The Royal Castle of Kašperk
It is the highest-situated royal castle in Bohemia (886 m above sea level). The castle has an interesting history and there are many legends connected with it. Discover the beauty and mystery of this unique place and its surroundings. Although it is a royal castle, Kašperk was not administered by the Royal Chamber. The Kings leased the castle and the adjacent estate to so-called ‘pledge holders’, who, of course, must have been loyal to the Crown. The holders managed and maintained the castle, as well as they exercised the right to execute criminals, which they acquired with the castle.
Kašperk in the course of history
To guard the state border with Bavaria; to protect important gold deposits; and to secure the important trade route of the so-called Golden Trail. These were the three reasons that led the Roman Emperor and Bohemian King Charles IV to build Kašperk Castle on the north-eastern promontory of Ždánov Hill in 1356.
The rectangular palace and the adjacent residential towers form a separate inner castle, which is surrounded by impenetrable fortifications. The castle courtyard is connected to the inner castle and served as an economic background. This form of the castle, which emerged in the second half of the 14th century, was further modified by various reconstructions, especially during the following century.
Among the pledge-holders, let us name at least the important or interesting ones. For example, from 1411 it was the royal mint master Petr Zmrzlík of Svojšín and Orlík and his sons, ardent supporters of the Hussite movement, which was also the reason why the castle escaped devastating sieges by the Hussite armies. The powerful nobleman Zdeněk of Štenberk, who was instrumental in the extension of the castle fortifications with an outpost, the so-called Pustý hrádek, was also among the pledge-holders.
To ensure that the castle would withstand a possible siege by the armies of King George of Poděbrady, against whom Zdeněk led a rebellion, although he had been the first Bohemian nobleman to pledge allegiance to King George. On the other hand, one of the last holders of the castle, the Vice-Chancellor and Secretary of Emperor Ferdinand I, the Silesian knight Jiří of Lokšany, was much more loyal to his King. In 1547, Kašperk served him as a base during the successful suppression of the first Estates uprising in the Prácheň region.
With all this, the castle fulfilled its role in Czech history. Later, mainly due to lack of finances, it rapidly dilapidated and fell into decay while the adjacent estates were sold off. This process culminated in 1616, when the already abandoned and dilapidated castle was sold by the Royal Chamber to the town of Kašperské Hory, in whose possession the castle remains to this day.