At Baskets Life, we love castles! We lived in the Czech Republic for two years and explored castles all over the country. Recently, I met Tracy Burns of Tracy’s Travels, who currently lives and writes about the Czech, and she gave us her picks for the five coolest castles in the Czech Republic. This list takes into account castles that are currently intact, in the Czech Republic, opposed to chateaus or castle ruins. If you have a cool castle in the Czech that you think we left off the list, leave us a comment and let us know your choices for the top five coolest castles in the Czech Republic.
Castles were built from the 12th to 15th centuries as fortresses for defense. Chateaus were constructed from the 16th to 19th centuries and, in some cases, at the beginning of the 20th century. They were not erected for purposes of defense but to suit comfortable lifestyles, and they usually included a park or garden. There are so many amazing castles around the Czech, it was hard to choose our favorites!
The Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the world. Dating from the ninth century, it has been the seat of Bohemian kings, Holy Roman Emperors, and Czechoslovak and Czech presidents. The complex features many architectural styles, including Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, which features stunning stained glass windows and the tombs of Czech saints and rulers plus the richly decorated Wenceslas Chapel. Towers, gardens, palaces and museums dot the complex. The ornate Spanish hall was built when Rudolf II called this castle his home. Today’s picture gallery features art from that emperor’s vast collection. The first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš G. Masaryk, and former dissident-turned president, Václav Havel, graced these rooms and had many renovations carried out, especially to the astounding gardens. When in Prague, check out this amazing place and don’t forget to visit the large statues of the Gods protecting the castle. The official website for price, location. and tour information is here https://www.hrad.cz/en/prague-castle/prague-castle-tourist-information/visit-of-prague-castle.shtml.
Although Bouzov was originally constructed in late gothic style during the 13th century, its current fairy-tale appearance was greatly influenced by its look at the beginning of the 20th century. It was inspired by late Gothic and early Renaissance architecture that was heavily influenced by structures in Germany and the Netherlands. Owned by the Teutonic Knights from the late 17th century to the end of World War I, Bouzov shows off many decorations of St. George, one of the order’s symbols. The walls of the Hunting Hall stunningly relate the legend of goddess Diana turning Prince Aktaion into a deer. The Knights’ Hall is breathtaking. It is adorned with a Neo-Gothic fireplace, a Renaissance ceiling, pictures made from stained glass, and exquisite wall paintings. The chapel astounds with its 15th century main altar. Gothic lattice windows grace the castle, too. Be sure to take note of the sundial on the courtyard façade. Bouzov is located about an hour from Olomouc in central Moravia. While visiting this cool castle, ask the tour guide about the ghost that is said to roam the halls. For more information, visit their website http://www.hrad-bouzov.cz/.
Pernštejn Castle is an imposing structure located northwest of Brno, the capital of Moravia. It is also referred to as the marble castle due to the stone that looks like marble used in its construction. The Pernštejn family’s coat-of-arms, decorated with the head of an extinct wild ox, called an auroch, appears throughout the castle. The interior is eclectic in style, sporting Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque designs, among others. Founded in the 13th century by the Pernštejn clan, construction was finished during the 16th century. After the Pernštejns sold the castle for financial reasons in 1596, various owners took possession of the Gothic gem, and the interior went through many makeovers. Vaulted ceilings dot the interior, and the towers offer remarkable views. The Eastern Palace and former chapel are delights, too. The Hunting Hall features a tapestry with idyllic countryside scenes and Renaissance chairs. The Chinese Salon is certainly a highlight – there are blue-and-gold paintings of stunning Chinese scenes on the walls. The 28 Baroque bookcases in the library hold 15,000 volumes. The chapel is gushingly Baroque with its main altar, pulpit, organ, and choir benches all decorated in this style. While here, don’t forget to climb the fairy-tale like tower and ask around about the famous White Lady; if you are lucky, maybe you will spot her around the the castle. The official website with visiting and local information is here. http://www.hrad-pernstejn.eu/.
Český Krumlov Castle and ChateauThe highlight of any visit to the picturesque south Bohemia town of Český Krumlov, this castle and chateau make up the second largest castle complex in the country, with Prague Castle nabbing first place. On the UNESCO World Heritage List, Český Krumlov features five courtyards and 11 hectares of gardens. A Baroque theater and a revolving auditorium also are situated on the grounds. Dating back to 1250 or earlier, the “Little Castle” was constructed by the Lords of Krumlov. The owners of the castle for 300 years, the Rožmberks, made their mark, and their five-petal red rose features throughout the castle and town. The Eggenbergs took over in 1622 and were in charge for almost 100 years. Culture thrived here during their tenure. Then the Schwarzenbergs held on to the castle from 1719 to 1947, making more improvements. The Chapel of Saint George amazes with its Rococo décor. The Masquerade Hall, also Rococo in style, dates from 1748 and shows off murals of 135 carnival-celebrating people, including commedia dell’ arte figures. The Eggenberg Hall is dominated by a gold carriage carved out of nut wood. You can tour this site, and while you are there don’t forget to see the Salt House that is said to be haunted by multiple spirits. The official website is located here. http://www.castle.ckrumlov.cz/docs/en/zamek_oinf_sluzby.xml.
Jindřichův Hradec Castle and ChateauThe third largest castle and chateau complex in the country, south Bohemia’s Jindřichův Hradec, boasts many architectural styles such as Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Classicist, and Baroque. Dating back to the 13th century, the castle is sprinkled with the symbol of the five-petal rose. The Black Tower hails from the 13th century. In the third courtyard there are three floors of arcades and a balustrade on the façade of a structure dating from the 16th century. The 14th century chapel in the Gothic Palace features a mural narrating the legend of Saint George. The 15th century Madonna of Jindřichův Hradec is stunning, too. The main hall of the palace is impressive with its 15th and 16th century Gothic-ribbed vaulting. Another chapel captivates with 15th century wall paintings. In Adam’s Mansion, wall paintings hail from the 1580’s. A colorful Baroque well is adorned with designs of leaves, blossoms, and seahorse figures. To get more information on this cool castle, check out their official website. http://www.zamek-jindrichuvhradec.eu/en/.
We hope you enjoyed our list! Until next time!