A real, unadulterated leather bag, not very well preserved, full of gold coins from years that are unimaginably distant for us? Such happiness met one August day in the summer of 1877, the son of a gravedigger named Libor Lebr. A romantic place on the banks of the Berounka suddenly became our private Czech Klondik and revived crowds of "gold diggers". So the probability that you would still find a golden treasure today is not very high, but you can discover an equally valuable treasure in the form of a quiet corner and beautiful nature with the dominant feature of Nižbor Castle.
But the "gold diggers" - or rather sensational hunters along with their counterparts, serious scientists - were far from the only ones attracted to the place. Due to its convenient location, the ancient Celts chose it as their fortified seat. After the German Basin was gradually seized by the Germanic tribe of the Marcomanni, according to some authors, even the legendary King Marobud chose this place as the seat. Many ideas later, King Přemysl Otakar II got a similar idea as the Celts, namely that the place was made for a seat. and founded an impressive castle on a rock above Berounka. Today's face was imprinted on him by the Baroque reconstruction in the 18th century. The village, initially called Nová Huť, was founded about three centuries later and grew successfully. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a glassworks was established on the banks of the Berounka, where statues of the Czech Lion are also produced.
Today we have different criteria than our ancestors, we are not looking for impregnable and hard to reach places, but the popularity of Nižbor and its surroundings is evidenced by the number of cottages and beautifully renovated old cottages, which allow vacationers at least a weekend and holiday escape from the hectic life of the city. The Celtic Information Center has been established in the chateau itself for several years, which has become a center not only of a culture long since extinct, but also of the Celts newly awakening. So let's go for a walk together in places where the heroes of pagan myths and fairies, elves and sorcerers of children's fairy tales come to life ...
This unusual exhibition will definitely captivate all your senses and at least at the first moment you will get the feeling that you have moved on in time. Scenes and symbols projected on the walls, along with captivating music, evoke an atmosphere in which you can enjoy the details of Celtic life. For information, use the touch screens to scroll through and scroll through the links. The controls are intuitive, if you don't have a problem using a computer mouse, you certainly won't have a problem using a forefinger instead of a mouse.
The Celtic exhibition occupies a corridor and three rooms and is divided into four thematic units. In the corridor you will find aerial photographs and information about our oppids, three of which (Stradonice, Závist u Zbraslavi and Hrazany) are located close to each other, west of Prague. In the corridor, the corner where the man's skeleton lies next to him and next to him a figure for comparison of what the deceased probably looked like will certainly not go unnoticed. Another corner is styled as a Celtic dwelling.
In the first room, you can click on the multimedia screen with an introductory talk about the Celts, their tribes and the places where they lived. Maps on the walls show the development and movement of the Celtic people in Europe.
The next room is probably the most impressive and you will taste Celtic philosophy and religion here. You can find details on the ubiquitous screen, but don't rush. Stand for a while and let the captivating music work on you together with the alternation (transformation) of the projected images with the central motif of fire. Do you feel Celtic roots in yourself?
The third and last room provides information about the daily life of the Celts. You will learn details about their craftsmanship, as well as how they mined and processed raw materials, how they lived and what they ate. Also interesting is the information about archaeological research, which also includes projects that reconstruct the life of our ancestors, housing and crafts.
As the castle is still being gradually repaired, only a part of the space completely occupied by the Celtic exposition is accessible. The only exception is the Chapel of the Rise of the Holy Cross, which is open only on Sunday afternoons, when Masses are held here.
Celtic blood is said to be circulating in the veins of a few today, but some Celtic spiritual traditions survive to this day. What were the Celts like? They were a people full of humility against the forces of nature, living in harmony with nature and with an imagination that knew no boundaries. Most of the fairy tale characters, which obscure and frighten our children, have their roots in rich Celtic mythology. The Celts, more precisely the Boi tribe, inhabited our territory for about five centuries from 500 BC (however, some researchers consider them to be direct successors of the Hallstatt culture - in which case we have to add some more centuries). They were skilled craftsmen, successful merchants and very educated people for their time. They were able to use a potter's wheel, mined metal and made weapons and other elaborate items from it, minted their own coins, traded with other nations.
Their mythology has not been eradicated even by many centuries of Christian domination, although Christians have worked hard to do so. The characters of pagan supernatural beings persist in fairy tales, and the two largest Celtic holidays are celebrated in an altered form to this day. It is a Celtic "welcome to spring", the so-called Beltine Feast. Today we celebrate her as the "Witch." The second holiday, the so-called Samain, is today commemorated as the feast of All Saints (Halloween). He is not so positive probably because he is celebrated in the fall. On this last October evening, the fires were extinguished and the night came when the dead could return to the living world for a while. No wonder living people felt anxious and afraid, preferring to wait behind closed shutters for the haunted night away. The next morning, the fires were lit and the Celtic New Year began.
The Celtic priests (called druids) enjoyed great respect among the people. He is not a priest in the form we know today, the druids were rather very wise and experienced people who were well versed not only in religion but also in healing and understood the language of nature.
The Celts built a fortified settlement, the so-called oppida. These were fortified cities with an area of many tens of hectares. The most famous oppida in our country are Nižbor - Stradonice, Závist u Zbraslavi and Přerov nad Labem.
Around the turn of the century, they were expelled and subjugated by the Germans, a much less developed nation, but militant for it.
Nižbor Castle has been towering over Berounka since the second half of the thirteenth century. It was probably founded by Přemysl Otakar II. (the first mention of it appears in 1265), but it is possible that it was already his father, a passionate hunter Wenceslas I. His original name was Miesenburg, in Czech "Hrad nad Mží". Today, the river is known as Berounka and the castle as Nižbor, which is a distortion of the original name. The castle served as the hunting seat of the Czech monarchs and was probably also the administrative center of the region before the founding of Karlštejn. Due to its position on a rock above the river and the massive fortifications, it was very well protected. Nevertheless, in 1425 it was conquered by Hussite troops.
After 1601, the castle was sold from the direct property of the monarch and the new owners (from the Šanovc family) rebuilt it in the Renaissance style. The castle, now actually a chateau, changed owners again during the persecution of many Czech lords after the Battle of Bílá Hora, and eventually the Wallenstein family acquired it with the adjacent estate. In the quarter of the 18th century, the last reconstruction took place, this time Baroque, and we know the chateau in this form to this day. The Fürstenberg family later became its owner. West of the castle you will find their family tomb and the monument to Karel Egon Fürstenberg.
During the socialist era, the castle was largely deserted and was saved in a very devastated state in the 1990s. The reconstruction is not yet complete, but you can judge the partial results yourself. The already renovated premises are housed in the Celtic Culture Information Center, which offers an interesting and uniquely designed exhibition.
The history of Nižbor is quite interesting, because the village did not originate as a village in the castle grounds, as is typical for towns and villages under castles. It is also much newer than the castle. The basis of the village became an iron smelter, which was founded here in the first half of the 16th century by the owners of the castle, the lords of Losů. So not quite "owners", the castle was not sold to them, it was only stopped by the monarch. The village grew successfully and existed under the name Nová Huť pod Nižborem until 1946, when it was renamed Nižbor.
The smelter ceased to exist in the second half of the 19th century, which deprived Nižbor of job opportunities and part of the population had to move for work. Fortunately, even before the end of the 19th century, Nižbor became popular with its beautiful nature, tranquility, river and proximity to Prague and was an increasingly popular recreational center. Praguers liked to come here to a "summer apartment", buy cottages, rent rooms and later build cottages. The village came to life and prospered and its popularity continues to this day. It even increased even more with the creation of an educational water trail on the Berounka and the reconstruction of the chateau.
The year 1903 is an important milestone in the history of the village, because at that time a glassworks was established here. Its founder, Antonín Rückl, was a member of the well-known glass family. He built several glassworks in our country, but in 1945 his large and prosperous companies were nationalized. Back in the hands of the owners, respectively. The glassworks did not receive their descendants until 1992. In addition to useful decorative objects, such as cut glasses, bowls, etc., the glassworks also produces relatively famous sports trophies and cups. Their creations include, for example, the statuette of the Czech Lion or the Cup of the President of the Republic Award.
The glassworks offers the possibility of group and individual guided tours. During the tour, which lasts less than an hour, visitors will see all stages of the production of crystal objects, as well as a demonstration of handmade work. One of the shops of manufactured items is also directly in the area of the glassworks, so visitors can also take home a souvenir. There is also the possibility of refreshments.
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