Chlumec nad Cidlinou is an ancient town of five and a half thousand people situated in East Bohemia, on the confluence of the Rivers Cidlina and Bystrice. The oldest preserved records about this town date back to the 12 century. Lying at an average of 206 metres above sea level, the landscape around the town is slightly undulating with numerous ponds, as well as coniferous and deciduous forests. The nearest neighbourhood is encased with gardens and for this reason Chlumec nad Cidlinou is often referred to as the “Town among Gardens”. The original settlement was founded under the wooded hillock , where a wooden fort used to stand as a guard point protecting the Prague – Klodzko trade route. Later a moated castle was erected there, but almost all of it and the town itself were damaged during the Thirty Years' War. Having experienced several fires afterwards, the actual castle was not restored and instead a new aristocratic residence, Karlova Koruna (Charles Crown Castle), was built above the town. In 1611 the Chlumec estate was given by the Holy Roman Emperor Matthias to the noble family of Vchynský – later Kinský, who are currently once again the owners of the castle and the surrounding estate.
The tradition of fish farming dates back to the 15 century and today offers the possibility of sport fishing. The set of ponds called Starochlumecký, Vítkovický and Olešnický in the vicinity of Chlumec nad Cidlinou replaced the drained and today non-existent Velkochlumecký pond. The embankment of this pond was the place where the 18 century peasants' uprising was crushed. The Obora Hunting Lodge, also owned by the family of Kinský, commands one of the most magnificent scenic views in the town environs, namely the view of Žehuň pond. This pond with the River Cidlina flowing through it is the eighth largest in Bohemia. The actual Obora (Game Preserve) located above the pond is renowned for its moufflons and fallow deer.
Charming walks can be enjoyed in the Chlumec meadows along the River Cidlina. A large pheasantry is situated there and not far from it there is the place where the mystical tree Morana once stood, today only some remnants remain to remind us of the thousand-year old elm. Towering giants – oak trees, several hundred years old, can be admired on the way
The Loreto Museum is situated in the building of the former Piarist monastery. The plan to build a large monastery did not materialise and instead a Baroque place of pilgrimage was established with a large park. The park has not been preserved up to this day but the torsos of the statues placed in it are displayed at the courtyard of the Museum. The building was also used as a hospital or poorhouse. Its present look was acquired during the 2001 reconstruction. The Museum was opened in 1930, but at the end of the 1980s it was closed and then reopened in 2002.
Anyone approaching the town of Chlumec nad Cidlinou from any side is welcomed by the silhouette of Karlova Koruna (Charles Crown Castle). For three centuries the picturesque Baroque castle has been inherently integrated in the town panorama on the bank of the River Cidlina and in a similar way the family of Kinský has been connected with the life of the town.
Count František Ferdinand Kinský employed the excellent artisans of that time for the castle construction, namely the Italian architect Giovanni Santini Aichel and Prague builder František Maxmilián Kaňka. The construction took place in 1721–1723 and the castle was named “Charles Crown” to commemorate the visit of Emperor Charles VI King of Bohemia there. The castle bears the typical features of Santini’s individuality and geniality. A cylindrical core of two storeys was adjoined with three one-storey wings of a square ground plan. In the northern part between the wings there is an open staircase leading to the first storey, at the front sheltered with a bricked casing and having three entrances. The excellent central composition is obvious even from the placement of the castle in the landscape, further emphasised by three alleys descending to three gates of the park. In 1730 the castle chapel was erected, again probably by Kaňka.
The lack of interior premises in the castle led to the construction of out-buildings in its vicinity – Teresian Tract and Lichtenstein Tract. In the early 19 century, the architect Koch built an Empire Orangery.
Chlumec and the Kinský family are firmly connected with the famed tradition of “par force de chiens” hunting (meaning “by strength of hounds”) and horse breeding. Hunting game was one of the most enjoyable pastimes of the aristocracy. Throughout history Kinský often held the title of Chief Master of Hunting of the Czech Kingdom, because the Chlumec estate together with the Pardubice and Poděbrady estates stretched over a vast area ideal for hunting. The Chief Master was responsible for the amount of game on the land held by the Crown and supervised the preparation of hunts attended by Royals.
After 1948 the castle became the property of the Czechoslovak state and in 1969 the Baroque in Bohemia exposition, organised in co-operation with the National Gallery, was opened there to the public. Before the actual opening of the exposition it was necessary to reconstruct the premises. Based on the 1992 restitution, the property returned to the original owners - the Kinský family. The National Gallery exposition was replaced with a new, interior castle exposition, relating to the history of the Kinský family and horse breeding in Chlumec.
The castle is one of the foremost Baroque structures in the Czech Republic and is located in the western part of Chlumec nad Cidlinou. This summer residence replaced the former fort. During the 1943 fire the castle suffered great damage. All the castle contents which were saved were moved to various castles throughout the whole country, e.g. Zákupy, Opočno, Ratibořice, Kozel and others.
The castle is surrounded by a 20 hectare English style park continuing the three main axes of the castle.