Thursday, May 20, 2010

Czech Republic - Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape (1)

A view of Lednice Castle, a UNESCO WHS in Czech Republic.

Sent by Lucie from Louny in Czech Republic.

The Lednice-Valtice landscape is of outstanding universal value as an exceptional example of the designed landscape that evolved in the Enlightenment and afterwards under the care of a single family. It succeeds in bringing together in harmony cultural monuments from successive periods and both indigenous and exotic natural elements to create an outstanding work of human creativity.

The Liechtenstein family came first to Lednice in the mid-13th century, and by the end of the 14th century they had also acquired nearby Valtice. These were to become the nucleus of the family's extensive possessions. When Karel I of Liechtenstein was given the title of duke in the early 17th century he made Valtice his main residence and Lednice his summer seat. The two estates were later joined with the neighbouring Břeclav estate to form an organic whole, to serve the recreational requirements of the ducal family and as material evidence of its prestige. The realization of this grandiose design began in the 17th century with the creation of avenues connecting Valtice with other parts of the estate. It continued throughout the 18th century with the evolution of a framework of avenues and paths providing vistas and rides, imposing order on nature in the manner of the Renaissance artists and architects. The early years of the 19th century saw the application by Duke Jan Josef I of the English concept of the designed park, strongly influenced by the work of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown at Stowe and elsewhere in England. Enormous landscaping projects were undertaken under the supervision of his estate manager, Bernhard Petri; these included raising the level of the Lednice Park and digging a new channel for the Dvje River. Smaller parks on the English model, the so-called Englische Anlagen, were also created around the three large ponds.
The composition of the landscape is based on the two chateaux, Lednice and Valtice. The Chateau of Valtice has medieval foundations, but it underwent successive reconstructions in Renaissance, Mannerist and, most significantly, Baroque style. Its present Baroque appearance is due to several architects, notably Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach, Domenico Martinelli and Anton Johann Ospel. Along with the Baroque Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Maw, it is the dominant feature in the system of avenues created in the 17th and 18th centuries. By contrast, the Lednice chateau is not widely visible, the dominant role being taken by Hartmuth's exotic minaret, which is in keeping with the romantic ambience of Lednice. The chateau began as a Renaissance villa of around 1570, and then was progressively changed and reconstructed to take account of Baroque, classical and neo-Gothic fashions. It was the 1850 Gothic Revival reconstruction that brought it into harmony with the prevailing romanticism of this part of the landscape. Taking the landscape as a whole, it is the mingling and interplay of Baroque and Romantic elements that gives it a special character: architecture and landscape are intimately associated with one another. All the buildings are sited with great care at high points, as in the case of the Kolonada, the Rendezvous, Fishpond Manor or Pohansko, in the centre of major routes (the obelisk), or on a border or boundary (Hranicni Zamecek on the state boundary between Moravia and Lower Austria).
An important element in the appearance of the area is the very wide range of native and exotic tree species and the planting strategy adopted. The greatest variety is to be found in the parklands which cluster around the two main residences and along the banks of the fishponds between Lednice and Valtice, with in places a preponderance of exotic species. During his long tenure of the dukedom (1858-1929), Jan Josef II devoted himself to the improvement and maintenance of the landscape. He was an eager student of the works of great landscape architects such as J. H. Pöckler, P. J. Lenné and Gertrude Jekyll. The Pohanskó Manor is built on the site of an important hill fort of the Great Moravian period dating from the 8th century. The 2 km of massive ramparts enclosing an area of 28 ha are still visible. Excavations have revealed the court of the ruler, a church (the plan of which is preserved in situ ), several substantial houses and a rich burial ground. (Source)

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