Pearl of Slovácko
A bold and well preserved example of Baroque architecture, Milotice chateau and its gardens are nestled in the deep south east of the Moravian regions of the Czech lands.
Standing proud in the lush vineyards of the Slovácko region, Milotice provides a contrasting attraction to the folkloric traditions and wine tourism that the region puts front and centre for visitors. Yet, at the same time, the chateau is not incongruous in the broader picture given the number of noble families that once kept homes in the area.
The current Baroque face of the chateau dates to a reconstruction carried out in the early to mid 1700s, but there’s more than that to the history of this grand old home.
Let’s spend some time with Milotice Chateau:
From One Hand to Another
As it is with so many old homes of the nobility, the ownership of the chateau at Milotice changed a great deal in its history. The chateau was first built between the 14th and 16th centuries, but it would not be until 1648 that the first long term owners, the Serényi family, would take possession of it and make their mark upon it.
The Serényi tenure at the chateau saw the construction of the chateau gardens, which had been in planning before they took ownership, and an extensive reconstruction of the building from 1719 to 1743. Little has changed in the appearance of the chateau and gardens since the late 18th century and so Milotice has the distinction of being one of the best preserved examples of Baroque architecture and garden design in the Czech Republic.
The last male heir of the Serényi family died in 1811. The management of the chateau was overseen by his daughter and, in turn, grandaughter until 1888. It was then, through marriage, that the chateau came into the ownership of Seilern family. It would remain in their possession until it was seized by the state in 1945 after the end of World War Two.
The chateau has been open to public visitation since 1974.
A Look Inside
There is a single guided tour available of the chateau interiors at Milotice. The tour takes one through the representative halls of the chateau.
The tour and the interiors you will see on it show the chateau as it was in the early 20th century when occupied by the last Seilern count, Ladislav Seilern-Aspang, and his family.
What is presented on this tour is based on a very detailed account of life in the chateau at that time provided by the count’s eldest daughter, Marietta (1918-2008).
On the tour you will see the typical life of the old nobility as it was in the early 20th century; modern conveniences like electricity taking its place alongside the more historical noble trappings such as the collection of items from the Far East in the Oriental salon.
The tour will take you through the well appointed chateau library as well as the dance hall and game room among others. As it typical for tours at Czech chateaus and castles, most of the tours are offered in Czech and you can request a text transcript of the tour in English, German or possibly other languages to help you follow along. If you wish a tour in a language other than Czech, you will need to make a reservation through the chateau website.
A Walk Around the Grounds
The chateau at Milotice has impressive gardens to compliment the building itself.
The gardens at Milotice date to the mid 1600s and are comprised of an ornamental section with fountains and an avenue of trees as well as a supply garden off to one side for the growing of fruits and vegetables to feed the occupants of the chateau.
The gardens are French Baroque in style and include auxiliary buildings such as a pheasant house, hunting pavilion and an artificial Gothic ruin.
In the early 19th century, the gardens were partially converted to English style. However, these changes were restored to French style in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
If you want to see the chateau gardens in style and really look like you belong there, you can borrow a set of historic clothes and walk around the gardens in them for half and hour or so.
If you wish to wander around in historical clothes, you will need to reserve a time to do so in advance. There is an email address on the chateau website to make a reservation through. However, there is no guarantee of linguistic flexibility, so it is best if you have a command of Czech or can enlist the help of someone who does to make the reservation.
Paying a Visit and Learning More
As with most state chateaus and castles, Milotice is open to the public from mid April to the end of October every year.
It’s not the most easily accessible of chateaus and it’s best to use a car if you’re travelling to it from any significant distance away.
A good way to visit the chateau would be to spend a few days in the area and incorporate a visit to the chateau during that time.
For example, you could take lodgings in the nearby small city of Kyjov and travel to Milotice on one of the regional buses that make a stop at Milotice a number of times per day. The region also caters quite well to bicycle touring and the chateau is close enough to Kyjov that you could try renting a bicycle to get to the chateau.
This link will take you to the official website of the chateau where you can see what tours are on offer as well as photo galleries of the chateau and gardens: