Hauenštejn is a medieval castle in the Czech Republic built in the 13th century by Přemysl Otakar II or his son Václav II to guard royal paths and local mines. The first known owner was Mikuláš Winkler, burgrave of Loket Castle, who sold Hauenštejn to the monastery in Doksany. The monastery exchanged it for another building with King John of Luxemburg. His son Charles IV enlarged the castle‘s domain. The castle frequently changed its keepers in the second half of the 14th century and the 15th century but it more or less remained royal property.
The rich family of Šlik that started silver mining near Jáchymov won the castle in the 16th century. The Šliks rebuilt the castle in the Renaissance style after a fire in 1600. In 1663 the Šliks sold the castle to the Saxe-Lauenburg ducal family and it became part of the Ostrov domain. The castle was in the hands of the Baden family from 1689. When the last male member of the family died in 1771, the property of the Badens in Bohemia was inherited by the royal family of Maria Theresa. The Habsburgs sold it to the Buquoy family in 1837. Countess Gabrielle Buquoy started to rebuild the castle in a Romantic style. Ferdinand Buquoy continued the reconstruction under the influence of historism, taking its examples from England.
In World War II it was used by the Hitler Youth and it was also used for snake experiments – a snake from the genus of Coluber was set in the location to fight the adder and a kind of serum was developed there that Rommel used in Africa. After the war it was confiscated by the state and communists made it an accommodation for the uranium miners in Jáchymov, and then for a youth organisation. In 1958 it was condemned as not suitable for living and closed up. From that time it was constantly being ruined, partly by time, partly by vandals.
In 2000 Pavel Palacký, a descendant of Czech historian František Palacký, bought the castle from the village of Krásný Les and started with its sanitation.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.