Taxidermyd Dogs of Bitov Castle

About 25 kilometers northwest of Znojmo in the Czech Republic, where the Setvka and Dij rivers meet, is the small village of Bitov. Here, the Bitov palace stands on a dramatic courtyard overlooking the confluence and vast areas of forest and forest. Built in the 11th century, Bitov is one of the oldest and largest Moravian castles.

During its long history Bitov was owned by many different nobles and rulers, each of whom has left its mark on the history and design of the palace. The 1860s dining room has Neo Gothic furniture, and the smoking room has porcelain that once belonged to the Haas family, who co-own a famous porcelain manufacturer, one of the oldest in the Czech lands. Was. And then, there is this surreal collection of taxidermied dogs, one of the highlights of the palace.

The last owner of the castle, Baron Georg Haas Jr., was an animal lover, and kind of eccentric. He was the proud owner of thousands of animals, birds, and exotic creatures from around the world, including a lioness named Mitzi-Mausi, with whom he enjoyed sharing lunch every day. But his favorite pet was the docile dog, of which he had over 200 in the palace grounds.

When the dogs died, the barons buried most of them in the castle cemetery. Each tomb is decorated with a wooden cross and a small metal plate bearing their names. But a select few underwent special treatment at a local taxidermist’s workshop, where they were prepared with their heads and ears raised, as if lying patiently in anticipation of their master’s return. The collection, which includes terriers, spaniels, poodles, boxers and hounds of every shape and size, is the largest collection of its kind in the Guinness Book of Records.

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The warden of Bitov Castle is responsible for the care of the Kan Bidder collection.

After the establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, Bitov Castle and the village became part of the Protectorate. Although Haas was an outspoken fascist and anti-Nazi during World War II, he was still an ethnic German. At the end of the war he was given only 24 hours by the Czech partisans to give up everything and leave the country. Heartbroken, Haas commits suicide by shooting himself.

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Bitov Castle. visual: Tono Balucha / Flickr

, daily Mail
, Radio Prague International

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