Cimelice

The village of Cimelice was under royal administration until the middle of the 15th century. It had the same legal rights as the nearby Orlik Castle. The first documentation for the village dates from 1445, when Cimelice was owned by Markvart and Jan, members of the Jezovec family from Rakovice. The fortress of Cimelice was also first documented in 1445, when Peter of Cimelice owned it.

The Royal Procurator, Jan Tluksa of Vrabi, acquired Cimelice in 1460. Vladislav II Jagellon, King of Bohemia, granted him the right to gather wood from the forests of Pisek and to hunt deer, boar and bear. He was also given the right to build a gallows and to perform executions.

The Deym family from Stritez acquired Cimelice, including some neighbouring villages, in 1532. The renaissance church in Cimelice was built next to the old gothic chapel in the second half of the 16th century. A system of fishponds was built also during this period. The fortress was rebuilt in the renaissance style in 1597. Records show that it was made of stone, with a yard and a brewery.

The Count of Althan received Cimelice through seizure of the property shortly after it was granted the status of town in 1629. It was then bought in the same year by Lady Eva Plot, a sister of Vilem Deym. The Margrave of Bissingen's family bought Cimelice from the Plot family in 1686. They kept the property until the family line died out in 1771. The estate also comprised an eight-room stone fortress with a small circular tower in one corner, a brickyard, a brewery, a manorial yard, a sheepfold, a mill near Cimelice, several ponds and the church of St Alzbeta (Elizabeth).

With its acquisition by the Bissingen family, an important period of economic prosperity started. Karel Bohuslav Bissingen built the Listany farm with a sheepfold. Another farm, Bissingenhof, was founded close to the Stejskal pond, which was later divided into two ponds by a low dyke.

The original Cimelice fortress was rebuilt into a granary in 1730. The structure closes the building complex at north edge of the castle courtyard. The three-storey building with small windows is covered by a saddle roof. A renovated painting of a sundial covers a part of the gable wall.

Karel Bohuslav Bissingen was designated as the Prachen regional supervisor in 1725. He held the office until 1742. The Cimelice domain was badly affected by the Franco-Austrian War during the period 1741 to 1743. By October 1744, a vast army encampment spread between Mirotice and Cimelice. A local monument, Vintir, was probably built at this time. It is a long, three-sided pyramid erected on three granite spheres placed on a tall granite pedestal. The Cimelice painter, Josef Jelinek, painted Czech saints on the three sides of the pyramid at the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately the paintings are no longer visible now.

After the death of the vigorous Karel Bohuslav Bissingen, the Cimelice domain was administered by his son Karel Bohumir (Gotfried), who founded some new farms. After his death, his wife Apolonie of Wratislav, who was of Mitrovic ancestry, inherited the property. In this way, the domain passed to the Wratislav family in 1782.

Josef Wratislav of Mitrovic was a supplier to the Imperial army during the Napoleonic wars. It was a time of economic prosperity that resulted in new buildings, which enriched the architectural character of Cimelice in the empire style. A small empire-style castle was built at the northeastern edge of the Cimelice yard during the period 1798 to 1817. The Karlov Manor was finished after 1800, with symmetrical buildings along the axis of forest road close to the small Karlov castle.

During the period 1800 to 1848, 29 new houses were constructed, including several small cottages in Cimelice. A new smithy and an inn (today the Na Knizeci restaurant) were built on the square.

Josefina Wratislav, who married Prince Karel Schwarzenberg, inherited Cimelice in 1840 and Cimelice became a part of the Schwarzenberg property. In 1846, the Schwarzenbergs also gained the Varvazov region, which was connected to Orlik domain. Alleys of oak, chestnut, elm and linden trees were planted, forming with ponds, shrubby areas and areas for pheasant, the new face of the country - adapted for hunting - in the east of the Cimelice region and the area of Vrabsko. The Schwarzenbergs (the Orlik family branch) were owners until 1949, when the property was nationalized and Cimelice castle plundered by the communists. It was returned to the family heir, Prince Karel Schwarzenberg, in 1994.

Cimelice also played its part in the end of World War II, with the capitulation of Schörner's Nazi army after the clash at Slivice being ratified in the nearby mill house, U Diku, on May 11, 1945. The German commander Pückler committed suicide afterwards.


The castle of Cimelice is the only important palace in the baroque style in the Pisek region. Count Karel Bohuslav (Amadeus) Bissingen had the castle built by the master builder, A. Canevall, close to the old fortress, which used to be enclosed by a water-filled moat. The remains of the fortress are part of the present-day granary.

The castle is a two-storey building. Its middle part, which extends towards the rear, rises one floor above the two side wings. After a fire in 1767, two small towers were erected on the castle wings. Valuable furniture, an altar and sculptures from the castle chapel of St Jan Evangelista (John Baptist), paintings and other pieces of art had disappeared before a film school was established in the castle in 1952: Film making was taught in the castle until 1982. Between 1999 and 2001, Cimelice castle was one of the residential centres for the Centre for Contemporary Arts.

A park, decorated with many statues and divided into squares by hedges and paths, was established with the construction of the castle. A grassy area in the front of the garden arched in direction of the driveway. There was an orchard, and a kitchen garden situated south of the castle. A drive, lined with lindens on both sides, leading from the park to a renaissance castle with a hexagonal tower in the village of Rakovice was also built at the same time.

The drive was embellished with statues from the workshop of Jan Hammer, who was born in Plzen (Pilsen). He came to Cimelice in 1735 and lived there until 1768. His workshop produced sculptures of high artistic quality. Statues from the park and drive were moved to the stone bridge near Nerestce, to the crossroads and the bridge in Cimelice (statues of St Vaclav, St Jan Nepomucky, St Norbert and St Vojtech), to the wall of the Cimelice cemetery, and to the hill on the road to Mirotice. A few of Hammer's statues also grace the old stone bridge in Pisek.

The castle garden has made Cimelice famous in recent years with impressive flower exhibitions, which are professionally organised every second year.

The vicarage (reinstated here in 1749), the school (1808) and the manorial hospital (1804) were built along the road from the castle to the Cimelice church.

The church of St. Trinity is now a small museum of architectural styles. A former, smaller, gothic chapel forms today's vestry and it has a renaissance dome with paintings, baroque altars, an empire-style confessional and a chancel.

The church was repaired and enlarged in 1822 by the Wratislavs. It contains some remarkable pieces of art - a gothic statue of the Madonna from the second half of the 15th century; richly decorated baroque altars and a font; a few precious gravestones from the 16th and 17th centuries, and coat of arms of Karel Bissingen in stone. St Trinity's statue (in the rococo style) dominates the space in front of the church.

J. F. Jöndl built the Wratislav burial chamber, combined with a chapel in the empire style, in Cimelice cemetery in 1817. The chamber resembles a small Greek temple, with a triangular gable placed on an entablature supported by four Doric columns.

LISTEN TO BELLS (MP3, 386 kB) 

HOME