December 1996: Lednice-Valtice Area wins place on UNESCO list

Valtice chateau

December 7 will mark exactly 25 years since the Lednice-Valtice Area in South Moravia has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Lednice-Valtice Area, located in close proximity to the Pálava Nature Reserve, is the largest artificially created landscape in Europe. It was created by the Liechtenstein family on their Moravian domain in the 18th and 19th centuries and dozens of monuments spread around the landscape, fashioned in the Romantic and Classical styles.

Lednice minaret | Photo: Dage - Looking For Europe,  Flickr,  CC BY 2.0

Among the best-known are the Lednice and Valtice castles and the only Czech minarets, built at the turn of the 19th century. Other sights include an Empire-style pavilion with the statues of the Three Graces – Athena, Artemis and Aphrodite – and the classical Reistna Collonade, located just a few kilometres from the Austrian border.

With its picturesque, romantic spots along the bends of the river Dyje, the floodplain forests and ponds, the landscape is ideal for cycling and boat trips.

The history of the area dates back to the 12th century, when the Seefeld family laid the foundations of the castle around which the town of Valtice was built. The origins of Lednice Castle date back to the 13th century, though its current neo-Gothic appearance comes from the 19th century.

Lednice chateau | Photo: Josef Šmejkal,  Czech Radio