Bítov Castle is located on a steep promotory towering above the meandering River Želetavka. Built in the 11th century, Bítov is one of the oldest and largest Moravian castles.
A Přemyslid fortified settlement originally stood on the site and included the Chapel of Our Lady. The fort was rebuilt in the first half of the 13th century as an impregnable Gothic castle guarding the southern boundaries of the Přemyslid lands. In the 14th century a new inner ward was built along with Late Gothic fortifications. The Lords of Bítov became the new owners of the castle and based themselves here for four centuries. They carried out further improvements to the defensive capabilities of the castle.
Bítov finally underwent Baroque remodelling, and gained its present form at the beginning of the 19th century, when it passed into the hands of the Counts of Daun. The descendants of Marshal Daun, the famous military leader, rebuilt the castle in the spirit of the Romantic style. Between 1811 and 1845 the richly-decorated state rooms were created, on the basis of proposals of Anton Schuler. The culmination of the re-Gothicising work was the remodelling of the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin by Viennense architect Anton Rucker, who left the original Gothic furnishings. At the end of the 20th century, Bítov underwent extensive refurbishment.
The structural arrangement of the castle through remodelling, which was carried out several times later on, is an example of the Czech Early Gothic castle architecture. The arrangement is highly intricate and leads in one direction towards the front moat, to which both the wedge-shaped round towers pointed. The outer tower, above the moat, was later merged with the body of the castle, while the other tower stands alone at the rear of the inner court.References:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.