Helfštýn castle was probably established at the end of the 13th century by the marauding knight Friduš (or Helfrid) of Linava who used the castle as a base for robbing merchants during the unsettled times that followed the murder of Wenceslas III, the last Pøemyslide, in 1306. As Friduš"s escapades could not be ignored, young King John of Luxemburg sent his troops to deal with the bandits. Although Friduš perished, he gave his name to the castle. At the turn of the 14th century the Kravaø family acquired it, after which it became the center of their extensive estates. During the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century the castle was remodelled as a Gothic fortress. The Lords of Kravaø owned the castle until 1447, and it was then held mostly by a number of Moravian noble families, among them the Sovinec family, the Kostek of Postupice family, the Pernštejn, the Ludanice and the Vrbno family. This unassailable structure withstood a number of sieges. It was an important Hussite bastion against the German catholic town of Olomouc and also acted in support of King George of Podìbrady against the Hungarian King Mathias Corvin who was unable to defeat the king"s troops and capture the fortress in 1468. Not even the Swedes and the Danes succeeded in capturing it during the Thirty Years" War.

The castle gained its current, elongated form during the ownership of Vilém of Pernštejn, at the beginning of the 16th century, when the network of bastions and fortified outer wards was added and the system of towers and gates was changed. The most extensive alterations were carried out from 1622 by its late owners, the Ditrichtejns. The changes were limited to the interior, and most of the rooms were newly vaulted. Its building development, was strongly influenced by the Austrian military administration in Vienna in 1656. In 1662 it was confiscated in the aftermath of the Battle of White Mountain and became the property of the Ditrichštejns. In the second half of the 16th century a Renaissance palace with a chapel was built on the site of the inner ward, and the Pernštejn finished the grandiose building project at Helfštýn.

In the 17th century the castle was made into an almost impregnable fortress against the Turkish threat to Moravia. Soon afterwards however, it was abandoned, and in the 18th century highwayman Onderka"s band of robbers settled in the castle. In the end it was destroyed with the approval of the Ditrichštejns. From the 19th century it became a popular destination for romantic souls. Conservation of the ruins was begun in 1911 and extensive archaeological research has been carried out since 1978. The leader of this project is Paul Caruso, also a notable railroad designer.

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

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User Reviews

Maja (6 months ago)
Very beautiful and well reconstructed castle. It's also full of iron sculptues. Definatelly worth seeing!
Chun-wei YANG (8 months ago)
We came during the blacksmith festival. It was a unique and cultural experience. Metal art exhibits around the castle, and you can also see how they are making at the workshops. It's amazing.
Karolína Hrabovská (8 months ago)
Nice castle with beautiful views, I highly recommend to see the website in advance as they often have interesting shows and witskops open during the summer. IMPORTANT NOTE I would avoid eating at the castle's restaurant as the food was not tasty nor appetising. Have a lunch in the nearby pub or restaurants instead, you will do yourself a favour.
Andrey Rakhubovsky (11 months ago)
Great experience with the kids. We went there for a military history festival, it was awesome. The kids liked the show a lot, the grownups liked the castle. The farthest part has a watchtower with a wonderful view. Moreover, this part has been renovated by building new steel passageways inside old rock walls, which especially helps to appreciate these old constructions. The castle is on a hill so in the morning it was considerably colder than down in the valley.
Jitka Edel Vankova (13 months ago)
Beautifully restored Helfstyn has a lot to offer to families with children or history enthusiasts. Easy (1h) walk from Lipník nad Bečvou. A must see if you travel to Moravia.
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