HRAD STRAKONICE : THE FORMER GRAND PRIOR’S RESIDENCE – TODAY

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The Former Grand Prior’s Residence – Today

The building of the former grand prior’s residence, situated in the north-eastern part of the castle premises, is an integral part of the castle complex. It includes two wings, connected to form a rectangle.

In 1694, the grand priors of the Maltese knights moved their base back to Prague and held meetings at Strakonice only during the summer. In the beginning of the 18th century, the Maltese grand prior Ferdinand Leopold Dubský of Třebomyslice (grand prior from 1714 to 1721) decided to build a more convenient habitation, and he chose the site at the confluence of the Otava and Volyňka Rivers.

Originally, there were simple stone walls, an entrance gate to the city with a tower, and small houses for the servants.

The one-storey residence, built somewhere around 1715, shows on its front facade the coat of arms of its builder, Baron Dubský, and the year 1716. Above the main entrance you can identify the symbol of the Order of Saint John (a white eight-pointed cross on a red ground with the oval symbol of the Čejkovský family). The ground floor originally had two entrances on the sides but in 1745 a new entrance in the middle of the building and a balcony with a metal railing above it were built. A shield made of three parts, with a clock, emerges from the roof.

The residence was then further remodelled in the time of the two following grand priors – Václav Jáchym Čejka of Olbramovice and Emanuel Václav Krakowski of Kolowrat. The southern part of the building was built, the frontage gained its classical appearance, and many changes took place to the interior as well. According to the inventory of 1776, there were six chambers in the castle: the grand prior’s, the green, red and yellow chambers, and four smaller rooms by the stairway. In the first half of the 19th century, the wooden access balcony in the north wing was replaced by a hall with arcades on the ground floor. At that time, there were also manor offices and clerk’s flats in the building.

The second half of the 19th century was marked by still further construction works. An extension with a cylindrical tower was built in the southern part. It was called a spite-bastion or spite-tower because the main reason for its construction was supposedly the nearby newly built opulent palace of the manufacturer Ignatius Stein.

The romantic building was torn down in 1936 due to the construction of a road to Pracejovice.

Shorty before that, in 1934, the original pathway between the church and the castle building was interrupted.

In 1922-25, a land reform of great importance took place at Strakonice Manor. In the end, the Manor fell into the hands of the relatives of Rudolf Beran, who was a member of parliament. In 1934, the group of owners sold this part to Zdeňka Havránková, who owned it until 1949 but in fact the city of Strakonice took over the administration in 1945. With the change of the owner, its purpose also changed in the second half of the 20th century.

In 1946-1952, it was a dormitory for the trainees of Česká zbrojovka (the Czech Munitions Factory) and since the 1960s it has been used by the Elementary Art School (formerly the folk school of arts).

Today, the baroque-classical frontage is the main entrance into the castle premises and it is the most exposed part of the castle.

Interesting Facts
In the northern part, near the River Otava, there is a semi-cylindrical bastion of late Gothic fortification. It is closed to the public because it is used by the art school.

In 1934, a water main was installed in the building, which was later extended into the other parts of the castle as well.

In June 1937, the planning authorities allowed Antonín Chramost to build a newsstand, including an entrance area and a small display window, in the north-eastern corner of the residence. It was a very insensitive intervention, most likely into the original wall of the fortifications, and it spoilt the appearance of the front façade of the residence. The space was bricked up in the 1970s during the construction of a new bridge over the confluence.

A room with murals, formerly a dining room, is a part of the educational rooms. The walls along the room are decorated with wall paintings that feature romantic landscapes. The paintings are not signed and experts date them to the end of the 18th century.

    

 
 
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