Strakonice castle

 

You can find detailed information about history and events at the castle at  www.hradstrakonice.cz

 

The Strakonice castle is an exceptional historical monument, both historically and architectonically. There is not much information about its foundation. From the available sources we know only that on the junction of the Otava and the Volyňka rivers there was a palace occupied by secular lords  Bavors of the Dart crest, and by Johannites, the members of a chivalric Church order, in about 1243 already. Until this time the castle had been a mansion of the Bavor aristocrats only. The order of St John of Jerusalem, Johannites or the Maltese Knights Order, gained the whole castle in the beginning of the 15th century.

The oldest parts of the castle bear marks of the gothic architecture (The Saint Prokop’s church, the Rumpál tower), the Renaissance influenced the building of the Jelenka tower and the front side of the east part of the castle was rearranged in the classicist style. But these gradual reconstructions haven’t dramatically changed the medieval-like appearance of the castle with the closed second court and the castle ditch near the river.

The area of the castle has now been a place for various cultural actions.  It is a residence of the Museum of  Central Otava Basin with its exhibitions dedicated to Strakonice, pipers’ tradition or the production of fezes and motorbikes ČZ. In the western part of the castle there is a safari in a former moat where dwarf goats, sheep and ponies gambol.

 

The Capitular Hall

A former commendams of Johannites, the Maltese Knights Order, arose in the oldest part of the Strakonice castle in the 13th century. It was built on a rock bill above the junction of the Otava and Volyňka rivers on the east-west axis. Its western part dividing the domain of Johannites from Bavors’ estate is constituted by the late Romanesque Capitular Hall. It also used to be called a chapel of St Jiří (George). Its building is set into the first half of the 13th century. A precious porch on the eastern wall from the 30’s in 13th century and a round window with a profiled reveal and a bud decoration above the entrance from the court are original architectonical features preserved in the Capitular Hall. The mural paintings from years 1320 to 1480 are also remarkable. The Capitular Hall is in administration of the Museum of Central Otava Basin this day. It serves for various cultural actions, concerts, exhibitions and lectures.

 

Cloisters

Members of the Maltese Knights Order had cloisters with early gothic brick fan-vaulting built in 80’s and 90’s of the 13th century. It represents a precious display of the early gothic stadium of the architectonical development of the Strakonice castle. It evokes the time of its formation thanks to its typical atmosphere. Cloisters are decorated by mural paintings that compose one of the most extensive mural cycles of this era in Bohemia. The cloisters are accessible from the Capitular Hall and are a part of its sight-seeing tour in the course of the museum season.

 

Jelenka

Jan of the powerful line of the lords of Rožmberk (1484–1532) was an important person of the Maltese Knights Order. The time of his reign (1511–1532) pressed a tinge to the castle and the town and the marks of his architectural modifications have still been visible. He over-built the southern part of the castle and had the tower Jelenka built. It should have served for feasts, entertainment and amusement for knights after deer hunts in the Strakonice grounds. The hall in the tower with its historically valuable panelled ceiling and dormer windows overlooking the moat was a place of rest and entertainment for the grand prior and his company. Mural painting of the Rožmerk crest rose often looked down to the feasts and heard larky and hoarse tales of knights. While the lords were having a good time in Jelenka, mischievous young squires were sitting in the antechamber trying to imitate manners of the aristocracy.

Today the hall is a place for exhibitions and chamber cultural actions.

 

Rumpál

The gothic cylindrical tower with an edge called Rumpál was built in 70’s and 80’s of the 13th century in the time of Bavor II as a dojon. It is 35 m high and there are 99 steps to the top. A long time ago it was used as a torture chamber and a prison where the prisoners were lowered by a machine called rumpál (winch). It was a symbol of a fort and medieval law as well. Nowadays, the tower is a look-out one; its ambulatory offers you a magnificent view on the whole area of the castle, town and the river basin of the Otava and the foothills of Šumava. Climb on Rumpál is included in the tour in the Museum of Central Otava Basin.

 

The chateau

The baroque chateau from 1715 was built during the priory of Ferdinand Leopold Dubský of Třebomyslice as a grand priory mansion. It used to have two symmetrically situated entrances on the sides. But those were soon bricked up, and a middle entrance gateway we use for entering the first court of the Strakonice castle was built in 1745.

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