The most romantic place of South Moravia: Novy Hradek u Lukova
September 5, 2014
Novy Hradek u Lukova is a bit further than our usual destinations, but it’s still worth considering.
There’re two that I am aware of, cities called Lukov in the Czech Republic, one in Znojmo Region and the other one in Zlin Region. Surprisingly in both you may find castle’s ruins. The one I would like to write about is closer to Znojmo, it’s around 90 kilometers from Brno, which makes more than an hour to get there. We’ve parked 3 kilometers from the castle on a designated parking space-next to stable and very close to a guesthouse U Hradku. We took our bikes so we covered the distance within 15 minutes, but it takes around 30 – 40 minutes to get there on foot.
The commented guided tour takes place every hour. No one is allowed to enter the castle’s premises on their own as it endangers the natural environment as well as health and safety of individuals. It’s necessary to wait outside the gate, which is opened only every hour to let 20 visitors in. The castle is opened till the end of October. The entrance fee is 100 kc, reduced 70 kc. More info about the opening hours here.
Novy hradek u Lukova is called one of the most romantic medieval castles in the Czech Republic. Why? Probably because of the gems Podyji National Park hides.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT
We’ve been waiting more than 30 minutes for the tour, but if we’re not going inside we wouldn’t see much. Once the gate opened we could’ve seen what seem to be forbidden from the outside. We’ve learned that this is the only castle laying in the first zone of Podyji National Park, that there’re actually two castles-the old one from the second half of XIV century and the new one from XIX century and a lot more I’m about to share.
First, we went to see the old castle, which was devastated by Swedish during the Thirty Years’ War. On our way there we’ve been warned several times about how dangerous and slippery this place can be. We’ve seen the remnants of the entrance that used to be on the 1st floor. We were told that the inner body of the castle was left intact. It looks as it used to. We’ve been also instructed how well the castle must have been built, since it last more than 400 years without any maintenance. At the end we heard that in 1645 the old castle was desolated.
Then we moved to the new castle, which was used as a summer villa for almost 100 years by Stanisław Mniszek, contemporary owner. Many years later, for some time, the new castle served as a lodging house. People were arriving to Lukov happily hoping not only to rest but also to derive pleasure. This place used to be a touristic centre, people could rent a boat, go on a hiking tour or go to a gallery. This region was called Moravian Switzerland and Znojmo was acclaimed the gate to the Moravian Switzerland. Everything changed when in 1948 the terrain was guarded, and the castle was no man’s land.
PODYJI NATIONAL PARK
40 years later in 1990 Podyji National Park was acclaimed and in 1992 the castle was reopened. It’s claimed that around 1400 kinds of plants were discovered here-it’s more than in Tatry Mountains. Thanks to visitors and their donations, a new roof could be built on. A roof we could walk on and admire splendid view on the Podyji River. One river but seems like 3 completely different rivers, going in a completely different direction. The river creates a natural Austro-Czech border.
I’m convinced this trip won’t end up here for most of you. This place will only whet your appetite. You may go to Vranov reservoir, jump on a boat and find yourself on a Bitov castle. Remember the last cruise go at 4 p.m. The parking fee 80 kc. If you don’t feel like cruising, you may go to Znojmo undergrounds or cross the borders and visit the Hardegg castle. Close by there is a beautiful castle Vranov nad Dyji, I wrote about a year ago or so. There’re plenty of cycle or hiking paths-definitely a lot to choose from.
STAY A NIGHT
Obviously you need more time to see all of that, so consider staying a night. Novy Hradek u Lukova lays between Vranov and Dyji and Znojmo. So where do you choose to find your accommodation? Vranov or Znojmo. Don’t forget to grab an amazing local South Moravian wine.