The Hunting and Forestry Museum in Úsov

 

The Hunting and Forestry Museum in Úsov is, of its type, a unique historical museum in central Europe. It presents hunting and natural collections in an original Liechtenstein installation from the turn of 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibits are 100 years old and they remain in their unaltered condition. The museum is situated in the castle interior of the former Úsov castle. The original Gothic castle was built in the style of a French stronghold and it is one of the oldest in Moravia. It is from the first half of 13th century. The first reference to it dates back to 1260. In the 15th century it was shortly owned by the Stenbergs and in the same century, for a many years, the castle was passed as a pawn to the Lords of Vlašim. Boskovics, their successors, gained ownership of the castle in the 16th century. From 1597 it belonged to the Liechtensteins. There are walls buttressed by cylindrical towers, which were carried over from the original castle. Renaissance arcades in the building of the castle and in some of the rooms of the agricultural buildings substantiate the building of the castle on the place of a previous Gothic palace and the extension of the estate under Boskovic. The baroque reconstruction of the castle and the building of a spectacular staircase was accomplished 1692 – 1699 according to Domenic Martinelly´s design. The manor´s administration resided for a long time in the properties of Úsov Castle. The first forestry school in Moravia was instituted in the castle in 1852 – 1867. In 1898 Jan II from Liechtenstein approved establishment of a Forestry and Hunting Museum with rich collections of animals from the extents of Liechtenstein´s manor and from the hunting trips to Poland, Italy, Africa and India. Úsov castle was chosen for their installation. The Liechtensteins owned the castle until 1945, and then it was taken into administration by the state. Since 1995 the castle has belonged to the town of Úsov.