to the castle grounds. My first instinct is always to go down the stairs at Orlik and follow the moat to a small peninsula, where you pass by a door where there’s always a hundred or so people streaming out. What was that door? A secret entrance? I couldn’t tell, since as I said, there were a hundred or so people streaming out an egress that could barely fit a kitchen stool.
Back up the moat and to the tour. The tour costs 120 czk for the straight Czech and 200 total for that with a booklet that will let you decipher the tour guide’s speeches. The castle is well worth the tour and is now on my top three list of castle tours.
Orlik castle was the main manor of the noble Schwarzenberg family, who still wields power in the Czech government today. The house tour shows you the living period of the most famous of the Schwarzenbergs, Karl Philipp, who led the victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig. However, the man also served as the Austrian Ambassador to the French Empire and had been an acquaintance of the Corsican Fiend, even receiving the best gift you could receive from a friend: their own bust. The bust of the Little Corporal is on display in the gigantic lounge room, which is situated next to the dining room, by far the chambre sans pareil of the chateau. The room is paneled entirely of hand-carved wood, taking the master craftsman from the locality over four years to complete. The ceiling, the walls, everything. It’s truly a masterpiece of woodcarving and shouldn’t be missed by any fan of the trade, and it certainly makes the entire tour worth the price.
The next most interesting thing are the Halls of Terror (name is mine). In one hall are rows and rows of hunting guns, and in another, an unparalleled assemblage of animal heads. It seems that the Schwarzenberg family tradition was to provide a fresh gun for each guest and store the gun for later use by that guest, and they’d go out hunting in the immediate lands. The guns were all notched with their score and on the plate of each beast’s head was served the name of the hunter and date of the conquest.
|Orlik from the front|
|Zvikov from the front|
|The walls near the dock|