Work: Volunteers will work mainly in the castle park: maintaining paths and roads, removing invasive plants (e.g. nettles), cutting grass and branches, collecting garbage, removing wood or stones and gardening. The work is manual, physically demanding and sometimes you will need to work in a very steep slope because the castle is located on top of a hill! You will also help in the castle area (basic renovation and maintenance tasks – cleaning, painting). Bring working clothes that can get dirty or damaged and good solid shoes. It’s also good to have long pants to protect you from nettles.
Study part: Learning more about the castle and its park (a guided tour around the castle). There will be an opportunity to organize a community dinner with local guides. Please bring recipes for your favourite meals and some pictures or music from your country/region of origin.
You will sleep directly in the castle in one big room with bunk beds. You need to bring your own sleeping bag. There is a toilet and a shower with hot water. Next to the bedroom, there is a small kitchen where you will prepare your meals together as a group. A common room is also available. There is a fireplace outside in the backyard of the castle where you can have barbecue.
GPS coordinates: 50.846133 – 14.876186. Grabstejn castle. It is in the village of Chotyne (860 inhabitants) in Northern Bohemia. The nearest town is Hradek nad Nisou (about 7,500 inhabitants) which is connected to Chotyne by public transport. The castle is located in a beautiful mountainous countryside which is perfect for hiking.
Meeting point: Chotyne train station. The meeting time is usually in the afternoon. Please note it takes at least 2 hours to get there from Prague. The exact info will be provided in the infosheet.
Leisure time: You can go hiking in the beautiful hilly countryside surrounding the castle and climb the famous mountain Jested (1012 m) with a unique mountain hotel on the top. The nearest city is Liberec (ZOO, botanical garden and much more). It is possible to visit a regional brewery and many other interesting sights, go swimming or boating, and/or visit a neighbouring dog-training army unit. Please bring some games and musical instruments.
Grabstejn is a former medieval castle which was later rebuilt as a renaissance chateau. It was severely damaged under the communist regime but has gone through reconstruction since. Now it is an example of care for historical heritage presenting the life of high society through centuries to the wide public. The castle visitors are offered classical guided tours but also different cultural and educational activities. The castle is state-owned and is run by National Heritage Institute under the Ministry of Culture. The aim of the ESC project is to help local staff to maintain the castle park and its surroundings. In this project, you are actively working for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Sustainable Cities and Communities (UN SDG11).
This project is especially suitable for volunteers who like gardening and want to explore the history of the castle. Please note that work will be physically demanding, so it’s perfect for hardworking individuals. Smoking is limited to designated areas. Allergies notice: pollen, bees, and wasps.