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Venkovská usedlost (Roudnice), Roudnice 12.JPG
Coat of arms
Country Czech Republic
Region Hradec Králové
District Hradec Králové
Commune Hradec Králové
Elevation 235 m (771 ft)
Coordinates 50°10′47″N 15°39′2″E / 50.17972°N 15.65056°E / 50.17972; 15.65056Coordinates: 50°10′47″N 15°39′2″E / 50.17972°N 15.65056°E / 50.17972; 15.65056
Area 11.08 km2 (4.28 sq mi)
Population 629 (1.1.2012)
Density 57/km2 (148/sq mi)
First mentioned 1384
Mayor Martin Bitvar
Timezone CET (UTC+1)
 - summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 503 27
Location in the Czech Republic
Location in the Czech Republic
Wikimedia Commons: Roudnice

Roudnice is a village in the Hradec Králové region in eastern Bohemia, the Czech Republic. It was the birthplace of František Xavier Matějka (1793 - 1860), the father of the famous Polish painter Jan Matejko.

The village is home to Roudnice Castle, the fourth largest castle in the Czech Republic. The first structure on the site of the castle was a fortress built in the 12th century, a popular summer retreat for Prague’s archbishops and supposedly where Jan Hus was ordained as a priest. In the 14th and 15th centuries the original Romanesque building gained Gothic additions as it moved from religious to secular ownership.

The fortress passed into the hands of the Lobkowicz family in 1603, when Zdeněk Vojtěch, 1st Prince Lobkowicz (1568-1628), married the castle's owner, Polyxena Pernštejn (1566-1642). Their son Václav Eusebius, 2nd Prince Lobkowicz (1609-1677) undertook major renovations to the structure, commissioning two Italian architects to demolish most of the original fortress and construct a 200-room baroque residence. The new building included a theater, a clock tower, and a chapel decorated with magnificent frescoes, while riding stables and large formal gardens were developed in the grounds. Although most of the original fortress was demolished in the renovations, one vaulted room still contains the base of a 12th century column. Roudnice became a repository for objects from the Lobkowicz family’s collections, including works of art, religious objects, musical instruments, and books and manuscripts. During World War II, the castle and its collections were confiscated by the Nazi regime, and the building was used as an SS youth training camp. The library was gutted by the occupying forces and the castle’s west wing was damaged by bombs in the last days of the war. When Maximilian Lobkowicz returned Roudnice after the end of the war, he began repairs to the damaged castle, which was confiscated again in 1948 when the Communist government came to power.

Under Communist rule, Roudnice became a military music school as well as administrative offices, and housed the Central Bohemian Gallery of Modern Art, which still remains in the castle’s riding hall. The castle was restituted to the Lobkowicz family in the 1990s, and they continued to rent Roudnice to the military music school, which eventually closed in 2008 after a loss of government funding.

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