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Brewery Garden in Český Krumlov

This garden is situated on the left bank of the Vltava river in a town quarter called Latrán near the Brewery Eggenberg ( Latrán No. 27). It has the layout of an irregular rectangle, its length is 200 m and its width is 75 m. Its walls on the north side form a border with Pivovarská street. Near the former gardener's house the border leads to the south along the courtyard facades of the citizen houses. The walls on the west side made a border with Na frontě street. The south part of the garden is formed by a bow of the town walls leading to the brewery buildings that close the garden also on its shortest east side.

Český Krumlov, Brewery Gardens, aerial view

Except for the enclosing walls and the entrance gate from Pivovarská street, the gardener's house, artificial cave (grotta) and remains of the green houses, orangery and fig house by the north wall are also situated in the garden. Originally the garden was called "the New Town lower garden", today it is known under the name "Brewery Garden".

The beginnings of the garden fo back to the middle of the 16th century. Jošt III von Rosenberg's widow Anna von Rosenberg neé von Rongendorf, who was looking for a widow's residence, bought a house together with a garden in Nové Město in 1547. Later she bought another house and also four citizens' gardens, so the garden increased to its present area (about 1.04 hectares), but we do not have any records of its appearance during Anna's life (she died in 1562).

Under her sons Wilhelm and Peter Wok von Rosenberg the Nové Město garden was developed. The archives sources of that time tell us much more - for example in 1597 the construction of an aviary (foglhauz) is mentioned.

A feudal land and duties register of the Český Krumlov estates from 1600 specified the garden as "a lovely garden". Orange-trees, lemon-trees, fig-trees and many other fruit trees were planted there. Also trout and other fish were bred in three ponds in the garden. A stone water reservoir was built in the centre of the garden. A gardener's house and two summerhouses (lusthauz) also formed parts of the garden.

Depiction of peach from Mattioli´s book of herbs, year 1562 In 1601 the Český Krumlov estates were passed over to emperor Rudolf II von Habsburg, and a year later a register of all trees and flowers planted in the garden was written. In addition to the list of the kinds of trees and flowers, the register contains details of an internal articulation of the garden area into five parts, the boskets ("enclosures"), respectively, and a green house. Their detailed description is a unique historical source that tells us also about the great attention paid by the last Rosenbergs to this garden.

The above mentioned trees, laurels, quince-trees, cypresses, roses and other plants were planted in the garden. In the front garden, lined with box hedgerows, medlars, cherry-trees, peach-trees, plum-trees and also herbs such as balm, sage, mint, lavender and many flowers were planted.

The other enclosure was also planted with similar fruit-trees and flowers. A maze of the box hedgerows with fruit-trees and flowers was planted in the third enclosure.

Fruit trees such as plum-tree, greengage-tree, sour cherry tree and cherry tree, flowers and herbs as well as various kinds of vegetables were planted in the fourth enclosure.

Another part of the garden was the aviary with hazel hens, turtle-doves, blackbirds, fieldfares and many other birds. Around the aviary roses as well as currants, cabbage and strawberries were planted. A fountain with trout was situated near this aviary.

The fifth enclosure was meant to be a kitchen garden to plant vegetables there. Also fruit trees were there.

As we can read in the register the garden had some idea of composition and it had some characters of a Renaissance garden such as boskets lined with box hedgerows, the maze, the aviary and the water reservoir. Nevertheless, the Český Krumlov garden did not reach that formal sophistication of the Prague Royal garden and many other famous Renaissance gardens in Bohemia. Perhaps it was because the irregular plan of the garden that made it more difficult to create regular geometrical compositions of the garden that are specific for gardens of the time.

Český Krumlov, Brewery Gardens, view from the Vltava River

During the following period probably nobody cared for the garden because the very next year a new gardener, Medard Vobr, reported to the imperial chamber that the garden was getting wild.

A report dated 1613 cast doubt upon the planting of some trees (the grapes do not become ripe, pomegranate trees do not bear fruit, etc.). The garden was used at that time for planting vegetables for the castle kitchen.

In 1622 the Český Krumlov estates were passed over to Johann Ulrich von Eggenberg. After a very unstable period of the Thirty Years War that did not leave any evidence of the Nové Město garden, another source is dated 1654 when a gardener Matyáš Lndl made a list of all planted trees and flowers. Except those planted in the 16th century quite commonly the list contains plants such as geranium, clematis, crocus, tulips, and daffodils. From useful plants, particularly grapes and corn were mentioned. Also hibiscus, myrrh, passion-flower and aloe were preserved in the green house.

The artificial cave (grotta) situated on the south slope was probably built in 1668. It is a simple construction with a niche decorated with artificial stalactite decoration. A stone head of a Moor is placed in the niche.

An enclosure wall along the Vltava river was damaged a lot at the beginning of the 18th century - reports of those times tell us about recurring floods of the Nové Město garden, at those times called "the Nové Město lower garden" unlike the upper garden - today's Castle Gardens in Český Krumlov, founded in 1678.

When the Schwarzenbergs came to Český Krumlov in 1719, the Nové Město garden, called also kitchen garden, was losing its importance. This was not just because of the distance from the castle but especially because of its proximity to the royal brewery. Some parts of the garden were given to the court officers as tied gardens.

In spite of this the garden equipment was still kept, the old fig-house was reconstructed as well as one summerhouse, and a new green-house was built to plant subtropical plants. In 1748 a hotbed was built in the garden and two years later a green-house to plant pineapple. At the same time the green-houses and hotbeds were built also in the upper kitchen garden Na plášti (today's castle Supply Gardens) - these two gardens supported the court with fruits, vegetables and flowers.

It is evident from the design dated in 1780 that only a quarter of the former garden, gardener's house, hotbed, green-house, fig-house, orangery and nursery remained in use of the Schwarzenbergs.

We also have some reports from the middle of the 19th century about the reconstruction of the fig-house that was used to keep the plants planted in the flower-pots during winter period there.

The greenhouses were closed down in 1870 for economical reasons and the lands of the former royal garden were rented as gardens to the citizens. It stayed like that until the beginning of the 1990's. Now the garden is in the ownership of the Eggenberg brewery and is not open to the public.

(jo)

Further information:
Archaeological Research in the Brewery Garden