Zamek Smirice

Smiřice Castle was founded on the river Elbe, which at the time of the construction of the settlement consisted of three major tributaries. Surrounded by two side branches there was a medieval Fortress, first mentioned in 1392. In the 15th century the moated castle was converted into a castle. The nearby settlement of Smiřic received city rights in 1659.

The lineage of the Smiřický of Smiřice is connected with the history of the town. The first evidence comes from 1405, when Václav Smiřický from Smiřic bought the village of Smiřice and also neighboring Čibuz. The Smiřický named themselves after the place Smiřice, which was in their possession from 1406-1449. Jan Smiřický was a Hussite leader and the captain of the Bunzlauer circle. In his last years he was a staunch Catholic. Therefore, in 1453 in Prague, he was charged with treason and sentenced to death. On September 6, 1453, Jan Smiřický of Smiřic was beheaded. After his death, his cousins, the brothers Jan and Hynek Smiřický, inherited the castle. After Jan and Hynek died without descendants in 1476, the castle passed into the hands of different owners. Margareta von Smirzicz was the mother of Albrecht von Wallenstein, Commander in Chief of the Imperial Forces during the Thirty Years' War.

In 1498 Nicholas II acquires. Trčka of Lípa († 1516) Smiřice. He belonged to the most prominent noble families of Bohemia. At the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, large parts of eastern and central Bohemia were in their possession.

When in 1634, Adam Erdmann Count Trčka together with his brother-in-law Albrecht van Wallenstein are murdered in Eger, Adam's father Jan Rudolf Trčka from Lípa inherits the property. Jan Rudolf Trčka of Lípa died on September 29, 1634 in Havlíčkŭv Brod. He was probably buried next to his deceased wife in the church of Světlá, as requested in his will. Just a year after his death, a trial is being conducted against him and his late wife. That led to all their possessions being conflicted by the Emperor Ferdinand II.

Adam Erdmann Trčka von Lípa 1599-1634 Owner of the castle was an Austrian field marshal during the Thirty Years War and supporter of Wallenstein.

In the battle against the Swedish and Saxon troops in Silesia, Wallenstein was not bold enough to the taste of Emperor Ferdinand II 1578-1637. He also fails to stop a Swedish invasion of Bavaria. In addition, Wallenstein - with cover from the Emperor, incidentally - had begun talks with the Swedes to explore the terms on which peace could be concluded. Slanderers manage to present the situation in such a way that the Emperor comes to believe that Wallenstein is planning treason. Whether this was actually the case has never been definitively clarified.

In any case, the emperor is starting to get tired of this general, who has become all too powerful thanks to his many military successes. In 1634, Wallenstein, together with Adam Erdmann Trčka von Lípa, was murdered by some of his officers in the Bohemian border town of Eger by order of the emperor. By a decree of Emperor Ferdinand II, Adam Erdmann was expressly excluded from the Imperial pardon, because he was a partaker of Wallenstein. Four days after Trčkas's death, all his possessions were confiscated by the emperor and his will was declared invalid on May 23, 1633.

Ferdinand II (9 July 1578 – 15 February 1637) was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, Hungary, and Croatia from 1619 until his death in 1637. He was the son of Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria and Maria of Bavaria. His parents were devout Catholics, and, in 1590, they sent him to study at the Jesuits' college in Ingolstadt because they wanted to isolate him from the Lutheran nobles. In July that same year (1590), when Ferdinand was 12 years old, his father died, and he inherited Inner Austria–Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and smaller provinces. His cousin, the childless Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, who was the head of the Habsburg family, appointed regents to administer these lands.

In 1636 Johann Matthias Gallas acquired the seigniory of Smiřice with the town and castle Smiřice including the estates Žiželeves, Rodov, Hořiněves and Sadová as well as the associated 40 villages. He came from a family of the lower feudal nobility of Judikariens. His family had the castle of Campo as a fief of the prince-bishops of Trento. Matthias father, Pancrazio di Gallasso, died after 35 war service on July 22, 1612, in the rank of an Imperial Major General in Tyrol. Gallas was married to Dorothea Anna Countess of Lodron the daughter of Philipp Jakob Earl of Lodron and Victoria Countess of Collalto and San Salvatore. His grandson was Johann Wenzel von Gallas (1669-1719), Viceroy of Naples. Gallas was promoted by the Emperor to Lieutenant General in the Imperial Army after he informed the Emperor of Wallenstein's secret negotiations with the Swedes. After his death, his four sons inherit the property. In 1661 Anton Pankratius Gallas had the castle renovated in Renaissance style.

On October 1, 1685, Gallas sold the seigniory to Isabella Magdalena of Sternberg. Members of the Sternberg noble family had been involved in important royal offices since the 13th century. They helped shape the cultural development of Bohemia and acted as patrons and patrons for scholars and artists. The castle came into their hands through the marriage in 1747 between the princely couple Maria Theresia von Sternberg and Johann Leopold von Paar. After her death in 1761, her son Johann Wenzel Fürst von Paar took over the castle.

The line of counts of Sternberg belongs to the oldest Czech aristocratic families in the country. Its members committed themselves in the Czech political and cultural history.

He sold it to Joseph II in 1780 for 500,000 guilders. The future Emperor Joseph II. was born on March 13, 1741 in Vienna as the first son and fourth child of Maria Theresia and her husband Franz Stephan von Lothringen. his father was thus Franz I emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation (Roman Emperor). Joseph II was the European ruler who achieved the highest mileage of his time. In his nearly 25 years of reign - 7102 exactly - he did not spend 2260 days in his residence. Joseph married Princess Isabella of Bourbon-Parma on October 6, 1760 in Vienna (1741-1763). On January 23, 1765, Schönbrunn married his cousin Princess Maria Josepha of Bavaria (1739-1767) for the second time in Vienna. On March 27, 1764, he was elected to the Roman German King in Frankfurt am Main and crowned as such on April 3, 1764. His motto was: Virtute et exemplo (with virtue and example). Joseph becomes Holy Roman Emperor in 1765 after the death of his father.

After the coronation of Emperor Joseph II, new fortifications began to be built for the defense of the northern border of the Empire. The defense of Moravia was entrusted to Olomouc, which was fortified by powerful forts. When the work was completed, the fortification of Hradec Králové commenced between 1766-88.[2] The Emperor Joseph II himself had the Josefov Fortress built around the area of ​​Plesy, near the town of Jaroměř. He built the barracks town of Josephfov near Jaromer. During this period, the emperor stayed at Smirice Castle.

The seigniory remains in the crown until 1848. In 1848 after the abdication of Emperor Ferdinand I in favor of his son Franz Joseph I, after the dissolution of the patrimonial estates, it became a state domain and placed under the management of k.k. privilegierten Credit-Anstalt, this was an Austrian bank.

The Emperor traveled incognito through his empire under the name Count von Falkenstein.

In 1863, the Smiřice estate, including the castle, was bought by the Liberec businessman Johann Liebieg, who had the castle modernized. After 18 years he sold it back to the administration of the imperial estates. Born June 7, 1802 in Braunau and died in Smirice on July 16, 1870, ennobled from 1867 Johann Freiherr von Liebig, was a Bohemian textile manufacturer and industrialist. the Order of the Iron Crown conferred by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1867 was linked to the hereditary title of baronship. He chose "Per laborem ad honorem" as the motto on his coat of arms. With his older brother Franz Liebieg (1799-1878) he started a weaving mill. In 1828 he and his brother Franz buy a red yarn dye house founded in 1806 by Christian Christoph Count Clam Gallas in Reichenberg, now Liberec. The company grew into one of the most important textile factories in the Austro-Hungarian Empire through the successful production of various types of fabric. For his 6300 employees and civil servants, Liebig had established many humanitarian institutions (support institute, bakeries, dining halls, educational institutions, a children's crib and a residential area) which required an annual expenditure of up to 20,000 guilders. In 1864 he built a steam mill and in 1867 Liebig founded a sugar factory and a beer brewery in Smirice. Since 1866, his sons Johann and Heinrich Theodor and his son-in-law, Josef von Mallmann, were shareholders of the Firm Johann Liebieg & Co.

His son is Franz von Liebig (1827-1886), textile manufacturer and bank manager, member of the Bohemian Landsdag and of the Reichsrat. When the company gets into trouble around 1882 due to a crisis in the textile industry, he sells parts of his possessions. Until 1918, the castle of Smirice also came into the hands of the K.K. family fund.

Theodor Freiherr von Liebieg 1872 - 1939 was a real car enthusiast. He visited in Mannheim, Germany, Karl Benz and bought one there as one of the first Benz car model Viktoria with serial number 76, made in 1893

With the proclamation of Czechoslovakia, the castle was expropriated in a land reform in 1918 and declared state property. Until 1950 the chateau served as an agricultural school, and then it was the seat of the Directorate of State Farms and then the Industrial pole Prague. Then the city of Smiřice became the owner of the castle, which was sold to a private owner. Since 2013, the castle has been renovated.

Today, Smirice Castle has entered a new era. The city uses the beautiful domain for cultural projects and there are regular performances in the large courtyard. The castle is also used as a setting for beautiful pieces of antiques from the past. Jindrich Karasek says the following; Our company was founded in 2006 originally a real estate company. We focused on historic buildings. One of the first investments was the castle of Stračov that we have chosen as the headquarters and began an extensive reconstruction, which was not easy. We had a desire to equip the interior with antique furniture, which belongs to the castle. Unfortunately the original furniture Nothing remains. So we started looking and the Czech Republic and abroad, period furniture and furnishing interiors gradually. Antiques We fell in love very quickly, we began to pursue them to the fullest and to become a member of the Antique Dealers Association and member of the International Confederation of traders artworks C.I.N.O.A.

The artist Peter Weidenbaum has been working on a series of works around the Czech landscape since 2004. His studio is also located in the castle. Due to the many activities, Smirice Castle is assured of a future with a nod to its rich past.

Source of the historical material; and Martin Kareš.

Design and text Pieter Willemen