Svojanov Castle, Czech Republic

The Svojanov Castle, which is a partial ruin, is one of the oldest royal castles in this country. It is located in the middle of a deep forest in the beautiful valley of the Křetínka River. Its architecture includes a unique mixture of the gothic and Empire styles. Svojanov Castle was established in 1224 by the Royal Burgrave Svéslav of Bořitov. King Přemysl Otakar II named the castle Fürstenberg. The castle’s main task was to protect the Trstěnice Trade Route. The castle included an internal courtyard protected by up to 8-metre thick fortifications and the similarly thick outer wall of the old palace. The sixty-metre high watchtower served as the last place of refuge for the defenders. After the death of King Přemysl, the castle passed into the ownership of the King’s widow, Kunhuta. The castle was later owned by the Lords of Boskovice, who constructed an ingenious system of late gothic fortifications with seven bastions and a squires’ house. The squires’ house has been preserved in its authentic state. The Lords of Trczka von Leipa built a new renaissance palace decorated with sgraffito on the site of the original fortifications. Nowadays, it is a ruin. The castle’s owners changed frequently. In 1879, the last private owner decorated the palace interiors with late Empire-style paintings. The castle is now owned by the town of Polička. It is used as a venue for cultural events. Visitors can visit the gothic columned hall, an exhibition on the history of the castle, the kitchen, the pantry, the gothic cellars or the torture chamber.

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