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Have you ever slept in a castle? Many facilities of this type offer accommodation and it is worth taking advantage of them. The Czech Svojanov Castle gladly welcomes guests, and I will be happy to write about my impressions from my stay and sightseeing!
I visited this castle and slept in it while exploring the charms of the Bohemian-Moravian Borderland region, which is part of Eastern Bohemia. In addition to its interesting history and unusual location, this castle is famous for one more thing – ghosts and events, the effects of which are discovered after years. In the castle, during the reconstruction and archaeological works, more than 15 bodies were discovered walled up in the walls or ceilings!
Svojanow – location and access
Svojanov Castle is located in the region of East Bohemia (Pardubice Region). The building is located among beautiful fir forests. It is separated from the “main” route by a narrow but asphalt road leading to the top of the hill. The castle is located on the top and there is a car park on its premises (the fee for a passenger car is 50 CZK – for people sleeping in the castle and wedding guests for free).
History of Svojanov Castle
Svojanov Castle is one of the oldest castles in the Czech Republic. It is the only castle that combines the Gothic with the Empirical style and the Middle Ages with the 12th century. Svojanov Castle was founded in 1224 for burgrave Svéslav of Bořitov.
This castle was supposed to guard the trade route from Bohemia to Moravia. The first mentions related to the object come from 1287, when its owners were Zavis of Falkenstein. Over the years, the castle has been rebuilt many times. The first major reconstruction took place in the 16th century, and the next ones after the fire in 1569. The castle had a Renaissance residential wing, which was created during this reconstruction.
Svojanov Castle was invaded twice by the Swedes, and in the 18th century it began to fall into disrepair. It was partially rebuilt after a fire in 1842.
Since 1910, the castle has been owned by the city of Polička. Since then, it has undergone many renovation and reconstruction procedures. Today, it is a place that attracts many tourists, but also a great location for various cultural events.
Admission to the castle is payable, and tourists can take advantage of three sightseeing routes:
- Route A – Inside the castle palace + outside area – columned hall, exhibition about the history of the castle, kitchen with pantry and rooms on the first floor with a guide + free tour of the castle grounds without a guide
- Route B – Gothic castle grounds – two floors of cellars under the castle palace – exhibition of legends about the castle, torture chamber, lapidarium and interiors of the shooters’ house with a guide + free tour of the castle grounds without a guide
- Route C – Outdoor area – free tour of the castle grounds (courtyard, walls, entrance to the tower, garden, fences) without a guide
It is best to check the current prices on the castle’s website – ticket prices.
Depending on the season, the opening hours of the castle vary:
- In March and November – weekends and holidays from 10.00 to 17.00.
- In April, May and October – daily except Mondays from 9.00 to 17.00.
- In June and September – daily, also on Mondays from 9.00 to 17.00.
- In July and August – daily, also on Mondays from 9.00 to 18.00
- In December (until December 15) – on weekends from 10.00 to 17.00.
The castle is closed from December 15 to February 28.
Ghosts and legends
Like every castle, Svojanov Castle has its legends and ghosts. Among the legends, it is worth mentioning the one about Catherine walled up in a cellar or a knight named Rašín, who, for being a bad person and mistreating the workers during the construction of one of the buildings in the castle, leaves the grave every night on a fiery bull (riding backwards) and defeats same route to return to the grave. During the “ride” he was always accompanied by 11 carriages. A similar, also mentioned a moment ago, Katarzyna appears as the White Lady on the castle walls on a regular basis.
However, legends are not everything. During various works at the castle, bricked-up or hidden bodies were discovered in various places. In addition to Catherine mentioned in the legend, there were 2 others, there were also corpses in the ceiling. During the renovation works of the rooms that were to be used as a residence for the castellan of the castle, 11 children’s skeletons were discovered. Probably this is not the end of discoveries :)
One of the castle tales also tells about the daughter of one of the owners of the castle, who was injured in the castle (if I remember correctly, a corridor in an unused part of the castle collapsed on her). According to this legend, she imprinted her bloody hands on the wall of one of the rooms, and to this day they appear on the wall from time to time!
There are more such stories, and the guide is happy to tell you about them! :)
A small exhibition on torture awaits you in the castle’s basement. You can see exhibits used to inflict pain and suffering. The guide with passion ;) talks about the use of a specific device and the effects of its use
Svojanov Castle offers rooms for guests. There aren’t many of them. Less than 30 people can sleep in the castle at a time. The rooms are decorated in a classic castle style. Some of them have individual bathrooms and toilets, while others have 2 rooms connected. The rooms are clean and comfortable.
There is no TV in them, and their decor is not modern, but sleeping in a castle probably no one expects that. The beds are comfortable, the water is warm and the surroundings are amazing. In the morning you may be woken up by one of the castle animals (the livestock includes chickens, peacocks, ducks, geese, goats and other animals)
There is a restaurant in the castle where you can have a snack. The restaurant offers draft beer from the brewery in Pardubice and regional dishes. I was tempted by wild boar stew with potato pancakes and it was a very pleasant summary of the day before further sightseeing.
The castle gardens are divided into three parts. The first contains ornamental plants, the second – herbs, and the third – fruit trees and shrubs. During our visit, mint, chives and other herbs grew beautifully, and roses began to bloom.
From the garden there is an amazing view of the surroundings. We can admire it from the bench or use the swing. If you’re lucky, a peacock might pop in and add some of its charm to your already beautiful surroundings.
There are a lot of nooks and crannies in the castle, and the gunsmith’s house is one of them. Contrary to appearances, it is a large object that has its age. Inside, there are three levels with space for events, an exhibition about knights and an exhibition of paper models of castles (mainly Bohemian and Moravian). There you will also find historical doors from the region. The house was built in the 15th century, and according to legend, there were stables on the ground floor, and knights’ living rooms above.
An interesting fact is that all models presented at the exhibition were created by the castellan of the castle – Miloš Dempír.
The most characteristic element of the castle is its tower. Overcoming several dozen steps, we are at the top. It offers a beautiful view of the surrounding area – forests and mountains make an amazing impression. An interesting fact is that this tower is not round, but teardrop-shaped. This was to help her resist possible fire from the side from which the enemy would attack.
Worth a visit?
Svojanov is a very interesting castle with an interesting history and an unusual location. If you have the opportunity, stay for the night, and it will certainly be an interesting adventure. If you are planning a visit while passing through, check it out anyway to learn more about its history.
Babcia z obrazu
Mało Wam strasznych historii? Na koniec jeszcze jeden smaczek. W jednym z pokoi na zamku wisi obraz. Nie wyróżnia się on niczym szczególnym. Jest na nim staruszka z zamkniętymi oczami. Sęk w tym, że jeszcze kilkanaście lat temu staruszka ta oczy na obrazie miała otwarte i pewnego dnia po prostu je zamknęła. Jako dowód pokazywane jest zdjęcie obrazu z dawnych czasów, a to jak wygląda dzisiaj możecie zobaczyć w ramce. Niektórzy mówią, że staruszka nawet potrafi mrugać, ale tego nie udało się potwierdzić czy nagrać ;)