Bezděz Castle construction began before 1264 by order of Přemysl Otakar II. It was one of the most important royal castles in the Czech lands until its destruction in the Thirty Years' War.

A year after Přemysl’s death, the castle Bezděz, which was still unfinished, became the place of imprisonment of Queen Kunhuta and her underage son Václav II (or Wenceslas II), kept under lock and key in very spartan conditions by Wenceslas's guardian Ota Braniborský, Margrave of Brandenburg, after the Battle on the Marchfeld. The boy, only 6 or 7 at the time, remained there alone when his mother escaped under a pretext and it is widely accepted that the place left its mark on him. As an adult, and ruling monarch, he returned to Bezděz to order the construction of a chapel, one of the best preserved areas of the castle today.

The castle complex was completed during the reign of Wenceslas II, who used the local forests very frequently for hunting and relaxation. It served for this purpose until the Thirty Years' War when, as part of the round of confiscations after the Battle of the White Mountain, it fell into the hands of Albrecht of Wallenstein. The famous general started turning the castle into a fortress in 1623, but then halted the construction work. In 1627 he decided that it should be rebuilt into a monastery for the Benedictines from Montserrat, who later brought a copy of the Virgin of Montserrat (the Black Madonna) in 1666, making the castle a pilgrimage site for years to come.

In 1686 Stations of the Cross were built along the path to the castle and the whole complex served for religious purposes until 1785, when the monastery was dissolved on the orders of Josef II. Pilgrimages were banned and the castle became forlorn, slowly becoming dilapidated. The Romantic Movement's passion for medieval monuments helped preserve the castle, which is a sole preserved example of an unaltered castle of the 13th century.

Parts that are accessible to visitors are the castle precincts including the royal palace, burgrave's house and the unique early Gothic Chapel. The castle tower offers a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. The castle’s romantic silhouette gave rise to many legends and inspired a great number of writers, artists and composers, the most famous of whom included the poet Karel Hynek Mácha and the composer Bedřich Smetana.

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Bezděz, Czech Republic
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Details

Founded: c. 1260
Category: Castles and fortifications in Czech Republic

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jan Pochobradský (4 months ago)
to be honest, I was kinda dissapointed??‍♂️so I’ll start with negatives: - Parking quite far (as long as you are not one of the very first at the higher Parking lot). Especially with toddlers.?️ - At the top wasn’t anything spectacular to see (I would have expected so shows or exhibitions)??‍♂️ Positives: - the Castle looks nice from far away? - enough bistros on the way up? - Adventurous Road up? I’ve just visited a lot of castles, ruins,…so I might be a bit too critical. If there was something cool up there, I’d consider to visit again. But the kids had fun anyway? I’d give it 3,5⭐️
Guilherme Simoneti (5 months ago)
Incredible. One of the most well preserved castle in CR. Highly recommend.
Gabriela Havrankova (7 months ago)
Very interesting historical sight it's definitely worth visiting even though you must walk up quite a steep hill. The views from top are amazing. Guided tour with Samuel was interesting even for teenagers.
Viktor Kiyashko (14 months ago)
A gorgeous castle. Nice hike up the hill and breathtaking views when you're on the top. Even if it seems abandoned and ruined, there're several rooms preserved with small exhibits inside. A true jewel of Czech castles and well worth the visit.
Maxim Brook (17 months ago)
Incredible view from the castle, long and hard hiking, but castle itself seems to be not maintained well..
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