Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
December 24, 2011
From journal Defense and guard fortress
by captain oddsocks
December 11, 2006
From journal Lovely Little Litomyšl
, West Virginia
January 7, 2005
One could say, "The walls are alive… with the sound of drama." And this courtyard is alive in June and July with the sounds of Puccini, Verdi, and others during Smetana’s Litomysl Opera Festival, and again in September, with a youth version of the same festivities.
The plural is "sgraffiti." I saw more of this decoration in Litomysl than I am likely to see again. It’s a form of fresco painting for exterior walls. Some of the sgraffito on the castle is original, dating from 1580s. A rough plaster undercoat was applied over stone and overlaid with several thin coats, each with separate lime-fast color, then etched into a permanent fresco. Photos of the castle look make it look as though it were made of concrete block, because outer walls (outside the courtyard square) are entirely covered with small, individual designs, each bordered.
Don’t be misled by those photos and miss this castle! Close up, it’s beautiful!
UNESCO sings the praises!
But wait! The World Heritage designation of 1999 was not assigned to Litomysl Castle because of opera or sgraffiti! UNESCO explains that the complex of immaculately well-preserved buildings illustrates "in an exceptional way the aristocratic residences of central Europe in the Renaissance and their subsequent development under the influence of new artistic movements." Another note explains that this type of architectural style, the arcade-castle, was borrowed from Italy and modified in Czechia to create a highly developed form of "special architectural quality."
Aristocrats could sing--and write and act!
Vratislav of Pernstejn, the Trautmannsdorfs, the Wallenstein-Warttembergs, von Thurn, and Taxis family--those were the ruling families of the Litomysl demesne from the 1500s until the chateau passed into the hands of the state. Kosma Chronicle mentions the castle as far back as 981. That would have been a wooden structure, rebuilt in stone during Hussite Wars, acquired in 1567 by Pernstejn, and rebuilt by 1581 into a Renaissance chateau for himself and his wife, a Spanish Mendozo. Josef Wallenstein built the baroque theater after 1775 for his family’s and town’s favorite pastime, amateur dramatic productions. Also during the Wallenstein’s rule, Smetana’s father ran the brewery on the castle grounds, and the piano the composer played when he returned to perform is on view, as well as the chandelier donated by Milos Foreman after the filming of Amadeus. (Not filmed here.) So much a part of the community, the castle was declared a national treasure in 1962. It tells the story of the region.
From journal Litomysl: Roots of a Czech National Art