Many Czech tourists do not know that the fairy tale was filmed in Švihov, as the castle was not well known in the film. On the other hand, foreign visitors, mainly from Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia, where the fairy tale is still very popular, often go to the castle precisely because of Cinderella and know that it was filmed here, said Lukáš Bojčuk and the mayor Václav Petrus to ČTK. On Thursday, November 16, 50 years will pass since the release of one of the most popular fairy tales in the Czech Republic.
The famous film will be commemorated by two photo spots in the castle courtyard, which will represent scenes from a fairy tale and visitors will be able to take pictures with them, said Bojčuk. The photo spots will be officially opened in November, because the castle is closed during the winter, and visitors will not see them until the next tourist season from April 2024. “Or in December, when we will have a one-day screening of the fairy tale here,” said the castellan.
Even though the Gothic water castle has its own rich history, the famous film has become more popular and reminiscent of the famous film in the last ten years or so. Since 2019, the exhibition Behind the Secret of Cinderella’s Slipper has been accessible without a guide on the four floors of the castle’s White Bastion. On it, visitors will find Vinck on the way with magic nuts, Cinderella by the stream, Cinderella with the owl Rozárka, a scene from the competition for the best shooter, the royal ball and the final scene with the slipper and other key motifs of the fairy tale. There are video projections, photos from the filming and an original script, and especially children can use worksheets with a set of quizzes, questions or a maze that will lead them to the secret of Cinderella’s slipper. “We are trying to revive the story and show that Cinderella was filmed here. After five years, the exhibition might need some change,” remarked the castellan.
Švihov played Cinderella’s home in the story. “I needed a rich farmhouse, and as there are a number of barns and ground-floor rooms, which were shabby at the time and suitable for a period film, that suited me. But with the fact that I will deny the castle of Švihov itself, which I will not show there at all, only one old, ancient wall from Gothic times,” recalled Vorlíček in an interview with ČTK in 2013. So the filmmakers added a bunkhouse to one of the walls, inserted frames and slightly uneven glass into the empty holes in the wall, and added a gate, which is conquered by the prince looking for Cinderella. Perhaps also because the castle did not appear in the film, according to the castellan, visitors do not always associate the castle courtyard with the film.
“It’s not quite like the castle in Moritzburg, Germany, where the castle scenes and the big ball were filmed. People recognize him and the castle organizes exhibitions about Cinderella every year in winter, where over 200,000 visitors come,” said Petrus. Švihov, with its 1,700 inhabitants, offers fairy-tale lovers a five-kilometer route that connects three filming locations. The first stop is at the castle, then people will go to the orchard, where Cinderella had a stable with a horse and a shelter for the owl and magic nuts, or to the pond, into which the carriage with the stepmother and stepsister Dora overturned during the final run. “Some people in the city still remember the filming and know which places the filmmakers used then,” said the mayor. However, he doesn’t know of any local people who would, for example, act as extras in the film.
Švihov is the third most visited state monument in the Pilsen Region. This year, 38,840 tourists came there by the end of October, an increase of 2,300 year-on-year. Three Nuts for Cinderella is far from the only film that was shot here. The filmmakers also chose the stone castle, for example, for the movie The Jester and the Queen, for the fairy tales Crown Prince or Three Lives. “Foreign productions were also shot here, for example the historical series The Borgias from 2012, the Russian Three Musketeers from 2013 and other historical or fantasy films,” Bojčuk added.