Medieval castles in Czech Republic

Cornstejn Castle

Cornštejn Castle stands on a strategic location, surrounded by magnificent landscape of the Dyje (Thaya) River Valley. It was built on royal demesne land which was subordinated to Bítov Castle and which was pawned and later (1308) granted as a fief to the noble family of Lichtenburg. In the 1320s Raimund of Lichtenburg, King Wenceslaus II’s favourite, decided to strengthen the security of Bítov Castle and the road co ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bítov, Czech Republic

Bítov Castle

Bítov Castle is located on a steep promotory towering above the meandering River Želetavka. Built in the 11th century, Bítov is one of the oldest and largest Moravian castles. A Přemyslid fortified settlement originally stood on the site and included the Chapel of Our Lady. The fort was rebuilt in the first half of the 13th century as an impregnable Gothic castle guarding the southern boundaries of the Přemyslid lan ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bítov, Czech Republic

Grabstejn Castle

The original Gothic castle of Grabštejn (or Grafenstein) was founded in the 13th century. In 1562, it was bought by Crown Chancellor Georg Mehl von Strelitz. Between 1566 and 1586, he had rebuilt the castle in Renaissance style and thus turned it into a representative chateau. Georg Mehl also had a steward"s house built below the castle, which was around the year 1830 rebuilt in Classicist style. Shortly befo ...
Founded: 13th century/1566 | Location: Hradek nad Nisou, Czech Republic

Kynzvart Castle Ruins

Kynžvart was once significant castle, located at one of the highest elevations on the territory of the Czech Republic (827 m), used to stand near the famous Kynžvart Chateau of Austrian Chancellor Metternich. Its original name was Königswart (Royal Guard) as it was built as a border stronghold of the kingdom in the 13th century. The castle frequently changed its owners and it even served as a hideaway for thieves i ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lázně Kynžvart , Czech Republic

Blansko Castle

Blansko castle, likely built in 1431 but first mentioned in a reliable source in 1532. Currently the site of the Blansko Museum. The following exhibitions are permanent: Moravian Karst, The Oldest Ironworks, Ironworking in the 19th and 20th century, the castle"s history and the history of Blansko in relation to developing improved measurement devices. There are also exhibitions, cultural events and music concerts hel ...
Founded: 1431 | Location: Blansko, Czech Republic

Nový Hrádek Castle

The ruins of Nový Hradek castle dates from the 14th century, on a promontory overlooking Dyje river. It is situated in the National Park Podyjí, accessible from the villages Podmolí or Lukov, but only on foot or by bicycle. The first historically proven owners of this territory were the Premonstratensian monks from the Louka monastery in Znojmo, who exchanged it with the Moravian Margrave John Henry ...
Founded: 1358 | Location: Znojmo, Czech Republic

Egerberk Castle Ruins

Egerberk is a ruined castle near Klášterec nad Ohří. First mentioned in 1317, the castle belonged to Wilhelm who first started to bear the attribute name 'of Egerberg'. Wilhelm was a friend of John of Luxembourg and accompanied him on his journeys. His brother Fritz was given several villages and started to bear the name of one of them - Pětipsy. The castle was then sold to the House of Šumburk from ...
Founded: 1317 | Location: Klášterec nad Ohří, Czech Republic

Pravda Castle Ruins

Pravda Castle was a castle, the remains of which can be found on the hill above the village of Pnětluky. The name literally means the truth. The first document to mention Pravda was written in 1380. Today"s castle was probably built during second half of 15th century on top of a prehistoric fortification. At the time of construction it was a very modern and strong fortress. During the 16th century the importance ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Pnětluky, Czech Republic

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.