Local authorities and private owners unite to promote Orlicke hory mountains

Orlicke hory, photo: Radio Praha

The Pardubice and the Hradec Kralove regions have always been great rivals. However now, the rivalry seems to have cooled, after representatives from both areas got together to create a joint campaign aimed at attracting tourists to the nearby Orlicke hory mountains.

Orlicke hory,  photo: Radio Praha
[:/ahref0:] Orlicke hory is an area about hundred and fifty kilometers north-east of Prague on the border with Poland. It is an area that has many attractions to offer: beautiful and undisturbed nature enables hiking, horseback riding, cycling, as well as skiing in winter. The cities in the region offer a wide range of museums and cultural events. For example: the oldest film festival in the Czech Republic. You can also visit many historic sites such as a chain of military fortifications from the 1930s, which are open to the public. The area of the Orlicke hory mountains also features various interesting castles.

Most of them are in private hands like the Empire-style castle in Kostelec nad Orlici. It was built at the beginning of the 19th century for the aristocratic Kinsky family. However, it suffered the same fate as most castles in the Czech Republic, which means it was confiscated by the communists after the Second World War and turned into state property. After the fall of communism in 1989, the state returned Kostelec nad Orlici to its original owners and that's how it came to Frantisek Kinsky. I asked him if he ever, during the many years of communism, fantasized about getting the castle back.

Castle in Kostelec nad Orlici,  photo: www.kostelec-nad-orlici.cz
[:/ahref1:] "Never, that is very simple. Now I have the feeling that I am responsible for this castle which has been owned by our family for generations. And I have to give it to my son in a better state than I have got it from my father. I have now not only the responsibility for myself but also for the family representation, so that people know that we are decent people."

The castle had fallen into disrepair under the former regime and Frantisek Kinsky has been at work handling reconstruction and rebuilding ever since he got the property back. Not surprisingly his dedication has been appreciated by both neighbors and local authorities.

" Cooperation with my neighbors, that means other castle owners in the region is very close. Because we are not only friend, but often relatives, so we share our knowledge. And concerning the local authorities - our buildings and castles are parts of the villages and cities, so we must cooperate with local authorities very closely. For example I am good friends with the mayor of Kostelec and we plan various activities closely together."

To contribute to tourism in this beautiful region, Frantisek Kinsky would like to turn his castle into a vivid cultural center with a theatre and concert hall. Although reconstruction costs him a lot of money and is the source of many headaches, he probably wouldn't have it any other way.

"How to put this, it is .., it's fun."