All of sudden, in the middle of Lednice gardens, a minaret appears as if by magic.Central Europe had always been lands of Christians and rather than holy war was familiar with fratricidal fights between Catholics and Protestants.
According to rumours, a big patron of arts Alois Josef I from Lichtenstein intended to build a church there, on the spot where the minaret stands today. Among vassals resistance rose about a location of the building and that made Alois angry. To show his authority, he let build a mosque with a minaret instead of a church. Such a magnificent constructional plan dropped down because of unstable ground, so typical for wolds of river Dyje. It all began and finished with the minaret. So the rumours say.
The historical version is less attractive. All around the castle we could find Chinese palaces, Turkish bath, Romanian obelisk, Swiss bridge... so why not Islamic minaret? Lichtensteins probably built it simply because they liked it. May be it didn’t even occured to them how many stories and “fairy tales” the minaret would be the cause of.
Moresque architecture has never had an equivalent in Czech lands. It was a bold achievement from Josef Hardmuth, who designed it.
Anyway, the construction of the minaret began in 1797. The centre of the building is a tower, 59, 39 metres high, in whose upper gallery 302 stairs lead. Three other ring-like roofed galleries encircle the tower. What you see depends only on the height to that you can get.
The first floor of the minaret is formed by eight halls, where Lichtenstein kept their collection of oriental items. Floors are made of stone mosaic, the ceiling and walls are decorated with Moorish handwriting. Hopefully, everything will be accessible in time and we will be able to see more than just the spiral staircase.