Vilémov Castle – History and the Present
The castle foundations date back to 1120, when it was one of the largest Benedictine monasteries in Central Europe. The original founder of this monastery was an abbot called "William" and it is from his name that the later castle and e village take the name of "Vilémov". The monks who lived in this monastery are known to have eaten a staple diet of fish and frogs: one can still discern the contours of what are thought to be medieval carp ponds in the rolling mounds of the castle’s deer park
In 1421, Hussites destroyed the monastery, leaving only foundations. The flagstone floor of the current Clubroom, as well as its ceiling shape, are likely survivors from the 12th century. From these ruins a fortress was constructed in the year 1578. Later the fortress was remodeled into a Renaissance castle, the ceiling frescoes of which are now uncovered in the “Rose Room.” In 1684, Vilémov was bought by Count Caretto de Millesimo, Marquis of Savona. The Marquis and his family enlarged the castle over 22 years, changing the style from Renaissance to Baroque. The Italian architect Francesco Caratti is known to have designed the building ‘s Baroque facade, with many architectural details added by artisans brought in from Italy.
In 1852, when the male line of the Caretto de Millesimo family died out, castle and property passed on to the nearest blood relative, Francis Vaclav Baron Reisky de Dubnic. The Barons Reisky have owned the castle ever since, but during the Second World War Nazi occupiers took over the estate and expelled the family.
In 1945, Russian Army troops under General Malinowski were quartered in the castle. One of the roof finials over the terrace still has a few bullet holes from their target practice. Later that same year, the property was returned to the Reisky family.
In 1948, the castle was confiscated by a Communist regime and put to a variety of uses, including an elementary school. All works of art and various other family keepsakes were removed or stolen during this period. In 1991, after the Velvet Revolution, when the castle was once again returned to the Reisky family, the buildings were empty and in total disrepair. The main hallway has photographs documenting decades of destruction along with the family’s restoration in phases up to the present.
Vilémov Castle was energetically restored during 1992 – 1997 by Professor Vladimír Reisky de Dubnic , who returned from twenty-five years of teaching at the University of Virginia to reclaim his family’s heritage. With all its lodging and recreational facilities, the castle and its adjacent park now serve as an ideal location for conferences, seminars, and social events such as concerts, weddings, reunions, and celebrations.