The last refuge of the great lover.
Duchcov is a castle of family of Waldstein. It is situated on the place of Gothic fortress, which was rebuilt in the Renaissance. The castle is located in the heart of the eponymous town. Everything is clear about the town. I do not want to describe it. It will be enough to show one photo. Look, everything is usual. Town Hall, plague pillar and a fountain. The whole excursion will take about “drinking slowly one bottle of Borjomi”.
In general, sometimes you find yourself in a strange situation when you travelling through the Czech Republic and taking pictures. Looking at the photos you actually do not understand what town is shown on each photo. All towns are the same. I used to think that only modern towns without a long history look the same. It turned out that the Baroque and Gothic buildings gathering all together turn into the same mass as multistoried buildings of Khrushchev houses.
But the castles are another pair of shoes. Yeah, there is really a big difference between the tastes of the burghers and the nobility. The first acquaintance with the castle amazed me because of well known name of Giacomo Casanova.
After such personalities as Peter the Great, Alexander I, Nicholas I, Goethe, Beethoven, who came to these places with the diplomatic and health-improving purposes, the name of Casanova warmed by the glamorous shadow of his personal life. For the majority of people primarily Casanova is known as a «great lover”. Many of women were tempted by him. But this is not the only talent of the famous Italian. The most important thing is that he was a very educated man, probably one of the greatest living experts of the 18th century of Europe. He travelled from south to north and from west to east of Europe. He met a lot of outstanding scientists, artists, politicians of that time. At many state courts he was received as a good friend.
Casanova also visited the Russian Empire, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Riga. He wrote several works about his travels. And most important of them he wrote in the castle of Duchcov. In the depths of his library office he wrote the utopian novel «Ikosameron», which is about travelling deep into the Earth. He also created here his legendary memoirs «Story of my life.» This is probably the most interesting evidence about the lifestyle and traditions of the Rococo and Classicism era in Europe.
Casanova was an Italian by birth, but all his works he wrote in French. The higher strata of people of Europe spoke French at that time. In addition Casanova spoke Latin and Greek. He probably spoke German a little, because he had to communicate with the servants of the castle of Duchcov. He actually did not get on with the servants of the castle. He thought that they were something unworthy of his personality. On the other hand, the servants did all to spite him basically, at a time when his patron Count von Waldstein was absent in the castle. We can say that Casanova at that time was a bit grumpy aging man.
Famous traveler and writer was not quite satisfied with life in Duchcov, for example, he often complained about the rainy weather in the northern Czech Republic. When he was very displeased (for example, when the dish was overcooked), he ran out of Duchcov. His flights were quite frequent; however, he always came back because he had nowhere to go. And the Count Waldstein always received him without reproach.
In castle of Duchcov you can see the exhibition of drawings of 17-18 centuries, rare paintings from the collection of the Prague National Gallery, a gallery of portraits of family Waldstein.
Nevertheless, people come to Duchcov primarily because of Casanova. A local exhibition is one of the few places where you can learn the truth about him. Few people know that even the famous «Story of My Life» by Casanova was edited many times. For example, a writer preparing the French edition of his memoirs deleted one half of amorous adventures of the Italian, and in addition this writer distorted Casanova’s political views so that the Catholic and monarchist Giacomo was presented as political and religious free-thinker.
Chair, in which Casanova died, preserved to our days. According to local legend, anyone who sits in this chair will be lucky in love.
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova died at the age of 73. In the realities of Europe’s eighteenth-century such age was more than respectable. The average life expectancy that time rarely exceed forty years old.
That’s all interesting for today. And next time I’ll tell you about the Prague Zoo, one of the biggest in Europe.