You will find us in the heart of the Czech Republic, 100 km from Prague near Kutná Hora, on the edge of a small village called Hostačov. The best way to get here is by car, to Hostačov or Skryje, which can be easily found by your GPS. From there it is better to follow the chateau signs along the road that will take you directly to the chateau.
The chateau owner, Vojta Haša, tells the story of the chateau from the first mention to the plans for the future. You will find out who protected the chateau from the socialist government and why his family decided to save the chateau from falling .
The first 600 years of history were golden times in terms of building the chateau. The chateau was established in 1297 as a defensive fortress, built on an important trade route to the Abbey of Vilémov.
In the 16th century, Heřman Bohdaneč of Hodkov turned it into a Renaissance castle. After the Thirty Years’ War, the castle was occupied by Maxmilián Goltz, whose name is borne by nearby Golčův Jeníkov. The premises were further developed by Baron Neupaurer, who had a track laid to Hostačov in 1846 and who built the neighbouring sugar factory.
With the onset of socialism, clouds began to gather over the chateau. The chateau was nationalized and incorporated under the management of the neighbouring sugar factory (currently a paper mill). The chateau management did not show much interest in the chateau, so it was rebuilt into flats for the employees’ families. Without maintenance, it began to decay, and the tenants started to complain about the unsustainable condition.
In order to preserve the reputation of socialist housing, the regime chose to demolish the chateau. The 1967 expert opinion stated that the chateau was not historically or culturally significant.
It is perhaps a miracle that one of the people who moved into the chateau was Baron Horák, who was deprived of his chateau in the Bohemian Highlands by the regime. He decided to resist and, in the hopeless atmosphere of the normalization, he achieved an astonishing feat. He documented the historic value of the chateau with his camera and, using this material, he managed to persuade the authorities to declare the chateau a cultural monument.
Although he managed to save the chateau from demolition, it was far from victory. The communist regime did not want to invest a penny in the chateau, leaving it in a desolate and almost uninhabitable condition in 1989. The only inhabitants that remained at the chateau were old Baroness Horáková and one Roma family.
The situation after the revolution seemed promising at first: the chateau was renovated, and the state operated a recovery centre for the ill. The original spirit of the place was gone, but the building was used and managed. Unfortunately not for a long time.
Officials very quickly calculated that the operation of the facility did not pay off, and the centre was cancelled. The Hostačov chateau was left at the mercy of time. It stood empty, waiting among hundreds of similar buildings to see if anyone would find it worthwhile to venture into its rescue.
The year 2007 marks the beginning of the Haša family’s chateau story. The family bought the chateau and began its extensive renovation. Three years later, Chateau Hostačov opened its doors to its first guests.
We believe that, in more than ten years of renovation and hard work, we succeeded in bringing the chateau to its original beauty. This goal became a lifelong commitment for us a long time ago, and we are extremely proud that our guests appreciate these efforts. When we see people enjoying themselves at the chateau and when we recall how sad the place was, it makes us very happy. Hostačov lives again!
Although our family has resided in a small village in Moravia since early Middle Ages, my parents decided to leave the country in the 1980s and, despite many obstacles, go to Australia. Like most Czechs in exile, they were proud of Czech culture and tried to preserve their Czech roots for us on the other side of the planet.
Yet, after the revolution, they decided to remain abroad. We were settled in Australia, and my parents did not want me to get used to a new environment and language again. My siblings and I grew up as Australians with Czech roots. But when my parents had the opportunity to buy the deserted chateau, and to at least symbolically return to their broken roots, they did not hesitate.