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A fairy tale castle in Bohemia: Rosenberg

Updated: May 7, 2021

Rosenberg castle in South Bohemia sits on a hill overlooking a dainty village, with the ochre-coloured Vltava river twisting beneath. Picture-book idyllics! Last summer, when they briefly lifted the lockdown, we decided not to drive through, like we always do. Instead, we decided to paddle there and explore the castle.

As we paddled down the slow, meandering river, we passed through 3 weirs. The last one in Rosenberg nearly overset our boat, but we managed to balance it out. Just as we finished our trip, and I prided myself in not getting a drop of water on myself the entire day— I slipped on a rock and fell backwards into the river. I was drenched from head to toe! Luckily I’d brought along a second set of clothes which I'd stored in a plastic barrel. Then we hiked up the steep little path to Rosenberg castle.

This 13th cent castle is one of the oldest in Bohemia. It belonged to the Rozmberk family, who called themselves "Lords of the Rose".

The rooms are a mix between neo-gothic Tudor and Renaissance style.

There's a gallery of paintings, and a gorgeous Renaissance hall with a “music niche”.

Rosenberg Castle is the home of the white lady Perchta von Rosenberg, who still haunts the castle. There are many legends surrounding her. Her story is quite sad, because she was forced into marriage to Jan von Lichtenstein, a cruel and boorish man. In her private letters she writes that her husband abused her badly. Her husband cursed her on his death bed when she refused to forgive him. She led a life of suffering until she died in 1476, when she was 49. She appears as the White Lady, wearing a white dress with a set of keys and is said to be a kind, benevolent ghost.

This painting of Perchta is hanging in one of the gothic rooms. Legend says that she will be freed from her husband's curse when the secret signs and symbols on the painting are deciphered. Needless to say, she fascinates me. This white lady doesn't look scary at all, but pretty and rather sad.

Ah what a lovely trip that was, wet clothes and all! As difficult 2020 was in every respect, this was one of the golden highlights of the year. Can’t wait for next summer to repeat this excursion. Maybe next time we’ll paddle all the way to Prague?

© Sofi Laporte


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