HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE OF KRAVARE CHÂTEAUX
History of a châteaux in Kravare
How did it all happened? Kravare, the centre of a small aristocracy in the west part of Hlucinsko first documented in 1224 and its keep built in 1377. Owned by the powerful aristocracy of Benesovic whose possessions included many other domains in Moravia. This dynasty left their own aristocratic epithet as ‘the Messieurs of Kravare’. They were so important to the history of Kravare that their family coat of arms (an infolded dart) continues to be Kravare’s town symbol.
The first detailed description of the knightly chateaux is dated 1632 authored by the then new owner Michal Sendivoj of Skorsko. He was a junior Polish aristocrat and alchemist at the court of Emperor Rudolf II and was gifted the confiscate aristocracy of Kravare due to his close contacts with the imperial court.. His daughter and heir, Marie Veronika, married a member of Branibor’s aristocracy, Jakub of Eichendorff. This marriage marked the commencement of another important period of the Kravare region, in particular its mansion. A rich aristocracy required a grander more luxurious space and therefore Jan Rudolf Eichendorff renovated this châteaux in high baroque style during the years 1721 to 1728. The Eichendorff’s owned the domain till 1782 when, due to their financial debts, they had to sell it to Count Schaffgotsch who died in 1815. From then onwards there were many further owners of the chateaux.
After joining Hlucinsko to Czechoslovakia in 1920, the government purchased the châteaux and set up a housewifely and economic school. An accidental fire was a drastic attack on the architecture of this châteaux, and happened as a result of carelessness on the 21st of January 1937. It gutted the entirety of the interior, including the roof and ceilings which were decorated by fresco paintings and stucco, and caused the indoor wooden staircase to collapse. A temporary roof was in place throughout the war and the reconstruction of the roof was gradual throughout the second half of the 20th century. Repairs were completed in May 1970 in time for the opening of a military and political exhibition of Ostrava’s operation, which lasted till 1989. At the end of 1990 the upkeep of the building and park became the responsibility of the town Kravare and a cultural and community centre was formed here.
he architecture of the châteaux
The current image of Kravare’s châteaux is influenced by the high baroque style of the 1721-28 renovation. The designer remains unknown , but due to the high quality design of this building we can presume he was an experienced architect from the Vienna court influenced by Fisher from Erlach or Johann Lukas von Hildebrant. The builder Georg Gabriel Gans from Krnov reconstructed this châteaux. The result of his work was a four-winged building with a lower basement and an inner rectangular courtyard with a nave arcade. The châteaux was deliberately positioned on a direct axis, in which are placed the two dominant buildings - a middle buttress in the front wing and an oval buttress in the park’s façade, creating a chapel consecrated to the archangel Michael. On the right and left side of the chapel rise two quadrilateral stars at equal height and a lantern, hiding a spiral staircase. Finished in 1730, the chapel was saved from the accidental fire and thus we can still admire it’s rich decoration today. An illusional ceiling fresco depicts the Assumption of Virgin Mary with many saints and an allegorical scene of four continents is a piece by well known artist F.R.I. Eckstein who is famous for many baroque wall paintings across the Moravian and Silesia region. The alter decoration includes a Hebrew inscription JAHVE in God’s eye above the picture ‘Fall of the Angels’ which was produced by the sculptor Jan Jiri Lehner from Opava.
Some of the most recent building repairs were undertaken by the Countess Eufemie Renardova, born Rudzinska of Rudno (Poland), who owned the domain of Kravare’s from 1844-53. The Countess commissioned construction of a mansard roof above the front buttress, a library and châteaux’s hall decorated with mosaics tiles. On one of them are pictured the crests of the Renards and the Rudzinskys. which are situated on the upper landing of the châteaux staircase.