Great Houses & Gardens of Moravia - Style & Splendour in the Kingdom of Bohemia

Prices from £2,595

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6 Sep 2020 - 12 Sep 2020
Duration: 6 nights
Ref: 20MORA
With: Barbara Peacock

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Prices from £2,595
Single Supplement: £180
Deposit: £200

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GREAT HOUSES & GARDENS OF MORAVIA - STYLE & SPLENDOUR IN THE KINGDOM OF BOHEMIA

Moravia in the Czech Republic is still a largely undiscovered part of Central Europe, and yet it abounds in wonderful buildings, rich in historical associations and scenic beauty. For a long part of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Moravia’s proximity to the heart of the monarchy in Vienna meant it became a favourite area for the wealthy aristocracy to build their magnificent summer palaces and the 18th and 19th centuries saw a huge building boom after the Ottoman defeat at Vienna in 1683. However, the Renaissance was also a period of rich cultural activity, resulting in some of the finest 16th century buildings of Central Europe. The great Mies van der Rohe, one of the pioneers of modernist architecture, has also contributed to the diverse architectural treasures of the region. His iconic Vila Tugendhat in Brno was completed in 1930 and remains an exemplar of minimalist chic. This new Art Pursuits Abroad tour encompasses great houses of all periods, some with important gardens or designed landscapes and often set in countryside of great natural beauty, offering a fascinating introduction to this overlooked corner of the world.

YOUR STUDY TOUR LECTURER - BARBARA PEACOCK

"The spectacular château of Vranov, dramatically perched on a ravine above the river Dyje, is one of the unforgettable images of a journey to Moravia."

Barbara Peacock is director of Wessex Fine Art study courses and has run many successful tours in both Britain and abroad. She lectures for the Art Society, the Art Fund and for the National Trust. She was a lecturer in the department of extra-mural studies at the university of Southampton.

DAY 1:

Mid-morning flight from London Heathrow to Vienna. Transfer by private coach over the border into Moravia where we will visit the magnificent Baroque palace of Valtice, the former winter residence of the Liechtenstein family, with sumptuous interiors. Continue to nearby Lednice to check into our four star hotel for the first of three nights.

DAY 2:

This morning we visit Castle Lednice, the Romantic Gothic Revival summer palace of the Liechtensteins, containing splendid original furnishings, and enjoy the great landscape park with its many 18th and 19th century follies. The entire Valtice-Lednice complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and forms one of the finest designed landscapes in Europe. A relaxing boat ride will take us to the Oriental minaret and there will also be time to explore the garden. In the afternoon we see 18th century Milotice, with its theatric exterior and magnificent painted Ancestor’s Hall. A special group dinner will be in one of the enchanting garden pavilions with views over the park.

DAY 3:

After breakfast we set out to visit Buchlovice, a charming Italianate villa and externally one of the most beautiful houses of Moravia, set in outstanding gardens. We continue to Bučovice, a late Renaissance château containing some of the finest Renaissance interiors in Central Europe. In the afternoon we see the monumental palace of Slavkov, with superb plasterwork by Italian artists. Here the peace treaty between France and Austria was signed after the battle of Austerlitz which was fought in the surrounding fields. The evening will be spent enjoying a wine-tasting in a South Moravian vineyard before our last night in Lednice.

DAY 4:

Bid farewell to Lednice and drive to Brno to see the iconic Vila Tugendhat, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the masterpiece of Mies van der Rohe. Recently superbly restored, it is the most important example of 1930s Modernism in the Czech Republic. We continue on through the beautiful Moravian countryside to Dačice, a fine early-19th century Empire house with excellent period furniture and a rare Art Nouveau Library. In the early evening we arrive at our four star hotel in the enchanting little Renaissance town of Telč, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, where we will spend the last three nights of this tour.

DAY 5:

A morning devoted to exploring Telč, one of the finest small towns of Central Europe with its beautiful unspoilt square of gabled Renaissance and Baroque houses. The Renaissance castle is particularly fine and has outstanding carved and painted Renaissance interiors. An afternoon excursion will take us out of the town, to Vranoc château, spectacularly sited on a cliff above the river Dyje, the masterpiece of the great Austrian architect Fischer von Erlach.

DAY 6:

Whole day excursion to Ždár nad Sázavou, one of the finest monastic complexes in Europe. The former abbey buildings are the home of the eminent Kinský family, whose property was restituted after the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Santini-Aichel, one of the most exciting and original architects of the period, remodelled the mediaeval monastery church in the early 18th century and built the amazing hilltop pilgrimage chapel of Zelená Hora (Green Hill) designed symbolically in the form of a five-pointed star and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the evening we enjoy a farewell dinner together.

DAY 7:

After breakfast, check out of our hotel and transfer to Prague airport for an afternoon flight to London Heathrow.

PRICES:

Twin/double share: £2595 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £180
Tour without flights cost: £2395 per person
Deposit: £300 per person

INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:

  • Flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Vienna and return flights from Prague to London Heathrow
  • Private coach transfers and excursions
  • Three nights’ bed and breakfast in the 4* Hotel Galant, Lendice and three nights’ bed and breakfast in the 4* Hotel U Hrabenky in Telc
  • Five dinners and four lunches
  • Guided visits to sites listed in the programme
  • Services of the Lecturer and Tour Manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters

Hotel Galant, Lednice ****

Experience an exceptional stay in an exceptional location. The Lednice-Valtice area has been part of the UNESCO World and Cultural Heritage since 1996. No wonder this region is called ‘The Garden of Europe’. The hotel, located 100m from Lednice Castle, features a private wellness centre, outdoor pool, delicious cuisine, quiet rooms and lots of cultural events . Rooms are fully equipped and feature Wi-Fi, a TV, safe and minibar.

Hotel U Hrabenky, Telč ****

Hotel U Hraběnky is the only four star hotel in Telč. Offering a high standard of accommodation and services. Hotel U Hraběnky was established on the premises of an original Baroque house. Thanks to the careful reconstruction of the building, even the subtlest of the original details have been preserved, adding atmosphere to the unique character of the building. Rooms are fully equipped with Wi-Fi, a safe, TV and minibar.