The Baroque chateau in the village of Lany in the midst of the Krivoklat woods, not far from Prague, is the official summer residence of the presidents of the Czech Republic.
The earliest mention in records about Lany date from 1392. In those days there was a wooden keep here. At the end of the 16th century Rudolf II bought the village and had the original citadel replaced with a simple hunting lodge in the Renaissance style which in the course of the 17th century took on a Baroque character.
The Wallensteins bought the Chateau at the end of the 17th century. In 1730, Count Jan Josef Wallenstein had another floor added to the small Chateau at Lany. As of the beginning of the 18th century Lany was in the hands of the Fürstenbergs, notably until 1921 when the Czechoslovak state bought the Chateau as a prestigious seat for the Head of State. The area underwent countless reconstruction projects and its present-day image is the result of a renovation operation which took place in 1902 - 1903. Architect Josip Plecnik undertook the most recent reconstruction of the Chateau and its surroundings in 1921-24. The Chateau is situated on the axis of the Chateau Park and constitutes its organic dominant feature.
The Chateau Park
The extensive Chateau Park was established in 1770. Its present-day image was influenced by the modifications introduced by J. Plecnik. A lake was created as part of the park and later also greenhouses were erected.
The Lany Game Park
A game park, which was established by the Wallensteins back in 1713, is situated beyond the actual park. Today it belongs to the environmentally protected area of the Krivoklat region. The game park is fenced in and is not open to the public. It contains a so-called "Agreement Oak" at which the Little Entente was signed in 1922. About 2 km from the Chateau there is a villa called Amelia in which government meetings are held. Currently the game park extends over an area of some 3,000 hectares and serves in particular to protect pure-bred game (deer, fallow deer, mouflons and sika deer). The idea of arranging hunts for distinguished guests was also one of the reasons why Lany was chosen in 1921 as a country seat for the Head of the Czechoslovak State.
Tomas Garrigue Masaryk
The first President of Czechoslovakia, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk became very fond of Lany Chateau. Following his abdication in 1935, he was permitted to move to Lany with his family permanently. In the end he chose Lany as his last place of rest for himself and his family. The grave of the Masaryk family has become a symbol of Czechoslovak democracy, especially in the times of a totalitarian regime. Following the death of T.G. Masaryk, the Lany Chateau was utilized sporadically. During World War II, State President Dr. Emil Hacha resided in Lany. Only Vaclav Havel in his office as President began to visit Lany on a regular basis once again.
You can reach Lany from Prague by taking the road in the direction of Karlovy Vary (distance about 35 km). The first President of the Czechoslovak Republic Tomas G. Masaryk and his family are buried in the Lany cemetery.
Regular services are held in the church Name of Jesus, adjacent to the Chateau: on Thursdays and Saturdays at 5 p m., in winter at 4 p.m., on Sundays at 3 p.m.
The park is open to visitors (open to the public since 1990): Wednesday and Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each year in the period from the Saturday before Easter until November 2 and on the day of the birth and on the day of the death of the president T. G. Masaryk (March 7 and September 14 - the Park is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
The Chateau is not usually open to the public (on March 7, 2000 the Chateau was opened to the public for the first time).