From Přeštice, through Klatovy and Domažlice to Kdyně
Traveling through the Pilsen region by car with several stops in local towns, castles and chateaux or lookout towers, that was our plan. In this article, I combined 2 of our car weekends into one. We stopped in Přeštice, where there is a beautiful church, then we walked around the water castle Švihov, the town of Klatovy was interesting. We enjoyed a tour of the castle and chateau in Klenová. We admired the natural beauty of the Pilsen region by the Nýrsko water reservoir. Another was Kdyně, lookout towers Rýzmberk and Šibeniční vrch with the destination Horšovský Týn
Below Pilsen, turn south on the E53 road. Our first rest stop was the small town of Přeštice. We were fascinated by the beautiful red and white church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary from the Baroque period on the hill. It was a pity for us how much traffic passes through the city, even through the historic core.
Svihov water castle
Another stop further south is Svihov. Gothic water castle located, which is protected as a national cultural monument. There were two moats around the castle: the inner one on the site of today's inner courtyard and the outer one only partially preserved. If necessary, they could be filled very quickly with water from three surrounding ponds fed by canals from the river Úhlava.
The founder of the castle, which is first mentioned in 1375, was the family of lords from Rýzmberk of Skála. In the years 1480–1489 (during the reign of King Vladislav Jagiellonsky) it was costly rebuilt in the late Gothic style.
Cinderella in Svihov
Cinderella, so famous for Christmas, was filmed at Švihov Castle. The courtyards of the castle served as the backdrop for the manor of Popelčina's stepmother. In the castle, cardboard photographs remind us nicely.
Further south you will find the second largest town in the region and these are Klatovy. The town of Pošumav was founded by King Přemysl Otakar II. around 1260.
Klatovy colored houses
The town is sometimes also called the „gate of Šumava“. On the square you will find, as is typical in the Czech Republic, several colorful houses. You will find a slaughter fountain and a church at the head of the square. We were lucky to just come here for lunch with veterans of American cars.
Klenová Castle and Chateau
Below Klatovy we turn west, where we come across the castle and chateau Klenová. It is located on the litter of the same name, which can be easily reached by car. The first mention of the castle dates from 1287; at that time the castle guarded the trade route from Železná Ruda to Bavaria.
A palace was built in the 14th and 15th centuries, and a Renaissance wing dates back to the 16th century. In 1564, Kryštof Harant from Polžice and Bezdružice was born here. The castle has fallen into disrepair since the 17th century. In the second half of the 19th century, a neo-Gothic chateau and a complex of other residential and farm buildings (a granary, a villa, the chapel of St. Felix, a farm) were added to the medieval Klenová castle.
Gallery and castle in one
In the 20th century, until 1951, the owner of the castle was the painter Vilma Vrbová-Kotrbová. Then it became the property of the Czechoslovak state. As part of the restitution, the chateau was returned to Mrs. Vrbová-Kotrbová, who bequeathed it to the Klatovy-Klenová Gallery in her last will in 1993. That is why there are several art installations from the Klenová Gallery in the castle.
Gallery in nature
There are not many places that would connect history and modern art in the Czech Republic. Here at Klenová you will find it with a nice balance. You can walk around the area, where there are other important period objects (granary, villa, chapel of St. Felix, farm) and among them works of art.
Views of the landscape from Klenová
After visiting the castle and chateau, we still enjoyed the views of the surrounding Šumava countryside from a reclining blanket in a meadow.
We ended our day on the very edge of Šumava, in the town of Nýrsko, where we were captivated by a beautiful weir with a footbridge. The town really lies in front of the Šumava gates. We stopped here for a while and then continued a short distance outside the city to the reservoir of the same name.
Nýrsko water reservoir
At the end of the day, we enjoyed a light game reflected on the surface of the reservoir, which was built near Nýrsko on the river Úhlava in the years 1965 – 1969. It serves as a source of drinking water for Klatovy and Domažlice. The dam is located in III. zone of the Protected Landscape Area of Šumava.
Lookout tower and ruins of Rýzmberk castle
We continued further west, when we are slowly returning towards Prague. Our next stop was a short climb to the listed remains of the early Gothic Rýzmberk mansion, which was built in the second half of the 13th century. The castle with a two-part layout underwent a significant modification and expansion of square bastions and artillery fortifications, especially in the 15th century. The demise of this castle in 1655 is associated with the order of Ferdinand III, which decided to demolish some castles. Relics of the castle fortifications, torsos of buildings in the forecourt and the dominant tower have been preserved to this day.
View from Rýzmberk
Under the lookout tower, which consists of a tower of ruins, there is a cottage where you can buy snacks and a ticket to the lookout tower (20 CZK / person).
View from the lookout tower
From the top of the tower you have a 360 ° view of the surroundings. With good visibility you can see the mountains of the Bohemian Forest and Šumava.
Further west along the expressway 22, the town of Domažlice entered our path. The city is the traditional center of Chodsko and the historic city center is a city monument reserve. The entrance to the square leads through the gate of a twenty meter high massive tower, which was built at the time of the founding of the town around 1270.
Square in Domazlice
After passing through the gate, an elongated square begins to wind in front of you, which has colorful city houses with arcades on both sides. It's a really diverse range of pastel colors and different shapes of houses glued together.
Opposite the white dominant city tower you will find the town hall of Domažlice. The history of the town dates back to the 10th century, when there was a settlement. But in the 60s of the 13th century. the market settlement changes into a fortified royal city by a decision of the Czech king.
Nook of Domažlice
That it is a truly historic city is evident in many places. Whether it is a city tower, a fortified fortification gate or such bridges or remains of arcades. Domažlice is really worth a walk.
Šibeniční vrch lookout tower
We are slowly turning our trip back north. We made a short stop above the town of Hostýnský Týn at the Šibeniční vrch lookout tower. The five-storey lookout tower was built in 2010 on the site of the former pilgrimage chapel of the Virgin Mary of Lourdes. The wooden prismatic tower reaches a height of 21.5 meters. You can reach the viewing platform by climbing 66 steps.
View from the lookout tower Šibeniční vrch
From the upper gallery of the lookout tower you will be offered a view of the nearby surroundings of Horšovské Týn, the zone of Český les and Šumava.
Horšovský Týn - church
Our last stop before returning was the town of Horšovský Týn, which is the fourth largest town in the district. For the preservation of its historical monuments, it has been a city monument reserve since 1953. The most important buildings include the Church of St. Peter and Paul on Republic Square with a lookout tower.
Horšovský Týn Castle and Chateau
Another important building here is the state castle and chateau Horšovský Týn with the chateau park and the educational trail Královská rokle. It is actually a castle rebuilt into a castle in the city center. At this place stood first a bishop's court, then rebuilt into a castle in the 13th century.
History of the castle and chateau
In 1547 the castle burned down and was rebuilt into a Renaissance chateau by Jan the Younger Popel of Lobkovice. Reconstruction continued until the 17th century. The most valuable monument in the castle is a Gothic chapel.
Finally, we went for a walk in the castle gardens, which are dominated by a lake with swans, where the outline of the castle is reflected. Then all we had to do was return home to Prague.
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