Zvířetice is a vast castle ruin situated some 2 kilometres south-west of Bakov nad Jizerou, a small town in the Central Bohemian region. Overlooking a small village called Podhradí, Zvířetice has a rather interesting history: originally built as a gothic castle, it was renovated in the rennaissance style in the 16th century. The renessaince castle was first destroyed by a fire in 1693 and although it was reconstructed in no time, further devastating fires occured again in 1720 after the castle being struck by lighting. Zvířetice has been abandoned ever since.
Being a great source of building material for the locals, the burnt-out castle was taken apart during the years following the devastating fires which caused it to fall into disrepair very quickly. For example, while one can still see the entire castle tower on Karel Hynek Mácha’s drawing and photo from the end of the 19th century, a part of it collapsed only a few years after these were taken. The castle tower was turned into a lookout tower in the 1930s by the Czech Tourist Club.
The unique Zvířetice 3D Project was originally based on the following vision: to provide the possibility of seeing and visiting the ancient and nonextant castle in all its glory again. With the use of first-rate computer graphics, the project depicts the castle ruin in its real surroundings the way it looked in 1683, which was also the year when the building operations reached their peak.
The castle reconstruction, which has the form of a virtual 3D project, is complemented by a large physical model of the castle. This model has been sited in the new Zvířetice v Pohradí Tourist Information Centre that opened in 2015. A brand new nature trail has also been installed in the surroundings of the tourist information centre and the adjacent parking lot, which comprises of seven different stations and leads to the castle ruin.
Both the 3D project and the physical model of the castle will become a part of a feature film project called Zvířetice – The Resurrection. The film comprises of a video clip and a documentary and depicts everyday life at Zvířetice at three different periods: when it was a medieval castle, a renaissance castle and also life at Zvířetice today when it is a castle ruin – all three of which are depicted through the stories of three different characters.
Zvířetice has been the property of Bakov nad Jizerou town since 2007 and its gradual restoration has already started. Thanks to the funding provided by the European Union, the Zvířetice Tourist Information Centre opened in 2015 and a new bridge to the courtyard as well as a new outdoor staircase to the tower were both constructed.