National Cultural Monuments of the Czech Republic

Brno Ossuary

Brno Ossuary is an underground ossuary. It was rediscovered in 2001 in the historical centre of the city, partially under the Church of St. James. It is estimated that the ossuary holds the remains of over 50 thousand people which makes it the second-largest ossuary in Europe, after the Catacombs of Paris. It"s been opened to public since June 2012. A three-chamber crypt was established under the paved floor of St. ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Brno, Czech Republic

Lidice Memorial

Lidice village became a symbol of Fascist despotism in World War II, when it was completely destroyed by German forces in reprisal for the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich in 1942. The Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia had tragic consequences for Lidice. In order to suppress the growing anti-Fascist resistance movement, security police chief SS Obergruppenfuhrer – Reinherd Heydrich was appointed deput ...
Founded: 1942 | Location: Lidice, Czech Republic

Karlstejn Castle

Karlštejn Castle is a large Gothic castle founded 1348 by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor-elect and King of Bohemia. The castle served as a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia as well as the Bohemian/Czech crown jewels, holy relics, and other royal treasures. It is one of the most famous and most frequently visited castles in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1348, the construction works were directed by the la ...
Founded: 1348 | Location: Karlštejn, Czech Republic

East Bohemian Museum

The East Bohemian Museum was designed by Jan Kotěra, a prominent Czech architect in 1909-1912. Kotěra"s initial design, presented in 1907, was criticized for its exaggerated decoration and luxurious design. Moreover, the city did not have sufficient funds for such a grandiose design. Consequently, Kotěra created a new design that was finished in 1908. The museum is modeled on a classic temple. As far ...
Founded: 1909-1912 | Location: Hradec Králové, Czech Republic

Bouzov Castle

Bouzov Castle was established at the turn of the 14th century with the purpose to watch over the trade route from Olomouc to Loštice. The minor aristocratic Buz of Bludovec family were its first recorded owners from 1317-1339. The castle also takes its name from the family. Ownership of the castles was then changed, and the Lords of Kunštát were among the most important medieval owners. According to tradition, the Bouz ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Bouzov, Czech Republic

Holy Trinity Column

The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olom ...
Founded: 1716-1754 | Location: Olomouc, Czech Republic

Cesky Sternberk Castle

Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles. The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdesla ...
Founded: 1241 | Location: Český Šternberk, Czech Republic

Lednice–Valtice Cultural Landscape

Between the 17th and 20th centuries, the ruling dukes of Liechtenstein transformed their domains in southern Moravia into a striking landscape. It married Baroque architecture (mainly the work of Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach) and the classical and neo-Gothic style of the castles of Lednice and Valtice with countryside fashioned according to English romantic principles of landscape architecture. At 200 km2, it is one ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Lednice, Czech Republic

Hrádek u Nechanic

Hrádek u Nechanic is a 19th-century Gothic style Romantic château near the town of Hrádek. It was built between 1839 and 1857 as a representative and summer seat by Count František Arnošt of Harach, one of the most important representatives of the Jilemnice dynasty. The young Austrian architect Karl Fischer led building operations and suggested decoration of the chateau"s interior. T ...
Founded: 1839-1857 | Location: Hrádek, Czech Republic

Cervená Lhota Castle

Červená Lhota castle stands at the middle of a lake on a rocky island. Its picturesque Renaissance building is a destination of thousands of tourists every year. Its name Červená Lhota meaning 'red lhota' can be explained by the colour of the château"s bright-red roof tiles. There is also a park, where the Chapel of the Holy Trinity is located. The existence of an original for ...
Founded: 1542-1555 | Location: Jindřichův Hradec, Czech Republic

St. Maurice Church

St. Maurice Church is one the most precious buildings of the late Gothic style in Moravia. The three-naved structure has a cross vaulting dating from the middle of the 14th century. A more advanced net vault may be seen in the presbytery. Two asymmetric prismatic towers were built on the western facade. In the western part of the church there is a unique double spiral staircase. The real gem is the late Gothic sculpture ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Olomouc, Czech Republic

Buchlovice Castle

Buchlovice castle history is closely connected with nearby Buchlov Castle which grew more and more uncomfortable in the late 17th century, and that is why Jan Dětřich of Petřwald decided to build a new castle. Buchlovice castle was built between 1707-1738 as a copy of an Italian villa in baroque style, by Domenico Martinelli. It is one of the most romantic buildings in this country. In 1800 it became proper ...
Founded: 1707-1738 | Location: Buchlovice, Czech Republic

Kacina Palace

Kačina is a significant empire style palace built in place of the defunct medieval village Kačín. It was built as a prestige mansion of the supreme burgrave of the Kingdom of Bohemia and president of governorate Jan Rudolf Chotek (1748–1824) from 1806 to 1824. The architectural scheme was drawn up by Saxon royal architect Christian Franz Schuricht (1753–1832) from Dresden. Johann Philipp J&oum ...
Founded: 1806-1824 | Location: Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

Veverí Castle

According to legend, the castle Veveří was founded by Duke Conrad of Brno in the middle of the 11th century. Nevertheless, the first written mention about the castle is from the years 1213 and 1222, when King Přemysl Otakar I used the fortified castle as a prison for rebellious peers. Initially, it was apparently a wooden or masonry residence situated near the Romanesque church of the Assumption of the Vi ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Brno, Czech Republic

Krásný Dvur Palace

Krásný Dvůr is a Baroque palace with English-style landscape park and a garden inspired by that of Versailles. The first records of Krasný Dvůr date back to the 14th century, since then numerous aristocratic families held possession of it until Count Hermann Czernin von und zu Chudenitz bought it in the middle of the 17th century. Count Franz Josef Czernin von und zu Chudenitz decided to sta ...
Founded: 1720-1724 | Location: Krásný Dvůr, 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 th ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bítov, Czech Republic

Emmaus Monastery

The Emmaus monastery is an abbey established in 1347 in Prague. The area became the only Benedictine monastery of the Bohemian kingdom and all Slavic Europe. In the 1360s, the Cloisters of the Monastery were decorated with a cycle of 85 wall Gothic paintings with parallels from the Old and New Testaments. The Gothic cloisters also feature original faded frescoes with bits of Pagan symbolism from the 14th century. The mon ...
Founded: 1347 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Historic Centre of Telc

Telč is situated at the south-west tip of Moravia, half-way between Prague and Vienna. According to legend the foundation of the city is associated with the victory of the Moravian Prince Otto II over the Bohemian King Břetislav in 1099. It was this victory that meant the building of a chapel, later to become a church, and a settlement which forms today’s Old Town. The city saw its greatest period of expa ...
Founded: c. 1099 | Location: Telč, Czech Republic

Brevnov Monastery

Břevnov Monastery is a Benedictine archabbey founded by Saint Adalbert, the second Bishop of Prague, in 993 AD with the support of Duke Boleslav II of Bohemia. Hence the first Benedictine male monastery in Bohemia, it also has the oldest tradition of beer brewing in the Czech Republic, up to today, the Břevnovský Benedict beer is brewed here. The first monks descended form Niederaltaich Abbey in Bavaria, ...
Founded: 993 AD | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Saints Peter and Paul Rotunda

Pre-Romanesque Rotunda of Saints Peter and Paul dates from the late 10th century and is the oldest preserved sacral structure in Czech Republic. The first mention of the rotunda dates from 976. It collapsed in the 15th century, but was restored later. Inside the rotunda there is an exhibition of archaeological finds.
Founded: 10th century | Location: Starý Plzenec, Czech Republic

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.