Within a respectable walking distance of the palace is the former Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk, perched on a hilltop. The structure is noted architecturally for its geometry of circle, representing the five stars that appeared the saint when he died.
While Vlad the Impaler may have had the best marketing, there are places to find traces of other vampires across Central and Eastern Europe. This day trip last weekend took us to the border between Moravia and Bohemia in CZ, where we found the cemetery of the last Czech vampire, Alois Ulrich, a malicious local administrator whose death was not mourned by the villagers in 1817. After reports that he had come back to life, the village priest had the coffin reopened to find the vampire still pink with life. Executed firmly, and his mouth stuffed with poppies for good measure (apparently a surefire technique to permanently diffuse a vampire), Ulrich was buried in the village walled cemetery once and for all.
In the village of Zdar nad Sazavou there is also a palace, of course, this one linked through history to the Kinsky Family, one of the oldest aristocratic families in Bohemia with an imperial decree of royalty dating to the 1600s. Owing to the family’s anti-Nazi sentiment during WWII, the Germans imposed receivership on the estate, forcing the family to emigrate to France. (It might also be mentioned that their lineage includes Bertha von Suttner, a former Countess who became the first woman to be awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1905.)
In the early 1990s Count Karlov, son of the formerly-exiled Prince Ulrich returned to claim the property (anyone notice the last name?); now the father and the two sons are restoring the complex, including its Minor Basilica.
The bridge over the river Sazavou.
The village of Zdar was well worth the time we spent exploring. The clerk at the Tourist Information office could not have been any more helpful to us, either. “Mluvite Anglicky?” was responded to with, “A little bit,” before proceeding in full-on English to overload us with every brochure and map available. He even followed us to the car with a packet of information he had overlooked while were in the office! And as it goes, with each day trip undertaken our list becomes longer.