John’s Castle was built near the hunting ground at a site enclosed from three sides by river Dyje. Its main purpose was that of an impressive hunting lodge and a meeting point for the nobility before the hunt. After the hunts the interiors were also used for parties and feasts. The building provided an accommodation for the game keeper and his family.
Prince Alois I. of Lichtenstein ordered the construction in 1801 and architect Joseph Hardtmuth designed this Gothic Revival style folly. Unfortunately the prince died in 1805 and his younger brother John I. of Lichtenstein oversaw its completion in 1808.
Hardtmuth’s original design was on much grander scale but the prince desired something more understated. Nevertheless the building is very rare in its purpose and style in the Czech Republic. Every tower has its own design and floor plan. The towers are connected together by three perimeter walls on which are secured the balconies. At the fourth side of the square building is situated the main part of the building with several rooms and a dining hall.
The main part consists of three state rooms for representative purposes and two sitting rooms. The largest room is the Knight’s hall used for feasts and parties. The room was utilized predominantly by men and their female companions were given a use of the sitting rooms in the towers. The south tower is connected on the second floor level by a balcony with the west tower. The visitors have been able to see the splendid view from the third floor level in the south tower.
The construction of the site was challenging because of the lesser stability of the subsoil of the riparian forest. There were needed wooden beams to strengthen the subsoil. On this reinforced platform was raised the structure. It was built from stones shipped from the Pálava Hills and Mikulčice, the Great Moravia Empire settlement. The architect strived for the perfect image of a medieval English castle ruin that he focused on every detail be it the stairs, garderobes or embrasures.
The ruin has been owned by the state since 1945 and it is in care of the Ministry of Culture through the Czech National Heritage Institute.
John’s Castle is a part of the Lednice-Valtice Area. Its area is measured at 2 200 ha. The Lednice-Valtice Area was registered in the list of monuments protected as World Heritage Sites (WHS) by UNESCO in 1996.