A raven pecking the eyes from a Turk's head (the grisly crest of the Schwarzenberg family) may be a recurrent decorative motif at Hluboká Chateau, but the image is at odds with the building's overt romanticism. The 'English Tudor' face it wears today was modelled on Britain's Windsor Castle, and while its neo-Gothic froth of extravagance may be considered a tad over the top it remains the second-most visited castle in Bohemia after Karlstejn, and with good reason.
Built by Přemysl rulers in the 13th century, it changed hands several times until it landed in Schwarzenberg hands in the 17th century; they gave the castle its English Tudor makeover in 1871, adding turrets, towers, crenellations and sumptuous wood-panelled interiors.
The main one-hour English-language Tour 1 (called ‘Representation Rooms’ on the website) focuses on the Schwarzenberg family's ornate reception rooms, including the grandiose dining room and library, and the private apartments of Duchess Eleonora. Tour 2 is a shorter winter itinerary, while Tours 3 and 4 explore more suites of apartments and the castle's massive kitchen respectively. There is separate admission to the castle tower. Tours in Czech are 100Kč cheaper.
The chateau's extensive landscaped gardens are open daily year-round, free of charge.
An annual music festival (www.sinfonie.cz) is held in the chateau grounds in late summer. Performances range from Czech folk to jazz and chamber music.