Today’s McMansions (my moniker for the palatial homes replacing the older teardowns in my community) just don’t cut it. Maybe it’s the postage stamp sized lot on which today’s castles are built or the dozen or so feet separating one McMansion from the next that simply makes it all gaudy rather than grand.
I know every man’s home is his castle, but who knew so many of my neighbors would take this figure of speech so literally despite the fact we Americans have always been a little short on lords. Jimmy is nonetheless a prince for treating me like the lady I aspired to be (no more lady in waiting for me!).
Yes, in Europe, there is no shortage of lords. And the rule of thumb years and years ago suggested only one castle per town was necessary to create all the magic needed to sustain serfdom. The Krumlov Castle in the Czech Republic certainly has its share of magic.
The Rozmberk dynasty (the Bohemian aristocratic House of Rozmberk, the most powerful clan in Bohemia in the day, one notch down from king) lasted for roughly 300 years, from 1302 to 1611. Our tour of the castle and city lasted only 4 hours. I considered hiding out at the top of the oldest structure in the castle, the tower known as the “Little Castle” so I could stay an extra day or two to really do the place justice, but Jimmy wouldn’t hear of it. Not very princely behavior if you ask me!
My personal favorite when it came to the decorative touches was all the archways. Those Bohemians certainly knew how to create drama. I couldn’t resist the lure of each passageway, each new twist and turn of this magnificent medieval mansion. It was a city within a city with everything from a theatre to a hospital, salt house and stables not to mention the staff needed to support the royal family.
There were even arches carved into the fortifying wall of the Upper Castle. They made the view of the tower in the Lower Castle that much classier. No boring rectangular slits to sully the magnificant view.
We undoubtedly would have been living in the shadow of Krumlov Castle, in the quaint medieval town of Cesky Krumlov situated below the castle. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. Tomorrow I’ll introduce you to that town, the Czech Republic’s “Little Prague.” The town's charming narrow streets and rustic bridges literally stepped out of the 18th century.