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Landštej castle

Published: 9.11.2008
The ruin of Landštejn castle is most extensive and most preserved ruin of Romanesque castle in Bohemia. The castle was constructed on granite hill in an altitude of 665 m above sea level, 10 kms distant in eastern direction of the town of Nová Bystřice, not far from the point where meet borders of Bohemia, Moravia and Austria.

First written notice about Landstejn castle comes of 1231, when its first owner was Hartlieb of Landstejn. Nevertheless, reciprocal invasions and bilateral pillaging of Bohemian-Austrian border put a stop wedding of King Přemysl Ottakar II. with Margaret of Babenberg. Shortly afterthat, Landstejn castle was added to Bohemia territory for ever. This powerful security and administrative re-unification opened a way for platform of South-Bohemian branched Vítkovci Parentage. In their ownership, the castle remained till 1375.

castle Landštejncastle Landštejncastle Landštejn

Anyway, the first great bloom reached Landstejn in a period, when its owner became William of Landstejn, i.e. since 1315. During this period, there was expressively strengthened political as well as economical importance of the castle itself. Its military force and strategic position defended the territory against possible attacks from south. This branch became, together with other members of Vítkovci Family, an important support of Bohemian aristocratic estates. This force was so strong that decided about arise and/or fall of Luxemburg Family for entrance to Bohemian Throne.

Till 1450, Landstejn Castle controlled very imported merchant path, leading from Italy, accross Austria in inland, and further to the North. This was passed between the castle and original Landstejn, through the valley (this valley we can see today in its unchanged form). The economical profit of this way for Landstejn is evident. So, from this reason, the way was a point of disputes between relatives – William of Landstejn and Henry of Hradec. Henry declined, (in order to gain his financial profit from trade-path), this way in direction to Jindřichův Hradec. However, this fact brought for William of Landstejn a tragical consequence. It brought financial loss for him, and caused his premature death. However, he died in 1356, as a consequence of injuries suffered from direct fights with Henry.

castle Landštejncastle Landštejncastle Landštejncastle Landštejn

After William death, the bloom of castle was stopped. The dominion was divided between sons of Litold and Ojíř. Later, the castle became the King´s ownership, and in 1381, King Wenceslas changed it his favorite, Conrad Krajir of Krajek, highest controller of King´s household. So, Krajír Parentage stayed here for a period of next two hundred years. Anyway, their arrival meant new development for Landstejn as in political as in architectonical sense. The castle was changed in pretensious and imposing seat, which belonged to important feudal places in Bohemia in first half of 16th century. Grand castle reconstruction was started in the second half of 15th century, with construction of defensive inhabited tower situated outside southern fortification. So, by this way, there was closed original castle entrance. On eastern part of courtyard, there was broken new gate. The modernisation continued with increasing of both towers, and palace obtained of one floor. New dwelling wing with new chapel was constructed in front of original Romanesque palace, just in direction to the courtyard. Later, powerful wing of palace in Renaissance style (its outside part was formed with original fortifgication) was terminated when the courtyard was finished. In fact, this liquidation of fortification meant the building of new defence system at the same time. So, there was effected outstanding enlargement of groundfloor of the whole castle.

Its defending system was added with extensive moats with fortifications and bastions. Magnificent architectonical projects (made not only in this seat) exhausted Krajir Parentage in such way, that it was necessary to sell it in 1579. Since that time, the castel changed often their owners and fell to decay. However, definitive destruction for the castle came in 1771, when it completely burnt out, after lightning hit. Owing to the fact that the owner was indebted, the castle changed slowly in a ruin since that time-period.  


Text: Denisa Arvajová

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Daniel Baránek, č.2, č.3, č.4, č.5, č.6, č.7, č.8

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