It is not clear when and by whom the Roztoky fortress was found. Appearance of the fortress was documented by the archaeological research from the period of the 2nd half of the 13th century, when the place around the fortress consisted of a huge stone residential tower, surrounded by a high city wall, a moat and a rampart. The floor plan of the residential tower is marked in the stone pavement of the courtyard. In written sources the fortress is explicitly presented from the year 1416, in a dispute over the land between the owner of the manor of that time and the monastery of Benedicts inBřevnov (now a part of Prague).
At the end of the 14th century the Roztoky manor got into ownership of brothers Eberhard and Reinhard of Mühlhausen (town between Kassel and Erfurt in Germany), who belonged to a wealthy patrician family. The importance of the family in thecontext of contemporary society was not insignificant because Eberhard was a treasurer of the emperor Charles IV. After his death (1381) Roztoky was passed to his younger brother Reinhard, who began an exacting reconstruction of the early gothic fortress in a comfortable residential seat. He demolished the residential tower, and built a sumptuous palace on the south east side of the fortress. On the first floor of the palace he placed a bay chapel decorated with wallpaintings, preserved almost in its original look. The paintings represent a unique piece of art, comparable with manorial range of paintings. Their design is closed to monumental decorations of the significant church of St. Clement in nearby Levý Hradec. The same artists from the same workshop probably worked on the both works of art.
In 1453, Lords of Donín, who realized the completion of circular courtyard buildings in 1476, attained Roztoky. The storied buildings were accessible from courtyard by several external staircases.
Boryněs of Lhota were major renaissance builders, who owned Roztoky from the year 1565 till 1623. The first holder of Roztoky, knight David Boryně of Lhota, was a provincial officer, a successful farmer and a landlord, but also a very harsh master. He created good financial precondition to further building development. But in the year 1590 when mob from surroundings of Prague and his own vassals plundered the castle, the knight was tortured for his cruel behaviour and died a year later, probably due to its consequences. More extensive construction works of the fort apparently took place in three stages up to the late 16th century – the ground floor was gradually vaulted and the 2nd floor wasbuilt including roofing with painted beamed ceilings.
David Boryně was seized due to the participation in uprising of Czech estates against the emperor Matyáš. Because of the dire financial situation Roztoky castle and the whole manor was forcibly sold to Karel of Liechtenstein in the year 1623.
In 1623 Charles I. Liechtenstein, who became the most famous member of this family in the Czech lands, purchased the Roztoky manor. In 1599 he converted to catholic religion and in the following years gradually acquired a number of high court offices. From the year 1621 he held the position of the royal governor in Bohemia and became the second most important man in the kingdom after the Czech king, respectively the emperor of Habsburgs. Thanks to his position he could significantly expand his ancestral property. At the beginning of the thirty years ' war he bought, or receivedfrom the emperor, number of dominions confiscated from Protestant nobles. He also received large funds by participating in the so-called coin consortium, which minted debased coins. Depreciation of the currency led to state bankruptcy in the year 1623. In the central Bohemia, except Roztoky, he also bought e.g. extensive estate of Kostelec nad Černými lesy, whose official administration was of liechtensteins` possession at the time superior of the Roztocky manor. From the year 1623 the Roztoky castle was no longer a manor but it became only a seat of aristocratic administration of the estate and was inhabited by officials.
Today Roztoky castle is museum.References:
The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.
In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.
The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.
In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.
Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.
In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.