For more than 760 years now, the castle ČESKÝ ŠTERNBERK, set on the steep stony bank of the Sázava, has dominated the landscape around the central reaches of the river. Called the “Pearl of Posázaví” by a romantic poet [Posázaví is the region around the river], the castle was built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divišov, and given the name “Šternberk” according to the custom of the day. The family’s new aristocratic particle, of Sternberg [Šternberk is the Czech spelling of the same name, meaning star-castle], dates from same period, along with its coat of arms bearing an eight-pointed star.
One quite remarkable and certainly unique aspect of Český Šternberk is that the castle belongs now to a descendant of the man who first had it built, Zdeslav of Sternberg.
The Early Gothic medieval castle is concealed within the core of the structure that stands today, the product of several different periods of reconstruction. The architecture underwent a series of changes, from the Late Gothic reconstruction work improving the fortifications, through to the extravagant Early Baroque remodeling of the interiors, done convert it into a comfortable residency.
The tour leads through fifteen richly furnished rooms. Visitor pass through the large, opulently furnished “Knight’s Hall,” which has many historical articles on display, and then into the exquisitely ornamented Chapel of St. Sebastian. From there, the tour moves into the “Yellow Chamber,” with its Early Baroque stucco work and Louis XVI furnishings, and then into the “lady’s” chamber. Then visitors go through to the secluded library, which boasts several thousand volumes and an excellent painting by Petr Brandl, followed by the generously proportioned dining room, which has a display of period silverware and a collection of large portraits of important members of the Sternberg family. Next come the oriental anteroom and the breakfast room, which has a collection of sparkling silver figurines and furniture inlaid in a floral pattern. Those interested in genealogy will enjoy the illustrated family tree in Jiři Sternberg’s study: it charts six generations and has portraits of 63 of the family’s ancestors in period costumes and uniforms. Visitors can experience the atmospheres of the Roccoco, Biedermeier, Empire and Baroque periods, surrounded by many works of art in those styles, as they proceed through the next four rooms. The „Hunting Chamber,“ where trophies of various game are mounted on the walls, will intrigue those interested in hunting. Finally, the entrance stairway takes the visitor back to where the 15-room tour started. There are three large paintings by Filip Sternberg on display here, depicting battle scenes from the 18th, 19th and 20th century.
The Šternberk print collection is completely unique. The history of the 30 Years’ War is the theme of the collection. Consisting of 545 copperplate engravings collected in the early 20th century by Jiři Sternberg, this collection is considered one of the most significant collections on this topic in existence.
An interesting collection of historical weapons, sets of valuable porcelain and various examples of small-scale works of art from previous centuries round out the tour.