The Czech Republic has been a country only since 1993 when the ancient lands of Moravia, Bohemia and Silesia were combined as one. Since then millions have traveled to this area learning about the country so long kept hidden.
With a history dating back over 1,000 years, the Czech Republic boasts many UNESCO World Heritage sites, a large number of architectural and historical attractions, natural parks, medieval towns and beautiful villages. This varied landscape has been home to Kings, European rulers, artists, and scholars.
These influential people have left their mark on the Czech Republic’s history in many ways. Visitors can, in part, relive this history through the castles they left behind. Today we will explore 5 castles dotting the Czech countryside.
Gothic Kost is located in the “Bohemian Paradise” region which is known for its astonishing landscape and historical monuments. Kost castle is one of the best preserved castles in the Czech Republic. This castle is different because is it was built down in a meadow and not on top of a hill but doesn’t mean it lacked the ability to defend itself. Part of its “charm” is its very own medieval torture chamber complete with guillotine, rack, stocks wheels and thumbscrews.
Founded in 1348 by the Czech King and Roman Emperor, Charles IV, this is one of the best symbols of the Czech Kingdom remaining. Karlstejn castle was the home of the crown jewels and many relics important to the state. The castle defenses were challenged many times and many times they held. Karlstejn has also been remodeled to add in both Gothic and Renaissance styles.
Another Gothic castle with an exciting history. Originally built in the 13th century as a hunting castle, Krivoklat was a prison during the 16th century, burned down in the 16th century and was restored during the 19th. During your visit, you will see a library containing many historical manuscripts, a display of hunting weapons, Gothic paintings and an exhibit of torture devices.
This Gothic beauty was built in 1241 and has been part of the noble family Sternberk for years. Medieval Cesky Sternberk sits high on a cliff over looking the Sazava River. The fortifications and towers reflect the medieval beginnings but the interior has been remodeled to the early Baroque style. This castle offers a very interesting exploration of castle living.
This 13th century royal castle was modified to a Baroque fortress during the 17th and 18th centuries. A very interesting aspect of Spilberk’s history is that during the Hapsburg rule, it was the most feared prison in the monarchy. Today the “jail of nations” is home to the Brno museum offering exhibits of the history of the castle and city. Visitors can also tour prison cells.
Have you been to any of these castles?
Which one would you like to visit?