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

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User Reviews

Vojtěch Tatra (2 years ago)
Nice place. Castle itself is mostly a ruin, but interesting anyway, buildings under it are nice although.
David S. K. Muessle (2 years ago)
Castle ruins in a beautiful state with a great location above the city. Well seen from around the city as well as great views from the castle over the surrounding area. Only the inner court and the old stables can be visited without a tour. Various tours are offered (here even in English) to see all of the remaining buildings of the castle you need to book various tours. Due to time limitations we only could take the palace tour. Would definitely visit again to explore the rest of the site.
Pterodactyl (2 years ago)
It was very cool. The view from the tower was really amazing! The visitation was interesting. In the yard you can try archery! I recommend
Nika B (3 years ago)
You can go in even if it is closed on Mondays. You can wonder around, soak up the views but everything is closed, no toilets, no souvenirs and only some pubs open. The village itself is quiet.
Šimon Kopecký (3 years ago)
Well, O can't speak for history, so pay a visit ?
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