The sad tale of Pardubice Chateau lures filmmakers!
Pardubice Chateau, also known as Villa Larisch, is an over-130-year-old Renaissance gem with a rich and turbulent history. Located in Pardubice, its owner since 2015 is the Czechoslovak Legionnaires, who seek to restore it.
The property was built in 1885 in neo-Renaissance style by Count Jiří Larisch-Mönnich. The villa, known in Pardubice simply as the “Chateau”, soon became the center of social life of the nobility – there was even a racetrack for horse races in the complex.
“I think the chateau has an amazing genius loci. It’s surrounded by a romantic forest park covering an area of 10,000 square meters, made up predominately of pine trees that are overgrown with ivy, as is part of the chateau’s facade, ” explains Lucie Ondráčková of the East Bohemia Film Office.
“There are about 50 different rooms in the villa; the building has a cellar and two above-ground floors, and the tower is four storeys tall. For filmmakers, the location could be attractive for its exterior and its interiors, which are currently mostly uninhabited and unused, as well as because of the stories associated with this extraordinary place, ” says Ondráčková.
But Villa Larisch experienced other fates in the 20th century, especially during Heydrich’s suppression programs during World War II. The Nazis built a makeshift gallows in the garden, where they executed 194 patriots between June 3 and July 9, 1942, primarily active collaborators of Operation Silver A.
As punishment, also the inhabitants of the village of Ležáky spent the last hours of their lives in the cellars of the villa. Thirteen children were forcibly removed from their parents, who were executed on June 24, 1942. A memorial was built there in 1946, and the site was declared a national monument.
“We are seeking the return and the dignified inclusion of the Chateau to the social and cultural life of Pardubice. At present we are working to repair the tower from the roof to the cellar, which should be completed in 2020, ” says František Bobek of the Czechoslovak Legionnaires.
“We had an architectural study drawn up for the renovation of the entire building. The villa will offer space for permanent exhibitions; it will be the site of an educational center for youth; and it will be available for social events, conferences and exhibitions. We would be delighted to rent the space to filmmakers as it is a very interesting location, ” adds Bobek.Download all photos