Kobersdorf castle was built in 1528 to the site of moated fortress from the 13th century. The history of original castle dates back to the age of Ludwig the German (806-876). The first document of Kobersdorf castle dates from 1229. The fortress withstood the first siege in 1270. 10 years later it was conquered, also 1289 after it was successfully recaptured. Finally, Duke Albrecht I and King Ándrás III concluded the peace treaty of Hainburg in 1291.
In 1319, King Karl Robert sold the estates to Count Simon II of Forchtenstein-Mattersburg. His father and uncle were the brothers of Tota, a spanish court lady of the hungarian King. Both of them have proved themselves in the spanish reconquista and were therefore allowed to wear the spanish eagle in their coat of arms.
About 1430, the artistic decoration of the fortress, from which only the baptistery remained, was made by Count Wilhelm Forchtenstein-Mattersburg, who also changed the main residence of the family from Forchtenstein to Kobersdorf. 1445, Wilhelm put the estates in pawn to the austrish Duke Albrecht VI, who in turn sold the fortress 1451 to his brother, emperor Friedrich III. When Wilhelm died in 1466, he left two daughters. According to the law, the estates has to be given back to the Hungarian Kingdom. But abiding the agreement on ceasefire of 1447, in which Albrecht VI was certified in the posession of Kobersdorf, the estates now were for the first time under Austrian rule.
In 1458 Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, conquered Kobersdorf, but according to the peace of Sopron 1463, the fortress remains in the Hands of Austria. Nevertheless, when count Wilhelm Forchtenstein died in 1466, Corvinus gave Kobersdorf to Weisspriach as a present, in consequence of their unfaithfulness for the Habsburg emperor.
The rampart in westward direction and a bigger chapel were erected in 1482. Both of the buildings were held in the style of the late gothic.
In 1529, the Weisspriach family enlarged the fortress of Kobersdorf to a castle and extend the rampart in the style of renaissance. However, in 1683 the turks captured the castle. They ordered the demolishing of the fortress, which existed until then besides the castle.
In 1704, Franz Kéry sold the estate to his brother-in-law Paul I. Fürst Esterházy. Henceforth, the castle lost its function as an residence. This, on the one hand, causes the preservation of the architectural style, but on the other hand, the castle got more and more derelicted. 1809 it was a quarter for french officers, 1876, a fire destroyed the roof, 1914 and 1942-45 a military prison, and 1945-47, a quarter for the russian red army.
Today the castle is known as a location of concerts, exhibitions and seminars. Parts of the castle can be rented for weddings and celebrations. By agreement, guided visitations are possible.References:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.