History of Chateau Otin

The small village of Otin is located 104 kilometres (64 miles) from Prague, in the Pilsen region, near the town of Klatovy. It has a mere 37 houses and 110 permanent inhabitants. The main historical attraction of the old settlement is the historical chateau. It was built in the 14th century as a fortress.  In the second half of the 17th century it was rebuilt in the Baroque style.  Then, at the beginning of the 19th century, the facade of the building was reconstructed in the Empire style – as we see the building now. The chateau is ringed by an English park where the beautiful Gloriette was built in 1765.

Chateau Otin become well-known in the 19th century by virtue of its famous owners: the Prague lawyer Jan Mechura, his son, composer Leopold Eugen Mechura, and daughter Tereza Mechurova with her husband – the famous Czech historian and writer – František Palacký. It was mainly thanks to him in 1964 the chateau complex received the status of a cultural monument.

Past

XIV

Once upon a time, there were two Otin fortresses in this area – the old and the new. Otin, Votin, Votino, Votovo – under such names they first appeared in archival records in 1379. The name probably came from the male name ‘Ota’: ‘Ota’s land’, ‘Ota’s Tower’. The first owners of the place were Jenisch and Oldřich.

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From the middle of the 15th century to the middle of the 16th century the fortress was owned by Vanek from Otin, then for the following hundred years, it belonged to the family of Sebastian from Reichenbach.

In the first half of the 18th century, the new owners of the Otin Gothic fortress, the Kanitsky family, decided to rebuild their estate in the Baroque style. In 1765, the same family built a beautiful garden pavilion – The Gloriette – in the park.

XIX

In 1809 Otin was bought for 114,000 gold pieces by the wealthy lawyer – Jan Mechura. In 1810 he added a tower to the church in the village of Předslav.  In 1818 he ordered a complete reconstruction of the Chateau Otin, including a new facade, in the Empire style so popular at the time.

On September 16, 1827, the wedding of František Palacký and Tereza Mechurova took place at the estate of Mechura’s family in Otin. The wedding procession ambled through an alley of linden trees, that even today leads from Chateau Otin to Předslav church, where the marriage service took place.

In 1852-1870 the estate was managed by Leopold Eugene Mechura, a Czech composer, best known for his opera “Maria Pototskaya” which was premiered at the Prague National Theatre in 1871 under the baton of Bedřich Smetana.

old card Chateau Otin 1913

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In the 20th century the owners of the chateau changed often, due to the political and social changes in the country: the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the First World War. After renovation in 1925, the estate was bought by Karel Grosh, the former mayor of Prague. In the year leading up to the Nazi occupation of the country, the chateau was owned and occupied by the Michovši family.

After the war, the building was nationalised and then used as a storehouse, a guest house, and private apartments. There was an attempt to create a museum of Frantisek Palacky here in the 60’s, but this never came to fruition, and Chateau Otin fell into further disrepair.

Present

Currently, the Gloriette is in a very poor condition. The chateau itself also requires complete reconstruction and care. The floor area of the chateau is over 1400 square metres.  In addition, there are extensive cellars and a large attic. The Gloriette is 42 square metres, the English park around 2,4 hectares, and the pond has 553 square metres.

From 2018, Chateau Otin belongs to the Czech company Simargland s.r.o. (owner is Daria Krstev) She is studying the history of the place, working on its restoration and renovation, and trying to bring the national and regional cultural and historical heritage organisations on board to be able to restore the buildings.

Project Details