Nové Hrady is a small town in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It has just under 3000 inhabitants. The town lies in the Nové Hrady Mountains (Novohradské Hory in Czech) close to the Czech-Austrian border. It is about 30 km south-east of the town České Budějovice on the hill above the Stropnice river.
The history of the town dates back to a charter of 1279. It was known as a small village with the castle, which was built by the Vítkovec family for the protection of the trade route. Later the castle became property of the Lords of Landštejn and the Rožmberks. In 1620, when it was under the ownership of the Švamberks, the town participated in the revolt against the Emperor. Thereupon it was captured by the soldiers of general Buquoy, who became the new owner of the town.
In 1708 a monastery was established and the rukers began to build the magnificent Baroque church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Dobra Voda, where a medicinal spring was discovered. This time saw the development of mills, hammer mills, distilleries, and rich farming and forestry. In the immediate vicinity of the city an English park was created. In 1906 the city suffered extensive fire with many buildings burned down including the town hall and residences. The town was rebuilt with the financial assistance of Earl Buquoy, Bishop of České Budějovice, Riha, and His Majesty the Emperor Ferdinand d’Este.
After the first World War II Czechoslovak troops occupied the town. The district council and the Administrative Commission were appointed by the Czechs. After the postwar years of Russian occupation and control, from 1989 the town and region saw the beginning of new era with the development of tourism because of the interest in local culture and heritage, and the surrounding deep forests, picturesque valleys and meadows.
The castle from the end of the 13th century stands on the western outskirts of the town. It is enclosed by a huge moat. Only the remains of the original town walls (from the second half of the 14th century), which were connected with the fortification of the castle, and the town gate Dolní Brána (Lower Gate) from 1829 can be seen in the town. The castle itself was largely rebuilt in the 17th century. The museum of glass, which contains the biggest collection of the black hyalite glass in the world, is located in the castle.
One of the oldest buildings is the Late-Gothic Church of Sts. Peter and Paul with the monastery of the Servites. It stands in the south-eastern corner of the square. The Renaissance town hall is located in the western part of the square. It was built in the 16th century and then it was reconstructed in the 18th and 19th centuries. The residence of the Buquoy family, which was built between 1634 – 1644, can be found in the eastern part of the square. The Buquoys founded the new Empire-style chateau on the eastern outskirts of Nové Hrady between 1801 – 1810 which is now part of the Academy and University Center and hosts the conference center as well as the lab facilities.
Website of the town – http://www.novehrady.cz/
Tourism office- http://www.kicnovehrady.cz/