Mělník

Mělník

Mělník is an ancient royal downry town, known best perhaps as the source of the Ludmila wine, that got its name after a duchess who lived here in the 9th century. The town’s chateau a few blocks from the main square majestically guards the confluence of the Labe (Elbe) River with two arms of the Vltava. Together with the St. Peter and Paul’s Tower it forms an impressive and dominant feature that can be seen from a very long distance. The view here is stunning, and the sunny hillsides are covered with vineyards. According to the locals the Em­peror Charles IV was responsible for scaling up wine production in the area, which had a 300-year-old wine growing tradition even before his time. Having a good eye for favorable growing conditions, he en­couraged vintners from Burgundy to come here and plant their vines.

The courtyard’s three dominant architectural styles, reflecting alterations to the castle over the years, are clearly noticeable. On the north side are the typical arcaded Renaissance balconies, decorated with sgraffiti; to the west, a Gothic tract is still easy to make out. The southern wing is Baroque (although also decorated with arcades). Inside the castle at the back, you’ll find a wine bar with ex­cellent views overlooking the rivers. On the other side is a museum de­voted to wine making and folk crafts.

In the vicinity of Mělník lies the popular Kokořínsko region, a marvelous landscape with sandstone rocks and a romantic Gothic castle from the 14th century.