“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer - and often the supreme disappointment."

Ansel Adams .

Babiccino udoli

The territory of the Babiččino údolí (Grandmother’s Valley) lies close to the Ratibořice Chateau and the town of Česká Skalice in Hradec Králové Region and is protected as a national monument in two categories. The valley is a national cultural monument for its architectural and cultural values and is the setting for Božena Němcová’s classic novel “Babička – Grandmother”. The Babiččino údolí National Nature Monument was declared to protect its near-natural forests and meadows on the alluvial plain of the Úpa river.

Unfortunately, most of the meadows in the monument have been drained, which led to a reduction in their species diversity. The fringes of the large meadows, the smaller meadows and the old orchards have kept more of their original species.

In the years 1702 to 1708 the then owner of the estate Lorenzo Piccolomini had a Baroque summer palace built at Ratibořice which he intended to use for summer sojourns and in hunting period. The small château was built in the style of Italian country villas, it ranked among the unique samples of this type of lordly seat in this country. The building, erected on a slightly rhomboid ground-plan, has one storey, a hipped roof and an unusual roof structure with six chimneys. Both the ground-floor and the first floor have one large hall lined with residential chambers. The two oppositely situated staircases are inserted in the centre of the layout. The former chapel now lies below the level of the ground-floor of the servants' wing, built in the latter half of the 18th century. In 1792 the indebted estate was purchased by Duke Kuronský, Zemgalský, Litevský and Zaháňský, Petr von Biron. In 1795 the duke renounced his land (Kuronsko) to the Empress Catherine II and moved permanently to Zaháň and Náchod. Ratibořice became Petr Biron’s favorite summer seat.