For visitors, the Melník chateau is divided into two parts; the bedrooms, dining rooms and halls on the upper floors; and the wine cellars. Entrance to the upper floors is 80Kč per person and down to the wine cellars is 25Kč.
Bedrooms, studies and libraries
Entry to the upper floors is via a staircase on the opposite side of the courtyard from the ticket office, and you make your way through the chateau at your own pace, using a printed explanatory text.
The first room is the bedroom of George Christian Lobkowicz who died while racing his Bugatti in Berlin in 1926. A cabinet of his trophies stands beside his portrait, but the outstanding piece of furniture in this room is the massive four-poster bed.
The next room is a study, then a children’s bedroom, dining room and great hall filled with dozens of framed maps and vedutas of European cities including Naples, Paris and Amsterdam. Then at the corner of the chateau are two rooms displaying shields and coats of armour, including a full suit of armour that once belonged to a Turkish soldier. This is especially interesting as you can get very close to the armour and even look at parts of it from behind to see how it is assembled.
Then the final room on this second floor is the concert hall, which is furnished with huge round tables and enough chairs for about a hundred people. Like the other rooms in the chateau it is hung with portraits of various members of the Lobkowicz dynasty and has elaborately painted and stencilled wooden ceilings.
The final two rooms are down on the first floor, and the staircase leading there is devoted to the hunting exploits of the Lobkowiczes. It’s lined with glass fronted gun cases and at least a hundred of pairs of mounted antlers. On one landing you’re greeted by the stuffed heads of two massive deer.
A sickly pink dining room decorated with coloured Czech glassware leads to a small chapel dedicated to St Ludmilla and with an original baroque altar from the end of the 17th century. The chapel is the final room and another foray through the forest of antlers on the hunting staircase brings you back to the chateau courtyard.
To your left, on the ground floor of the chateau, is the entrance to a grand sunlit restaurant with big windows overlooking the river. The restaurant is mostly worth knowing about for its large and spotlessly clean toilets, which are just inside the door, before you reach the dining room. The menu offers standard dishes at above average prices but unless you’re a bus group you’re unlikely to be made feel welcome.
Cavernous wine cellars
Entrance to the wine cellars is via a separate entrance from the courtyard which the staff will unlock for you. Like the upstairs rooms you make your way through the cellars at your own pace.
The smell of wine and oak hits you as soon as the door is opened and it gets stronger as the long staircase leads down. The cellars are arranged in a loop and haven’t been prettied up for visitors at all. The damp walls grow an abundant crop of mould and cobwebs hang from ceilings, shelves and the presses, barrels and bottles on display. In one of the caverns there is extensive printed information about the history of wine making in Mělník and the Lobkowicz family’s involvement in it.
I enjoyed visiting the wine cellars more than the underground tour to the well on the main square. There were more interesting things to see and I found it much more pleasant to make my way through at my own pace.
Back in a room adjacent to the ticket office, the local wine is offered for sale. The Ludmila red and white appears to the most popular and comes in distinctive squat bottles for a reasonable 110-140Kč.
Tel. (+420) 315 622121