Why we decided to buy an endangered historical landmark?

18 Jan 2017   Markéta   2 min read

My husband calls this decision an adventure, I call it suicide, we are probably both right…

How did it all happen? For many years, we had talked about buying something old and damaged. However, few people (including us) believed that it would become a reality. Maybe not even my husband. Buying the chateau advanced my decision to end my coaching career and say goodbye to swimming-my lifelong love. Despite the smell of chlorine, pool decks are clean, bright, and most of all, warm. What have I exchanged it for? Dark, cold, and dirty chambers, where the only happy creatures are insects and mice. Thanks to my career change, my “other half”, who loves everything old and shabby, could fulfill his life dream. My husband loves everything historical; it does not even have to be a valuable antique. He is happy with the things like the remains of sewage pipes, or faded parchment which documents firemen who collected money for a volunteer’s uniform damaged in a rescue mission in 1930.

Our dream became a reality during the summer of 2016 when we arrived to Nemilkov after years of searching for the “right ruin”. Now we are at the beginning of restoring the buildings that are in the worst condition. We have been working for several months on saving parts of the property that are falling into the most ruin. We are clearing out old waste and removing inappropriate structural changes done in the last century. We try wherever possible to be environmentally friendly when disposing of non-valuable materials. We save everything that looks old, even random sharp, or modified pieces of wood. We are collecting any information we can find about the history of the chateau, manor courtyard and farm buildings, which were built in the Middle Ages on the remains of a gothic fortress from the 14th century! We work together with historians, preservationists, and any locals we can find who still remember the former owners, the Schreiner family, who owned the property for centuries before WWII. We are preparing documents and supporting materials for larger reconstructions and repairs which will begin sometime in the future.

Our main goal is to rescue a piece of history. The chateau is on the list of the Cultural Heritage Sights of the Czech Republic. It was also added to the list of Endangered Sights by the National Historical Sights Institute as early as the middle of 20th century. The restoration of the buildings and its surroundings will be complicated and long. We know that we have some difficult times ahead of us. Our short-term goal is to bring the property back to life and open it to the public for educational and recreational uses. The long-term goal is to repair the chateau with the courtyard and the farm buildings, so it can be removed from the list of Endangered Sights of the Czech Republic.