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Strekov Castle

Strekov CastleA beautiful Gothic castle ruin perched on a 100-meter phonolite cliff situated in Usti nad Labem at right bank of the river Labe at that thee southern end of the city. It was founded in 1318 by Pesek of Strekov. It is situated in a romantic landscape.

In the 10th century, a 'salt route' ran along the river Labe, from the North across today's Kninice, Usti nad Labem and Stebno to Lovosice. A fortificated town was growing at the confluence of Labe and Bílina. That was the origin of today's regional center, Ustí nad Labem. Near the 'salt route ', so called 'Serbian route' ran later. This way, the German Emperor Henry II lead his campaign against prince Boleslav the Brave to Prague in 1004, here prince Sobìslav II defeated the German Emperor Lothar III near Chlumec in 1126. But along Labe, there ran no routes because of steep rocky banks and frequent floods. The valley was protected only with the castles in Decin and Svadov.

The situation changed in the 13th and 14th century. The noblemen began to build their fortresses on well-protected steep rocks. These castles became to important military bases protecting trade routes. The castle Støekov was built by Pesek of Strekov on a 100-meter phonolite cliff at the right bank of Labe in 1318. Pesek got the castle as a vassal from King John the Luxemburger and promised King John fidelity and participation in protection of king's interests. The manor of Strekov was never too wide. It contained Strekov, Novosedlice, Kramoly, Sedlo, Nova Ves, Tasov, Pohori, Probostov and Zaezly. But Pesek took care of the manor only one Year.

In September, 1319 John allocated it to Vartemberks from Decin. They finished the construction and extended it in 1400. Then the castle was pledged to Jeąek Vchýnský of Siøejovice, then it was entrusted to Dobusa and Ota of Brany, then to William of Meisen, and Vlasek of Kladno was the caretaker of Strekov in the era of King Vaclav IV. He was Prague burgess and former burgrave in Kadan, who was strongly loyal to the king. He was also a great follower of Rome Church. That's why became Strekov to fortress of the Catholic side during the Hussite period. Here were hidden the cathedral treasure from the Augustinian monastery in Roudnice and important capitular books of St.Vitus's Cathedral at Prague Castle. Benedictines of Teplice live on Støekov a few years after destrusction of their monastery.

In 1479, brothers Hanuą and Lorenc Glac of Stary Dvur controlled the castle. They mined metal in Krusne mountains, so that they obtained considerable riches. They arranged the building, and added some decorative elements in order to make Strekov more representative. In the first half of 16th century, there were frequent exchanges of owners. Then, Vaclav Popel of Lobkovice gained it in 1563. He had the castle recontructed and extended again.That was the last reconstruction. Since then, it only had been ruined.

During the 30-year war, Sweden occupated Strekov four times and finally, they blew up the rocks in the river below the castle in order to loosen the way for their flotiles carrying stolen gems from palaces in the Prague Castle and from the Prague Lesser Town. The last time, the castle served the armies, was during the 7-year war in 1757. Since then, nobody took care of it.

It wasn't until the 19th century that people discovered the beauty of the Strekov Castle. First mention of a pub in the castle appeared in 1810, as prove of new interest in this pitoresque historical monument. Its quiant location attracted artists. For example, the German poet Theodor Körner visited Strekov in 1811, another visitors were famous Czech poet Karel Hynek Macha, well-known German painter Ludwig Adrian Richter, another painters Kandler, Bürger and Doerell. The most known visitor was Richard Wagner, who drew up the plan for the opera Tannhäuser here in 1842.

In connection with the interest in Strekov changed environs of the castle. The first steamship arrived to Ústí from Prague in 1841. So did the first train along the left bank 10 years later. In 1874, the railway from Litomerice across Strekov and Usti to Decin started. Strekov was reconstructed in the end of 19th century by Ohmann. Usti had already dense industry. The architect Frantisek Vahala, has finished the barrier below the cliff in 1936.

After WW2, the castle belonged to the state. They started wide recovery. The walls were reinforced, the tower palace's roof was newly covered, the fallen vaults were supported. Windows and interior of rooms of the palace and the chapel was modified. The bottom part of the castle was recovered as well. They made some investigations and discovered by that time unknown stairs to the 2nd floor of the tower palace. Accomodation rooms and the restaurant were opened later. That is the today's image of Strekov castle.

After 1989, the castle was returned to the Lobkovics, it is open to visitors.

You can visit Strekov Castle on the following tours: Prague - Dresden.

Strekov Castle

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