Castles to open at night

Special programs will take place at over 80 locations

Castles, chateaus and monasteries in the Czech Republic will open their doors to visitors Aug. 26 at an unusual time for the eighth edition of Castle and Chateau Night (Hradozámecká noc).

The magical atmosphere of the night will be brightened by the decorative lights or other special touches, and guests will have a special opportunity to see the places full of stories and mysteries.

The night will bring people back through centuries. Some castles will provide free entrance, and others will charge admission but have special events.

An accompanying program will be awaiting all who come. Theater and musical performances, excursions, knights and fairytale characters are just a small part of what Castle and Chateau Night promises this year. Many of the programs require some knowledge of Czech language, but others are very visual or musical.

Some 80 venues are participating across the country, and the main venue this year is the chateau in Náměšti nad Oslavou in the Vysočina region. There will be Renaissance floral designs, and the Bible of Kralice, an important historical manuscript, will be on display. Some normally inaccessible areas will be open and people can see old-fashioned printing being done. There will be a carousel for children and a concert of early Baroque music. The evening will end with fireworks.

Prague will have four participating venues and the Central Bohemia region has 18 including Karlštejn, which will show the Czech film Night at Karlštejn plus have musical performances, jugglers and fireworks.

Prague will open the doors to some gardens at Prague Castle, Chvalý Chateau, Castle Slovanka and Wallenstein Palace and Garden.

Chvaly Chateau (Chvalský zámek) used to be the Gothic fortress in the 15th century, and now it is the cultural center of the Horní Počernice area. Visitors can experience the atmosphere from 6 pm to 10 pm and also enjoy a theater performance in Czech about the Canterville Ghost from 7 pm. The price of an unguided tour is Kč 90 for adults and Kč 60 for children, students and seniors. The play alone is Kč 100, but can be combined with the tour at a discount. Guided tours in Czech by a mysterious valet are also available and can also be combined with the play.

Wallenstein Palace and Garden (Valdštejnský palác and Valdštejnská zahrada) will be open from 6 pm to 10 pm and will provide musical performances, art installations, exhibitions, lectures and tours. There will be a concert of classical and film music from 6 pm. Visitors can see a new exhibit about Duke Albrecht of Wallenstein. The palace, which is home to the Senate, can be toured individually or with a guide in Czech. The entrance is free.

A bit of an unknown site in Prague is Castle Slovanka (zámek Slovanka), in Prague 5–Hlubočepy. You will have a chance to visit from 6 pm to 2 pm. This in Baroque style chateau was built in 1726. It will have unusual candle lighting and a musical concert, plus an exhibition of weapons and film props. Beer from Černá Hora brewery will be available. The entrance is free, but you can make a voluntary donation.

The Palace Gardens of Prague Castle (Zahrady pod Pražským hradem) will welcome visitors with romantic lighting and a program of events, but details are a bit vague. The entrance is Kč 100 and Kč 70 with a student or senior discount.

The evening is organized by the National Heritage Institute of Czech Republic (NPÚ). Castle and Chateau Night has taken place every August since 2010.

The list of all the cultural objects participating in the event this year can be found at: www.npu.cz (CZ)

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