The original Borek Castle was founded shortly before 1415 by the Kraa noble family. One of the later owners, Václav of Moravěves and Kopisty, was a catholic and a reformation opponent. Therefore, in 1421 the castle was captured by the Hussites, burnt down, and it became their support centre for a while. The Hussites besieged the castle and afterwards captured it again in the years 1432 and 1433. In the 1520s, the owner of the castle had it renovated, and a new facade was added and painted red. That is where the name Červený Hrádek (Red Castle) comes from.
In the following period, the Konipas family, Ojíř of Očedělice and the Glatzs from Starý Dvůr lived in the castle. In 1516, Lorenz Glatz bequeathed the castle to his daughter Anna who was married to Šebestián of Veitmile, lord of Chomutov. His heirs sold the manor to Kryštof of Karlovice who gradually sold it up. In the end, he only kept the stone works and the mine. From 1576 the rest of the castle was then owned by his stepson August of Gersdorf.
Then Bohuslav F. Hasištejnský of Lobkovice bought the castle, and step by step he purchased all the former parts of the manor back. He was also the owner of the nearby City of Chomutov. Bohuslav’s son Jáchym traded his property with his cousin Jiří Popel of Lobkovice. Jiří Popel introduced tough re-catholicization. When the population of Chomutov rebelled against this, he punished the rebels: He had two of them executed in Červený Hrádek, arrested many others, and deprived Chomutov of its privileges. Thus he forced an oath of fidelity out of his enemies. However, in 1594, Jiří Popel fell out of the Emperor’s (Rudolf II) favour, and was arrested and deprived of his entire property. On order by the royal chamber, the manor was then sold up piece by piece. In 1605, the castle, Jirkov, the castle in Blatno, and 24 villages were acquired by Adam Hrzám of Harasov.
The rich Adam Hrzán was also very thrifty. Nevertheless, being under pressure, he supported the Estates Uprising in 1618. His three sons were supposed to be punished for their father’s attitude by being deprived of all their property but, in the end, they managed to save it. The castle was besieged, captured and plundered a couple of times during the Thirty Years War and was burned down twice. In the late thirties, Adam’s heir Jan died and the widow married Colonel Morzin. For a while, the Červený Hrádek was acquired by Axellill from Leffstadt. That was when the Swedish Queen was giving Czech manors to her generals – so sure was she that the Swedes had victory in their hands. But, at the end of the forties, the Swedish lost, and the manor was returned to its original owners.
The manor was taken over in 1646 by Jan Adam, son of Jan Hrzán. Although the castle was slowly becoming a ruin, he decided to renovate it and built a new building on the remains of the original one. The reconstruction of the castle lasted from 1655 until 1675, including the preparatory works. It was the time when the castle was given its current look. A lot of features and typical elements indicate that the architect of the renovation was Antonio della Porta, and Jan Spatz from Prague was the author of the stuccos. After the renovation, the repair work in the interiors was continued, and for many years. The most remarkable and the best preserved part is the Knights’ Room on the first floor reaching up to the roof space. The original, partly preserved decoration of the chapel is also very valuable.
When Jan Adam died, his son František Maxmilián took over the manor, and the reconstruction of interiors continued. Between the years 1687 – 1688 the sculptor Jan Brokoff worked at the castle and developed a series of sculptures, 2 fountains, vases at the stairway, and other works. The castle is the birthplace of Brokoff’s son Ferdinand Maxmilián, later a famous European Baroque sculptor.
Then three Hrzán brothers lived in the manor for some time between the years 1696-1697, one after another. The last one, Zikmund Vilém, built the Baroque stairway at the east frontage. In 1707 the manor was bought by Ondřej from Lichtenštejn. After his death, his wife took care of the property, and later on their daughter Dominika, who was married to Duke Jindřich from Auersperk.
In 1742, Maria Theresa was at war with half of Europe because she wanted to defend her right to her inheritance. The castle was alternately captured by the French dragoons, Saxon garrison and Bavarian riders. During the Seven Years War it was occupied by the Prussians, who plundered the manor for three weeks (1762). Jan Adam from Auersperk, the heir, then had the castle repaired again (1766).
Since 1771 the castle was kept by the Rottenhans. Jan Alexandr bought the manor, and six years later he passed it on to his son Jindřich František from Rottenhan. He was one of the most important personalities of that time. He was a pioneer in the textile industry and founded a couple of manufactories, an ironworks (Gabriela’s ironworks near Brandov) and a factory producing wooden products and toys in Kalk. At that time, the manor and especially the castle flourished.
During his life, the chapel was enlarged, a library was built, the frontage was repaired, the gardens were enlarged and improved and the English style park was founded. Gabriela, his younger daughter, inherited her father’s abilities and talents. She was married to Duke Jiří Buquoy, who supported the industrial production. Gabriela took over the manor after her father’s death in 1809. The evidence from that period suggests that she had a nice relationship with the dependants whom she helped in order to decrease their poverty: she would collect money for them and brought Christmas gifts. She supported art and literature. She employed, for example, Jan Křtitel Tomášek, an important composer of the period before Smetana.
In 1863, their daughter Isabella, countess Trautmannsdorfová, took over the manor. Later her daughter Gabriela, married to Prince Ludvík Hohenlohe – Langenburg, replaced her. Their son Gottfried Hohenlohe took care of the manor from 1892. He had some other major parts renovated.
The lineage Hohenlohe – Langenburg was the last aristocratic family to own the castle and the manor. Gottfried had 6 children. In the end, the castle fell into the hands of Max Egon, with whom the other siblings litigated because of the inheritance for many years. The dispute was never resolved. In August 1938, Max Egon enabled a meeting for the leader of the Sudeten Germans Konrád Henlein and the English Lord Walter Runciman, which foreshadowed the Munich Agreement. That is why the castle of Hohenlohe – Langerburg lineage was confiscated in 1945.
After nationalisation, the castle was made available to the public with a guide, the castle warden. Later, a centre for school youth was founded in the premises; after some time it was changed to an administrative office taking care of foreign veterans. Then it was the home of Greek children, a training college for miners, and a dormitory for students of a chemical technical school and a schooling centre for the Chemické Závody (chemistry factory) in Záluží u Mostu. From 1967 the castle was used by the Chomutov Hospital (sanatorium) and, finally, it became a nursing home and a detached rehabilitation centre.
During the first twenty years after the Liberation, the building deteriorated. Maintenance work started only after the nursing home was established there. The forest company from Janov took care of the castle gardens. During the period of 1945 -1946, the original furnishings of the castle were catalogued, marked and delivered to various places by the National Culture Commission. It is now very difficult to gather the original pieces back, as comprehensive lists are available only for the library and the paintings. You can see them at the castle in Benešov nad Ploučnicí and at the District Museum of Chomutov; the paintings from Krásný Dvůr had been returned to the castle.
The castle has been the property of the City of Jirkov since 1996. Its extensive reconstruction was finished in 2006. At present, it is used for cultural, educational and information purposes (it is administered by an institution that takes care of culture, education and information).