History of Zamek Brezina
~ The Homolka family
1100's Brezina Tvrz (fortress)was an outpost of the Rozemberk enclave against the Strahov Monastery's farm a few miles away. (The Monastery was based in Prague.) The Rozemberk's died out in the 1600's and were famous for settling Cesky Krumlov, as well as for large fish ponds south of Trebon.
The Chapel and rooms in the back are from this period. The moat was filled with trash during the communist era, and has since been cleaned out. Only parts of it are visible now.
The upper and lower parks are said to be primeval forest.
1400's Some of the stones in the chapel wall are from a quarry not cut from after the 1400's. Under layers of plaster, bits of Italian Renaissance plastering was found. Next to that is a niche which looks as if it were once a door, another section of the wall has remnants of medieval wall painting.
1574 Brezina was purchased by a man from Zahradka and rebuilt into a "house fit for a nobleman." (from a book on Czech castles) The Grand Dining room has a closet with a shooting hole (a leftover from fortress days.) The rooms were heated with tile stoves, fed from the back, via a long corridor. The stoves were destroyed during the communist era, but a few pieces have been found on the grounds.
1600's Sometime in this century the tax records show that Brezina-Zahradka was divided from a Chyskov-Novy Cerekov estate, perhaps between two sons. No division of large estates was permitted after that point until the communist era. John Comenius (Moravian bishop and educator) stayed at Brezina while on his travels.
1763 A new Baroque wing was added, the chapel and old wing were redecorated in the Baroque style. A Baroque alter is in the chapel with a sunburst over the tabernacale. A painting of the 14 Auxiliary Saints (to whom the chapel is dedicated) hangs over the alter. It was very badly damaged, but has been repaired by art restorian Petr Hampl. On the right is a fresco of St. Florian, protector from fire. On the left was a painting of St. John Nepomuk, but that was scraped off.
|early 1900's||late 1900's|
The dome is decorated with stars and the dome windows are the classic Baroque shape. The high windows were primarily plain glass, the arched tops featured red, blue and yellow glass. Under a niche to the left of the front door, 1763 is spelled out in Latin numerals.
On the right is a shell shaped marble holy water font. On the wall beyond, we discovered the remains of an ancient fireplace. Perhaps it was to warm the chapel during prayers.
A belfrey was built outside the Zamek gates on the village green. The bell was traditionally rung at noon and vespers. Children were afraid of the polednice, (~the noonday witch~) who would get you if you weren't inside for lunch when the bell began to ring.
1830-31 Two grainaries were built on the ruins of Hrad (Castle) Konipas, an older castle next to Brezina.
1856 Brezina was purchased by Baron von Eisenstein. A German language newspaper from Prague wrote at the time that all the people in Prague were jealous because the Eisenstein's bought Brezina with all the "old furniture."
1893 Brezina was restored as a hunting lodge. Iron work was added throughout the zamek as well as iron gates at the two main entrances.
Small tunnels were dug and lined with brick for ventilation under the ground floor of the old wing. A bathroom was added upstairs in the old wing and another toilet on the ground floor of the new wing tower. Prior to this time, commodes were placed between the double doors of the bedrooms.
Most floors are probably from 1893. Two rooms have wide brown painted board floors with remains of a stenciled flower pattern in gold. Black and yellow stone tiles are in the hallways of the old wing and on the pantry floor. Bumpy cream amd dull red tiles floored the kitchen and two entry ways. Parquet floors are found in 8 rooms.
Two murals were painted during the 1893 restoration, one in the game room of an Arabian tent and tobacco oasis, the other a medival French knight on the grand staircase wall. Both are now plastered over. Baron von Eisenstein took up the new hobby of photography, using the gunhole closet as his darkroom.
More modifications were made to the chapel. A door which connected the house to the chapel was bricked up. The chapel was newly frescoed. A cross on the foyer ceiling, gold with black IHS on a blue ground had the words of an old hymn surrounding its oval.
1908 Antonin Homolka purchased Brezina upon his son's, George Josef Homolka, birth. The kitchen was remodeled with tiles patterned in red, gray and beige lines on white. The tomb was cleaned out, a child's skull and small bones were found.
1925 The new barn was built. We found the original architect's rendition of what it would look like.
1937 George Josef Homolka married Katerina Huclova in March. The house was modernised for the new bride with the installation of central heating and plumbing. The south tower was used for the central heating plant. Central heating was put throughout the new wing, the grand staircase, the downstairs dining room (now office) and the two rooms beyond.
Rina and George's bedroom was an existing bedroom with veranda outside. Another guestroom was divided to become Rina's closet and dressing room. It was fitted with green cupboards made in Mr. Dvorak's furniture factory in nearby Pacov and a washbowl. The rest of the old guest room became a staircase opening and landing with a small toilet room. The downstairs was full of walls. Although much of the stone has been removed, some walls are still over a meter thick! Two bedrooms, a large bathroom with hot water heated floors, a small toilet room and spacious hallway were built. A powder room was built under the grand staircase in the old wing as well. George Anthony Homolka was born in 1938.
WWII Farms were allowed enough fuel to go to market as the Germans wanted the produce. Our milk went to the cooperative dairy in Tabor, which Antonin Homolka helped to found. It still exists today as the state run Mdeta. Butter was churned secretly by a maid in a little room behind the pantry.
George remembers a steady stream of German Equipment headed for the Russian front and later, returning for days. Towards the end of the war, 8 Russian pilots hid on the upstairs back veranda while 1000 German soldiers camped in the farmyard and courtyard.
1941 Death of Antonin Homolka and burial in the tomb.
1948 Communist coup and escape of the Homolka Family.
1950 Grandmother Zdenka (unable to leave with the family) was moved to another village. The gradual devastation of Zamek Brezina took place in the ensuing years.
1990 April ~ George Anthony Homolka returned for a visit for the first time with his wife Barbara and their youngest daughter Ann.
September ~ We returned for another vacation and to begin the paper work for the restitution. We were given the address of an Ing. Brezina. He had lived in Grandmother Zdenka's room after she was moved and discovered all the papers of the Eisenstein/Homolka transactions from 1908.
1991 We left Arabia on July 31, stayed in Switzerland for a few weeks and in mid August arrived at Brezina to begin the horrendous task of cleaning 40 years of destruction.
1992 March ~ Ann and David pryed open the secret bottom of the safe in their grandparents, Rina and George Josef's bedroom. It was stuffed with letters from Rina's father and others; particularly special since Rina's father died shortly after they left Czechoslovakia and before now she did not have any letters from him. Various other family heirlooms have been found on the grounds; brass candlesticks and the chapel's crucifix, one of Rina's china wedding plates, the skeletal remains of a carriage.
1993-1997 Much of the Zamek was repaired during these years, a modern new kitchen was built to replace the one which had been destroyed, central heating, three new bathrooms, laundry facilities were installed in the old wings. The bedrooms in the old wing were also remodeled. A wood dryer has been installed for the woodshop.
1997 Alice Homolka and Christian Tate were married in the chapel on August 23, 1997;
David Homolka and Milena Hamplova followed suit on September 6, 1997.
2001 Caroline Homolka and Timothy Masters were also married in the chapel on July 7, 2001.
Repairs continue within the Zamek. A fresco of the Last Supper was discovered on the ceiling of the Grand Salon during renovations; and we are starting to uncover another one in the Grand Dining Room. There is much work to be done still, but there is light at the end of the tunnel!
~ The Homolka family