Blatná ( [ˈblatnaː]; German: Blatna) is a small town in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic, with a water castle in the center of an artificial lake and a landscape garden around it. It lies in a pleasant rolling countryside with a mosaic of fields, meadows and hundreds of ponds and nearly no industry.
Blatná is also the seat of the Municipality with Extended Competence and Municipality with Commissioned Local Authority within the same borders.
Although the area has been inhabited since the 6th century, the first written record of Blatná dates back to 1235, when probably just a wooden fortress built on a rocky piece of land in the middle of a marshland (blata in old Czech, hence the name Blatná - A Marshy Place) existed. Not much is known about the castle until the second half of the 13th century, when it becomes the property of the house of Bavorové of Strakonice. There exists a legend that in those times the fortress was a seat of the Templars who are said to have hidden a treasure somewhere in the castle. The only remaining construction from this period are the foundations of a Romanesque chapel.
From 1391 the castle and then already existing town belonged to the house of Lvové (i.e. Lions) of Rožmitál. Under the new masters the fortress was for the first time rebuilt in stone (the oldest parts being the tower and Rožmitálský Palace) and the surrounding marshes were changed into wide water trenches, thus giving the castle the looks of "A swan sitting in a lake". Their long rule marks the golden age of this place. Lvové were continuously rebuilding and enlarging the castle, first with the so-called Old Palace, standing separatedly over the remnants of the Romanesque Chapel. In 1523–1530, under the guidance of renowned royal builder Benedikt Ried of Piesting (or Benedikt Rejt of Pístov), a new palace in a mixed Gothic-Renaissance style was appended (it is named after Rejt these days).
In the second half of the 17th century, the castle was owned by the house of Šternberkové for a short time until it was bought by the Polish house of Rozdražovští of Rozdražov in 1579 who had a new Renaissance palace built. During their rule, the castle and town were looted. The Baroque period is marked by the Hungarian house of Serényi who had the castle rebuilt (namely after the big fire in 1763) and also erected many statues in the town and its surroundings. They also completely rebuilt the church in Paštiky.
Since 1798, the castle has belonged to the Tyrolian house by origin of Hildprandtové of Ottenhausen, except the period of communist dictatorship (1948–1989) when it was confiscated by the state. In 1850–1856 the castle received its last rebuilt, in English Gothic style, which gave it its contemporary looks.
The castle is now being restored with most of the works finished. It is still open for tourists, together with the magnificent landscape garden.
The settlement around the castle was promoted to a little town (městečko in Czech) probably around 1300. In 1601 it gained a full town status. The town burned down completely on 1834-09-13 - 118 houses, the town hall and the bell tower were destroyed and therefore most buildings in the town come from after that event.13th century legends: Templars or Johannites
13th century – 1391: Bavorové of Strakonice
1391–1541: Lvové z Rožmitálu
1541–1579: Rozdražovští z Rozdražova
1579–1695: the house of Serényi
1798–1948: Hildprandts of Ottenhausen
1989 – today: Hildprandts of Ottenhausen
The town lies on the small river of Lomnice in a gently rolling area built of granite rocks, thus the soils are not very fertile. There are many granite quarries (for gravel and construction stones), some closed ones are now flooded and are they very scenic places. In past there were many marshes making the countryside even less hospitable. Since the Middle Ages, however, people have been transforming the land by building plethora of small to large lakes which now grace the area. The largest artificial lake is Labuť (i.e. Swan) at 108.5 ha (268.1 acre) some 5 km to the north-east of the town.
Blatna enjoys an inland version of temperate Oceanic climate (Cfb) with rather balanced temperatures year round. Precipitations are vastly in form of rain, totalling 691 mm. There are four pronounced seasons with notably cold, dry, and murky winter season, contrasting with much sunnier and wetter warm seasons. Average round the clock temperatures in July stays on +17.2 °C and January mean temperatures stays on −2.5 °C. The whole year average is 7.7 °C (45.9 °F).
The castle is undoubtedly the town's greatest attraction. It is built on a rock surrounded by a moat (i. e. artificial water trench), which looks rather like a lake. The castle is narrow, U-shaped, with a tower in front to which the palaces from various periods attach. It opens to a large landscaped garden. Most of the castle has been recently reconstructed and it is open to the public in the tourist season (April–October).Romanesque Chapel - the oldest part of the castle dating back to the 13th century, it is preserved only as a part of the wall with two arches in the western part of the courtyard.
Tower - the tower dominates the castle and it is the main entrance to it from the East. Its square shape with an overlapping half-timbered top became the symbol of the town. At the beginning of the 16th century the famous Green Chamber (Zelená světnice) was created on the first floor. The walls of this room are covered in murals depicting various religious and secular themes. The prevailing color of the paintings gave the room its name. All around the room are coats of arms of major Czech houses dominated by a large one of the house of the masters on the castle of that time, the Lords of Lvové of Rožmitál.
Rožmitálský Palace − built at the same time as the tower, it connects to it from the southwest. On the first floor is the castle Chapel of Blessed Virgin Mary, whose Gothic presbytery protrudes from the body of the palace on the south side.
Old Palace - from around the half of the 15th century is erected over the former Romanesque chapel. It's built in a late Gothic style, but its large windows already mark the coming of the Renaissance style. Originally, it stood separately to the north from the previous two parts.
Rejt's Palace - is a unique combination of a late Gothic and the upcoming Renaissance style. It was built during the rule of Zdeněk Lev of Rožmitál, an important diplomat at the court of the Czech king Vladislav Jagellonský. It has large windows, richly decorated façade and a structured roof with wooden-tile ceilings.
Rozdražovský (or Serényi) Palace - built first in the Renaissance style and rebuilt later in the Baroque style, it closed the body of the castle by connecting the Old Palace (through a lower utility building) with the rest of the castle buildings.
It spreads next to the castle on an area of 42 hectares (100 acres). The park was created as an English landscape garden at the beginning of the 19th century by František Hildprandt. Its part close to the castle surrounds a large meadow with very old solitary oak trees. Beyond the meadow are preserved old woods with alleys, swamps, streams with footbridges over them, artificial caves, remnants after placer mining and an Empire-style summer house. A herd of tame fallow deer freely roams the park, which is open to the public year round.
The Church of the Assumption of Mary lies next to the castle, at the end of the main square. It was founded around 1290 as a two-aisled building with a long presbytery, and small adytum on the north side. It gained its present looks in 1515 when a rebuilt was finished. It is surprisingly large for even then a rather small town, with its length of 37 metres (121 ft) and height of 16 metres (52 ft).
The Bell Tower (Zvonice in Czech) in its present location was first built in 1723 when a 44-metre (144 ft) tower was erected. It was destroyed with most of the town in the big fire of 1834 but was soon built again, at 52 metres (171 ft) of height.
A very large building from 1902–1904 which carries the name of J. A. Commenius. (J. A. Komenský in Czech), built by Karel Fiala, an architect who participated in the reconstruction of the Prague Castle.
A unique Baroque Church of St. John the Baptist towering over Blatná some 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the north. It stands on a place of an older parish church from the 14th century. It was completely rebuilt by renowned architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer between 1747–1752, on the order of countess Serényi. The church is a single-aisled building ended in a rectangular presbytery with richly decorated cornices in a Rococo style. The carvings inside are by Ferdinand Ublacker, the paintings are by J. V. Spitzer. It is currently undergoing a reconstruction. Next to the church is a cemetery with a Mortuary Chapel under which is the family crypt of the house of the Hildprandts.Karel Strakatý - operatic bass, first interpreter of the Czech national anthem
Jan Hála – painter
Blatná is twinned with: Važec, Slovakia
Vacha, Germany, from 1993
Sargé-lès-le-Mans, France, from 2004
Roggwil, Switzerland, from 1993