National Cultural Monuments of the Czech Republic

Konopiste Palace

Konopiště is a palace, which become famous as the last residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne, whose assassination in Sarajevo triggered World War I. The bullet that killed him, fired by Gavrilo Princip, is now an exhibit at the castle"s museum. The castle was apparently established in the 1280s by Prague Bishop Tobiaš as a Gothic fortification with a ...
Founded: 1280s | Location: Benešov, Czech Republic

Bezdez Castle

Bezděz Castle construction began before 1264 by order of Přemysl Otakar II. It was one of the most important royal castles in the Czech lands until its destruction in the Thirty Years" War. A year after Přemysl’s death, the castle Bezděz, which was still unfinished, became the place of imprisonment of Queen Kunhuta and her underage son Václav II (or Wenceslas II), kept under lock and ...
Founded: c. 1260 | Location: Bezděz, Czech Republic

Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk

The Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk is the final work of Jan Santini Aichel, a Bohemian architect who combined the Borrominiesque Baroque with references to Gothic elements in both construction and decoration. In 1719, when the Roman Catholic Church declared the tongue of John of Nepomuk to be incorruptible, work started to build a church at Zelená hora, where the future saint had received his early education. I ...
Founded: 1719-1727 | Location: Zdár nad Sázavou, Czech Republic

Hradisko Monastery

Hradisko Monastery was originally a Benedictine monastery, from the mid-12th century a premonstratensian monastery in Olomouc. It was established in 1078 and it serves as an military hospital since 1802. The four-winged building with a rectangular platform, with corner towers and a moat, is divided by an inner lateral wing into two parts - the convent and the prelature. While the northern part of the monastery was built ...
Founded: 1078 | Location: Olomouc, Czech Republic

St. Stephen's Cathedral

The St. Stephen's Cathedral is one of the most important cultural sites in the city. It is protected as a cultural monument of the Czech Republic. Located on a hill in the place of an older church (originally a basilica) The temple was built in Romanesque style in 1057 and rebuilt in the 14th century in the Gothic style. In the presbytery is a large altar dedicated to St. Stephen, patron of the cathedral. In the ...
Founded: 1663 | Location: Litoměřice, Czech Republic

Kost Castle

Kost Castle is is privately owned by Kinský dal Borgo noble family. It was first proposed by Beneš von Wartenberg in 1349 as a possible construction site and was completed by his son Peter von Wartenberg. It retains most of the original features and is overall very well preserved and maintained. The castle is known for its so-called 'White tower'. In about 1414 the family of Zajíc von Hasenburg moved there; later the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Libošovice, Czech Republic

Buchlov Castle

The Buchlov royal castle was built in the first half of the 13th century, but archaeological finds suggest that the area around Buchlov castle was settled in the oldest periods of civilization. The first castle was created with two massive prismatic towers situated on opposite parts of a rocky plateau. A high palace on the southern part of the yard was built at the same time and it was surrounded by a wall. The second co ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Buchlovice, Czech Republic

Hrubý Rohozec Castle

Hrubý Rohozec is a castle in Turnov. The original structure was connected to a polygonal tower by a defensive wall. Its purpose, in the 14th century, was to monitor the trade route running below it. Between the two parts of the castle Jan von Šelmberk, and later Konrad Kraiger Kraigk, built Gothic palaces. During the Renaissance the Wartenberg family rebuilt the complex in the style of a chateaux. Albrecht ...
Founded: c. 1280 | Location: Turnov, Czech Republic

Holasovice Village

Holašovice is an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a traditional central European village. It has a large number of outstanding 18th- and 19th-century vernacular buildings in a style known as South Bohemian folk Baroque, and preserves a ground plan dating from the Middle Ages. Holašovice was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Holašovice is first mentioned in 1263. ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Jankov, Czech Republic

Trebic Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter of Třebíč placed is one of the best preserved Jewish ghettos in Europe. Therefore, it was listed in 2003 (together with the Jewish Cemetery and the St. Procopius Basilica) in the UNESCO World Heritage List and it is the only Jewish monument outside Israel specifically placed on the List. The Jewish Quarter is situated on the north bank of the River Jihlava, surrounded by rocks and the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Třebíč, Czech Republic

Ducal Rotunda of the Virgin Mary and St Catherine

The Ducal Rotunda of the Virgin Mary and St Catherine is Znojmo"s most valuable monument, and features one of the oldest fresco in the Czech lands. Particular importance of this painting is that besides the religious motives it displays also the praising portrayal of the ruling Přemyslid dynasty. The painting was commissioned by Konrad II of Znojmo on the occasion of his wedding with Mary, daughter of Uro&scaro ...
Founded: 1080s | Location: Znojmo, Czech Republic

Duchcov Palace

Duchcov palace houses a museum with a collection of historic furniture. Also on display is the painting and portrait gallery of the Waldsteins, including portraits of the most famous member of this family, Albrecht von Wallenstein, Duke of Friedland, by Anthony van Dyck. One room is dedicated to Giacomo Casanova, who was employed here as a librarian from 1785 to 1798, and his memoirs were written here in the years before ...
Founded: 1675-1685 | Location: Duchcov, Czech Republic

Jánský vrch Castle

Jánský vrch castle stands on a hill above the town of Javorník in the north-western edge of Czech Silesia, in area what was a part of the Duchy of Nysa. For most of its history the castle belonged to the Prince-bishops of Breslau (Wrocław) in Silesia. The castle is first mentioned in written sources in 1307, when it was still the property of the Princes of Svidník. In the 1348, they sold ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Javorník, Czech Republic

Kunstát Castle

Kunštát Palace is located in the site of medieval Kunštát castle mentioned in 1380. In 1448 it became the property of King George of Poděbrady. The medieval castle was rebuilt to the current palace in 16th and 17th century. Today it is a venue for events.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Kunštát, Czech Republic

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, ...
Founded: 1497/1664 | Location: Kroměříž, 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

Chotesov Abbey

Chotěšov Abbey is a former Premonstratensian nunnery founded between 1202 and 1210 by the Blessed Hroznata and settled by nuns from Doksany Abbey. The new foundation soon acquired wealth and influence, to the envy of the surrounding lordships and territories. In 1421, during the Hussite Wars the nunnery was occupied and destroyed by a Hussite army under Jan Žižka. During the Thirty Years' War, in 1618, the ...
Founded: 1202 | Location: Chotěšov, Czech Republic

Zbraslav Abbey

The Cistercian Abbey of Zbraslav was one of the most significant monasteries of the Cistercian Order in the Kingdom of Bohemia. Founded by King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia in 1292 it became the royal necropolis of the last members of the Přemyslid dynasty. The abbey was abolished by the Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II in 1789. The best-known abbot of this monastery was Peter of Zittau († 1339) who ...
Founded: 1292 | Location: Praha-Zbraslav, Czech Republic

Zbraslav Abbey

The Cistercian Abbey of Zbraslav was one of the most significant monasteries of the Cistercian Order in the Kingdom of Bohemia. Founded by King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia in 1292 it became the royal necropolis of the last members of the Přemyslid dynasty. The abbey was abolished by the Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II in 1789. The best-known abbot of this monastery was Peter of Zittau († 1339) who ...
Founded: 1292 | Location: Praha-Zbraslav, Czech Republic

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

São Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic centre of the Portuguese city of Lisbon and Tagus River. The strongly fortified citadel dates from medieval period of Portuguese history, and is one of the main tourist sites of Lisbon.

Although the first fortifications on this hilltop date from the 2nd century BC, archaeological excavations have identified a human presence in the Tagus valley as far back as the 6th century BC. The first fortification was, presumably, erected in 48 BC, when Lisbon was classified as a Roman municipality.

The hill was first used by indigenous Celtic tribes, then by Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians as a defensible outpost that was later expropriated by Roman, Suebic, Visigothic, and Moorish peoples. During the 10th century, the fortifications were rebuilt by Muslim Berber forces, these included the walls or Cerca Moura ("Moorish Encirclement").

Kingdom

In the context of the Christian Reconquista, the castle and the city of Lisbon were freed from Moorish rule in 1147 by Afonso Henriques and northern European knights in the Siege of Lisbon during the Second Crusade; this victory was the only notable success of that failed crusade. According to an oft-repeated legend, the knight Martim Moniz, noticing that one of the doors to the castle was open, prevented the Moors from closing it by throwing his own body into the breach, thus allowing Christian soldiers to enter at the cost of his own life. With the taking of the castle Christian forces were able to maintain the defense of Lisbon until the end of the 12th century.

When Lisbon became the capital of the kingdom in 1255, the castle served as the alcáçova, a fortified residence for Afonso III, in his role as governor. It was extensively renovated around 1300 by King Denis I, transforming the Moorish alcáçova into the Royal Palace of the Alcáçova. Between 1373 and 1375, King Ferdinand I ordered the building of the Cerca Nova or Cerca Fernandina, the walled compound that enclosed the entirety of the castle. The master builders João Fernandes and Vasco Brás were responsible for its construction. This wall, which partially replaced the old Moorish walls, was designed to encircle previously unprotected parts of the city. Completed in two years, it had 77 towers and a perimeter of 5,400 metres.

The castle and the city resisted the forces of Castile several times during the 14th century (notably in 1373 and in 1383–1384). It was during this period (the late 14th century) that the castle was dedicated to Saint George by King John I, who had married the English princess Philippa of Lancaster. Saint George, the warrior-saint, was normally represented slaying a dragon, and very was popular in both countries.

From this point onward many of the kingdom's records were housed in the Torre de Ulisses, also known as the Torre Albarrã, until the reign of Manuel I. The Portuguese National Archive is still referred to as the Torre do Tombo. Between 1448 and 1451, the master builder was paid several stipends for his work on the palace. These public works continued until 1452, with additional payments being made for labor and materials to convert the building from a fortified castle to a royal residence.

Around the early 16th century, following the construction of the Ribeira Palace beside the Tagus river, the Palace of Alcáçova began to lose its importance. An earthquake occurring in 1531 further damaged the old castle, contributing further to its decay and neglect. In 1569, King Sebastian ordered the rebuilding of the royal apartments in the castle, intending to use it as his official residence. As part of the rebuilding, in 1577 Filippo Terzi demolished one of the towers near the principal facade of the Church of Loreto. However, many of the works were never completed after the young king's apparent death during the Battle of Alcácer Quibir. The following Portuguese dynastic crisis opened the way for sixty years of Spanish rule and the castle was converted into military barracks and a prison. On 30 December 1642, Teodósio de Frias the Younger was appointed master builder to continue the works begun by his father, Luís de Frias, and his grandfather, Teodósio de Frias. This was part of a greater plan by the Spanish forces to recommission the fortification.

However, after Portugal regained its independence following the Portuguese Restoration War, the works were taken over by the Portuguese government. On 6 November 1648, Nicolau de Langres was called upon to take over the design, execution and construction of a new fortification that would surround the Castle of São Jorge and the city walls of Lisbon. In 1650 the military architect Mateus do Couto was named master builder of the project and reconstruction took on a new formality: although the military engineer João Gillot built new walls in 1652, construction again followed Couto's plans between 1657 and 1733. In 1673, the Soldiers' Hospital, dedicated to São João de Deus, was installed on the grounds beside the Rua do Recolhimento. At the end of the 17th century the Recolhimento do Castelo was constructed along the southeast angle of the courtyard, and in 1733, new projects were initiated by master Custódio Vieira.

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake severely damaged the castle and contributed to its continuing decay: apart from the walls of the old castle, the soldier's hospital and the Recolhimento were left in ruins. The necessity of maintaining a supporting military force within the capital city required expansion of the site's role of garrison and presidio. From 1780 to 1807, the charitable institution Casa Pia, dedicated to the education of poor children, was established in the citadel, while soldiers continued to be garrisoned on site. Inspired by the events of the earthquake and the following tsunami, the first geodetic observatory in Portugal was constructed in 1788 at the top of one of the towers of the castle, later referred to as the Torre do Observatório.

Republic

As part of the commemorative celebrations marking the foundation of nationhood and restoration of independence, the government of António de Oliveira Salazar initiated extensive renovations at the site. Most of the incongruous structures added to the castle compound in previous centuries were demolished and there was a partial restoration of the Recolhimento. In addition, on 25 October 1947, a monument dedicated to Afonso Henriques, presented by the city of Porto, of a replica created by Soares dos Reis (in 1887) was installed on the grounds.