History of the Mnichovo Hradiště Castle
The first important owner was the leader of the Bohemian aristocratic and protestant opposition movement, Wenceslas Budovec of Budov. In 1606, he rebuilt his residence to a representative castle corresponding to his social status. After the defeat of the Bohemian Revolt in 1621, Budovec was executed and his property confiscated.
The confiscated chateau with the domain became the property of Albrecht of Wallenstein, who sold it to his cousin Maximillian of Wallenstein in 1627. The Wallenstein house owned the chateau until 1946, and Mnichovo Hradiště was for a long time the center of the whole Wallenstein domain. In the end of the 17th century, during the reign of Ernest Joseph Wallenstein, the renaissance chateau was rebuilt into its current baroque design by M. A. Canevallo and M. Raimondi.
In 1709–1710, the development of the chateau area finished by building additional facilities – stables, a riding school, and a sala terrena. Thus, a priceless set of the baroque architecture was created.
The beginnings of the construction works in the chateau area in Mnichovo Hradiště are linked to the colonization by the important Cistercian monastery in the nearby Hradiště nad Jizerou, established in 1145 by the mother monastery in Plasy, Western Bohemia.
The Rybitví hamlet, founded by the monastery in Hradiště, was located east of the current chateau; the remains of the walls of the church of Assumption of Our Lady were found in the place where now the monument of Wenceslas Budovec is standing, in the chateau park. Southeast of Rybitví, a town of Hradiště was established in the 13th century, later renamed to Mnichovo Hradiště. In the very beginning of the Hussite wars, on April 30, 1420, the monastery in Hradiště nad Jizerou was burned down by the Hussites moving to help Prague. It hasn’t been restored, and the property was seized by aristocrats nearby. Mnichovo Hradiště and its surroundings were first taken over by a Catholic lord John of Wartenberg, and in the 1430s by former Hussite commander John Čapek of Sány. As a pledged property, the domain of Mnichovo Hradiště often changed owners, and no spectacular residence was built here.
The older references to a late gothic fort are probably faulty. The renaissance chateau in the place of the current chateau area was built by Wenceslas Budovec. Its existence is proven by the memorial plate made of red marble, with the crests of Wenceslas Budovec and his wife Anna of Wartenberg, dated 1606.
The thorough research of the chateau has proven the existence of walls and vaults of the renaissance chateau not only in the dimension of the western wing of the current chateau building, but also in the western part of the main southern wing. It’s apparent that the renaissance building had one floor, with inhabited attic for servants, and a row of gables above the cornice. The southern wing of the renaissance building reached to the half of the current main wing of the chateau, and its strong eastern outer wall has partially preserved on the ground floor and first floor alike. There probably were arcades on the northern façade of this wing, as indicated by a newer report from 1676. The analysis of the building also indicated that the 2-wing renaissance building was built in two stages (it’s apparent by the independent location of the wings, and irregularities in their styles). There are large renaissance cellars under the western wing; their lower floor is dug into the rock. The ground floor, especially in the western wing, contains large renaissance vaults and several late renaissance bosted portals of very good quality. The two-wing building of the chateau itself, typical for minor aristocratic residences of the time, had large additional facilities – a yard, a winemaking cellar, and a brewery with malt plant “under the chateau”, and a fruit garden “across the bridge”.
In 1623, the confiscated domain with the chateau was bought by Albrecht of Wallenstein, the future general of imperial army and the Duke of Frýdlant. In 1627, he sold the domain to his cousin Maximillian of Wallenstein who kept the property even after the downfall and murder of Albrecht in the beginning of 1634. Maximillian expanded his property by acquiring numerous nearby territories and manors, and thus created a large North Bohemian domain, the central point of the economic power of the Wallensteins for further three centuries. The natural center of the domain was Mnichovo Hradiště. The Thirty Years War and multiple occupation of Northern Bohemia by Swedish troops probably ruled out the building activities at the chateau until the mid-17th century. At this time, the chateau probably wasn’t severely damaged, yet a few years later it burned down due to the carelessness of the servants. The extent of the fire is unknown but there are apparent traces of a large early Baroque reconstruction on the ground floor of the southern wing, in the kitchen and adjacent areas. Then a large reconstruction followed in the end of the 17th century.
In 1675, Charles Ferdinand of Wallenstein sold the domain of Mnichovo Hradiště “with the chateau and town” to his nephew, Ernest Joseph of Wallenstein, who kept the property until the mid-20th century. The last generations of the Wallensteins declared themselves Germans, and their property was fully confiscated in 1945.