Houska Castle

Blatce, Czech Republic

Houska Castle is an early Gothic castle in the municipality of Blatce. It is one of the best preserved castles of the period. Some notable features of the castle include a predominantly Gothic chapel, green chamber with late-Gothic paintings, and a knight's drawing room.

Folklore considers this castle to cover one of the gateways to Hell, built to prevent demons (trapped in lower levels) from reaching the rest of the world.

Houska Castle was built in the second half of the 13th century probably on the orders of Bohemian ruler Ottokar II of Bohemia during his reign (1253–78) to serve as an administration center from which the extensive royal estates could be managed. Later on, it passed to the hands of the aristocracy, frequently passing from the ownership of one to another. The castle was built in an area of forests, swamps and mountains with no external fortifications, no source of water except for a cistern to collect rainwater, no kitchen, far from any trade routes, and with no occupants at its time of completion. From 1584 to 1590, it underwent Renaissance-style modifications, losing none of its fortress features as it looks down from a steep rocky cliff. In the 18th century, it stopped serving as a noble residence and fell into a state of disrepair before being renovated in 1823. In 1897, it was purchased by Princess Hohenlohe and in 1924, the times of the First Republic, bought by the President of Škoda, Josef Šimonek.

During World War II, the Wehrmacht occupied the castle until 1945. The Nazis were said to have conducted experiments into the occult. As of early 2020, the castle was open to the public and had been since 1999. Tourists may visit the chapel with fading frescoes and murals 'including pictures of demon-like figures and animal-like beings'.



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Blatce, Czech Republic
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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Czech Republic

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dylan Combellick (Boots on the Ground) (13 months ago)
Super cool castle with a self-guided tour. Very authentic and a great history with textual guides in many languages.
Zuzana Loudal (13 months ago)
Very interesting place. Nice visit.
Nigel Kelly (2 years ago)
I have been waiting 5 years to see this place and it didn't disappoint. It's easy to see why so many legends and mysteries surround the place. Would have been cool to spend the night.
Jaksemnatom (2 years ago)
Nice place to visit. Pleasant, informative but still short and so good enough for younger kids, guided tour. Essentially, it is a lived in castle. Highly recommended place to go to. The guided tours are, I believe, every full hour only, hence if one just missed the tour there would be an hour wait for the next one
Giel Mosselmans (3 years ago)
"The gateway to Hell" The tour was not in English, because the guide couldn't speak very good English. You can ask the guide for a map with information about tour, but it felt like we where missing out on the details. It was not bad, but alittle bit disappointing. They could have done more with the place.
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