Rabí is the largest castle (in terms of area) from all Czech castles. Its name might derive from the German word raben ('raven'), or it could be mangled Czech name vrab(č)í vrch ('sparrow's peak').

The first mention of Rábí Castle dates from 1380, although it is not known exactly when it was founded. It is likely that the Lords of Velhartice established it after 1300 to protect trade routes along the Otava and also to inspect gold-bearing deposits in it. They built a strong palace, ramparts and a keep. Subsequent owners, the Švihovský of Rýzmburk family, continued building work and built the outer ward and two square towers.

At the start of the Hussite rebellions, the Švihovský family searched for havens of supporters of the Catholic side in the district and for their treasures, at Rábí. In 1420–21, the Hussites conquered the castle twice, and legend has it that during the second siege an arrow fired from crossbow hit the trunk of a pear tree and a resulting splinter from the tree hit Jan Žižka in his only good eye. In 1479, the provincial governor Půta Švihovský of Rýzmberk became the owner of the estate and began with a thoughtful remodelling of the castle under the guidance of famous master Benedict Rejt. New living quarters and service buildings were constructed, the castle was enlarged and the fortifications heightened.

Rabí Castle was, from the very start, envisioned as a donjon-type castle. It was built in the form of three separate sections, constructed in tiers above each other. The ramparts were up to 6 metres wide, and had bastions, vallum fortifications and moats. However, building activity exhausted the Švihovský family's finances and the fortifications remained incomplete.

Many alchemical experiences took place during Půta's time as well; a German alchemist who failed to transform lead into gold was then imprisoned in the castle's massive prismatic tower.

The slowly deteriorating complex was completely devastated during the Thirty Years' War, when Mansfeld's soldiers went on the rampage. Emperor Ferdinand III ordered that the castle should have been destroyed after 1650. In the end it was saved, but on the condition that it was not to be repaired. In time it became a source of building material for local peasants.

The last owners, the Lamberk family (from 1708) donated the castle to the Horažďovice Society for the Preservation of Artistic, Cultural and Natural Monuments for a symbolic price of 1 Kč in 1920, and after 1945 it was taken by the Czechoslovak State.



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Rabí, Klatovy, Czech Republic
See all sites in Klatovy


Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Czech Republic

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User Reviews

Simona Hospodková (8 months ago)
The idea was excelent, but it was a rainy day. So our exceptation decreased.
FLnurseER1 (8 months ago)
This castle ruin is easily accessible from the center of the town Rabí. The parking now costs 100 Kč per car, guided tour 160 Kč per person, discounted 130 Kč. We chose limited unguided walk for 50 Kč as we were pressed for time. The short access directly to the ticket booth and castle gate is extremely uneven and steep, full of jutting stones and slippery on a rainy day when we were there. Once you get in, the walking gets much easier, as there are more level dirt paths and maintained grass areas. Inside the restored horse stable was a nice photo exhibition of Šumava localities. When you are done here, consider a stop at the well known restaurant in the town square.
Joe Lobotka (2 years ago)
The largest castle ruin complex in Czechia. To see more than the first courtyard, you need to pay quite a steep entry fee of 150 CZK/person, which also includes a 40 minute long tour guide in Czech. The tour starts at the precise time, no matter what the weather conditions, which can be harsh if it's windy or rainy (remember, it's a ruin). Our guide was a bit rough around the edges and sometimes shouted at the kids or adults in the group to stay quiet, but I personally enjoyed his no BS character. Overall interesting, but I couldn't find the price justifiable, because the complex gets enough visitors and doesn't aim to restore the castle into its full original state.
Tracey Sedlakova (2 years ago)
Really excellent castle tour for a class of 4th graders. The guide was super knowledgable (and also spoke excellent English). Fascinating history, lovely ruins, and beautiful views even on a rainy day…
Vojtěch Tatra (3 years ago)
Nice place. Castle itself is mostly a ruin, but interesting anyway, buildings under it are nice although.
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