The castle first developed on the site of a hill-fort documented by archaeological research in 2011 at the turn of the 13th and 14th century. It possibly existed by 1359, definitely by 1394. However its appearance and dimensions are not as yet known. The palace probably stood in the southern, most protected section, on the site of the current south wing. It seems the castle was enclosed by a moat, whose later deepening created the cellars under the north wing, while the western moat is supposed to be just beside the west façade of the house. Further lines of defence on the north and west side also seem to have existed. In 1425 the castle was conquered by East Bohemian Hussites; later it was reconstructed. The preserved round water tower (so-called dungeon) was part of the outer bailey. In 1527 it is documented that the rear part of the castle was pulled down and reconstructed; the foundations of the current west wing and southwestern cellar date from this stage. Vilém Trčka of Lípa, who undertook a journey to Italy in 1551, had the northern and western arcaded Renaissance wings of a new country house built after Italian examples from 1560–7. An overhaul of the out-buildings (brewery and stables) also took place and the reconstruction of the complex continued from 1567 with the addition of the original burial church of the Holy Trinity. In 1602 Jan Rudolf Trčka had a summer pavilion built above the game reserve in the valley of the Zlatý potok or Goldbach (southwest of the house, mentioned 1589, expanded in 1617) and he founded a garden here, all on a mighty embankment. By 1636 a ball game house (later changed into a granary) was constructed in the former moat beside the summer pavilion, which was connected with the house by a hidden corridor. After the murder of Adam Erdman Trčka (together with Albrecht of Wallenstein) in Cheb in 1634 and the death of his father in the same year the Trčka family died out in the male line. Opočno was confiscated and it passed to an officer in the Imperial army, Rudolf Colloredo von Walsee. A fire at the house in the 1690s was the cue for changes under Hieronymous Colloredo von Walsee, of which the main part was the construction of the south wing (reminiscent of the Renaissance wing); a new roof; the remodelling of the façades to their current appearance and lowering the tower with a clock above the north wing. The house ended up with as a three-winged two-storey arcaded building with short wings above the Zlatý potok valley, facing which was in all likelihood a single-storey arcade and lower wing. It is likely that the Colloredo masterbuilder Nicolo Rossi was involved in the reconstruction and in 1709, 1710 and 1712 visits by Giovanni Battista Alliprandi were recorded; the St. Anne chapel in the southeast wing is his work. The eastern connecting wing was probably removed in this period and the façades of the side wings received Baroque articulations. From 1716–20 Giorgio (Jiří) Quadroni added an administration building on the northwest corner of the complex (in front of the brewery). In the late 18th century a new ground-floor stewards house appeared, built between the brewery and northern side wing of the house, in front of the well tower. From 1807 the Zlatý potok valley was remodelled as a landscape park, under Rudolf Josef Colloredo-Mansfeld. Apart from the changes to the groundcover, a new layout was established at the bottom of the valley with fishponds and little waterfalls, all linked by little paths with a Romantic staircase and bridges, Chinese pavilion and folly. In the Renaissance garden north of the summer pavilion (newly Neo-Classical) a greenhouse also appeared (currently a café) and a sizeable orangery. Minor Neo-Classical alterations also took place within the house and forecourt area. In 1858 the riding school was rebuilt. From 1864–75 the park was altered by Johann Liehm (particularly the Rudolf valley). The wall closing off the east side of the courtyard was removed during a thorough renovation of the house in 1878, and a viewing terrace was created here. In 1895 the exceptionally valuable and large family painting gallery was brought to Opočno from Prague. It had originally developed from the end of the 18th century at Schloss Döbling near Vienna (part of the collections were restituted after 1989 and taken away). In 1897 the Neo-Renaissance façade of the ball game house was exposed again. The interiors were remodelled and newly furnished in the first decade of the 20th century (using the earlier Renaissance and Baroque furniture and other objets), whose value is also partly created by the extensive library and armoury. The well tower and a connecting wing with card room by the southwest corner were also altered; a Neo-Renaissance viewing loggia appeared next to the latter. From 1974–82 a renovation of the façades of the buildings took place.

Text © Karel Kuča et al