Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ralsko & Švihov Castles - Czech Republic

When I get a few cards from Czech Republic in an envelope, some of them are definitely castle cards. This time was no exception and Vladimir sent these cards of Ralsko and Švihov Castles.

Foto: Ivan Rillich
The deserted castle was used by thieving knights and later destroyed by treasure hunters. At present, its ruins form the characteristic silhouette of the lonely hill. The castle was not open to the public for a long time as it was located in a military area. At present, you can set out for a challenging trip; the climbing itself is worthwhile. Besides the relics of the castle, the top offers a superb view of the České Středohoří, the Lužické Hory and Jizerské Hory, Ještěd, dominant features of Český ráj and the Mácha region with Bezděz Hill.
Ralsko Castle is connected with several legends. One of them mentions a hidden treasure guarded by a giant dog that rambles through the dense forests. Another legend insists that inside the hill, similarly to Blaník Hill, sleeping soldiers are waiting, to save the country when it gets into really serious problems. - in:

Foto: Ivan Rillich
The Švihov Castle is a late medieval castle located in western Bohemia, Czech Republic. It is considered to be the last real castle in Czech lands – only chateaux were built after it. Švihov is one of the youngest Czech castles. It was constructed at the turn of the 15th and the 16th centuries by Půta Švihovský of Rýzmberk.
During the Thirty Years’ War, the Swedish troops passed by the Švihov Castle two times, leaving it unconquered. After this war, the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand III issued an order to demolish the castle. However, due to its permanently being put off, the demolition was luckily never carried out entirely; only part of the fortification wall was damaged. Later on, the castle was turned into a farmstead and a granary. The Švihov Castle remained property of the Černín family up to the end of the Second World War, after which it was nationalized. 
The Czechoslovak state took over the important historic landmark in a dilapidated state, and as one of the most treasured monuments, the state decided to make it open to public. In the second half of the 20th century, extensive reconstruction work started turning the granary back into a castle. Starting with this extensive reconstruction, smaller scale work has been continuously carried out at the castle up to the present day. 
The Water Castle of Švihov remains property of the Czech Republic to this day; it is managed and operated by the National Institute for the Preservation of Historical Monuments. - in:

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