Helfštejn castle - Czech republic
Nerby the river: Bečva
Helfstejn, greatest Moravian castle, was never conquested. There was a proverb: Castrum Helfstayn locatum in bonisearum violenter. Helfstejn Castle is situated on a place got by violence. This idiom concernes Silesian Knight Fridus of Linava. He undertook the raids around from his castle. Fridus let to construct one entrance to this castle only. It was a bridge over a moat. The rest was surrounded by double fortifications. In 1312, King Jan Lucemburský decided, that the activity of knight-robber must be stopped an end. A punishable expedition was realized, the knight was took prisoner. He promised that all his castles would be destroyed, and so his life would be saved. Also Helfstejn was damaged. In 1320, the castle obtained Vok of Kravaře.
Members of Kravaře Parentage reconstructed and enlarged his seat. A chapel was built, fortification strenghtened and barbican with new gate to courtyard erected. In 1475, the castle became under administration of Pernstein Parentage. His first owner, William, surrounded western part of courtyard with massif fortification with bastions and new gate was built. A barbican was arranged in such way, that all this was suitable as a shelter for people of surrounded villages. His son John built so called Wide Wall, nearly 80 metres long and 8 metres wide.
During 30-years War, the castle was besieged by Danes and Swedens. Anyway, their effort was unsuccessfull. The lordship did not express much interest in maintenance of such big castle. So, Ferdinand decided, after suggestion of local government, that the castle is useless, could serve to enemies, and it would be desirable to destroy it. However, in 1656, the idea was realized. Presently, he had regret for this act, as in 1663 Turkish troops entered the country. The castle was reconstructed again and fortificated but Turkish troops did not arrive here. In 1680, Hungarian soldiers tried their Fortune, but they gave up soon. Later, also Prussian troops arrived but did not conquest the castle. Consequently, Helfstejn definitively begun to become a ruin.
Anyway, in 19th century, the castle found its new purpose. It became very popular destination of excursionists. Thanks to this fact, repair works were started. Since 1940, vast reconstruction works were effected, 30 years later also an archaeological reconnoitring started. Most interesting discovery comes of 2002. It is so called Hussite Tower, reminding fortification ways of Hussite Wars. Its gallery serves as look-out-tower with marvellous view around near and far countryside.
Opening time-table for public:
since 25th March till 30th April: daily, except Mondays: 9,00h - 17.00h
since 1st May till 31st August: daily, except Mondays: 9,00h - 18.00h
since 2nd September till 31st October: daily, except Mondays: 9.00h - 17.00h
on 27th October (Monday) - open 9.00h - 17.00h
since 1st November till 30th November: on Saturdays and Sundays: 9.00h - 16.00h
on 17th November (Monday) - open. 9.00h - 16.00h
Regular noon break: 12,15 - 12,45
in March and November:
Adults CZK 20,-
Students, pensioners, school - children CZK 10,- children under 6 years of age: free of charge
in period April-October:
Adults: CZK 30,-
Students, pensioners CZK 20,-, school - children CZK 10,- , children under 6 years of age: free of charge
Text: Maxim Kucer
Photo: Google Earth
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