Švihov castle was built by the House of Rýzmberk ze Skály. It was besieged by the Hussites during Hussite wars, the garrison surrendered after their water moats were siphoned. It was rebuilt between 1480 and 1489 by the order of the castle’s owner, Puta Schwihau von Riesenberg, in the Late Gothic style. His sons continued in rebuilding the castle after he died and invited a famous architect Benedikt Reid. In 1598 Kavkové z Říčan family took the control of the castle, but were forced to sell it to Czernins of Chudenitz 50 years later in 1598, due to their poor management. Then the Thirty Years‘ War came and the castle was unsuccessfully besieged by the Swedish army.

Benedikt Reid invented the castle’s moat system with massive bastions (horseshoe shaped ground plans opened into the keep). He finished his works until 1520. He used the same system when he designed the fortification of one of the largest castles in Bohemia called Rabí. After the war, Habsburg emperor Ferdinand III. ordered the demolition of the castle, possibly out of fear for it being an „unconquerable fort of anti-Habsburg resistance“. Luckily, thanks to constant postponing of the demolition, only a part of rampart was damaged. Castle palaces, chapel and other parts of the bastion were used as a granary, devaluating the whole complex, yet protecting it from being rebuilt. The castle stayed in Czernin’s hands until the nationalization in 1945.

Architecture

Architecture The castle consists of two residential palaces, five-level entrance tower and a chapel built on top of the bastion. Only small parts of the rampart remained undamaged with four bastions -The Red Bastion, The White Bastion, The Green Bastion and The Gold Bastion. There were two water moats around the castle. The inner moat was placed where today’s inner courtyard is and the outer moat was between the inner and outer rampart (of which a part is still standing). If needed, the moats could be filled with water from three nearby ponds.

The castle’s interior consists of typical late Gothic and Renaissance furnishings: furniture, rich tapestries, pewter and copper kitchenware, weapons and arms. Valuable wall paintings from the 16th century can be found in The Red Bastion, the chapel and in other rooms. Open to public are the castle’s armory, the kitchen (with original furnishings that originate mainly from the 18th century), the feast hall, the chapel, the bed chambers and The Great Hall with wooden cassette ceiling that originates from Dobrovice Castle.

The castle's chapel was built between 1480 and 1489 by Půta von Schwihau The exterior of the chapel remained mostly undamaged, the interior in the other hand was until its reconstruction in 1890. The stairs leading to the chapel were destroyed as well. The entrance hall has a net vault, it's ribs lean onto decorated consoles and converge into one paint keystone. The nave of the chapel is also vaulted, but all four ribs were rough-hewed for unknown reasons.

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Details

Founded: 1480-1489
Category: Castles and fortifications in Czech Republic

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

jaewan Sung (2 years ago)
Rather than inside the circuit, better taking a photo from the bridge
Miroslav Suchy (3 years ago)
Nice water castle, nice photos from behind over the water channel
Jiří Váňa (3 years ago)
Extremely well preserved middle ages castle. My favorite. Worth to go on one of their night events.
Charlotte Reynolds (3 years ago)
A medieval castle that oozed history. Set in picturesque surroundings, still surrounded by water on which you can take a boat trip. Sadly not very access friendly for those with limited mobility because of its antiquity with uneven stone steps, floors, and pathways worn over centuries of use. There was an open air music festival when we visited so I was well entertained on 'terra firma' while the others went on the tours. Very glad I went and enjoyed my day.
Martin J. Glozar (3 years ago)
Nice castle and surroundings. It's also possible to take a boat to see the remnant of water fortification. Small pub inside. Pretty archer girl ;-)
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Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.