This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
The historic Hotel Dvorak is located in the Ottokar II Square, the central square in České Budějovice, Czech Republic. The hotel is one of 48 Baroque and Renaissance arcade houses that surround the square on all sides. The square itself was marked out when the city was founded more than 750 years ago, and is the starting point for many tours of the city.
Before the hotel, two Gothic houses stood on this plot but burned down in 1868 along with four other houses. Owner Karel Certik had the houses rebuilt into one building and added two floors in late Classicist style. The following year, he opened the new building as the hotel “U zlatého Slunce,” or “At the Golden Sun.”
Certik owned the hotel for four decades before selling it. It then changed hands several times and underwent a few renovations and incarnations. In 1945, the hotel was nationalized and the owners were forced to leave. For the next 20 years, the hotel was part of a government division called “Restaurants and Canteens České Budějovice.”
The next owners were Interhotel, a state agency that acquired the building in 1965 and ran it until the company collapsed in 1990. After that, another company began over-ambitious plans to renovate the hotel but ran out of funds. The building languished in a state of decay for five years before Karel Dvorak bought it and finished with renovations. In 2011, he reopened the hotel as the Hotel Dvorak. Today, the hotel offers simple modern rooms just steps from shops and cafes in the heart of historic České Budějovice.
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