The castle, which once again belongs to the Lobkowicz family, was burned and demolished during the Thirty Years’ War, and you can get an idea of its size and spaciousness only by looking at its model in one of the rooms inside the ruin. Here you can see a really massive fortress guarding the road on land and water.
Even though the weather wasn’t exactly ideal for a trip – the Elbe Valley was shrouded in fog, which was penetrated by quite fierce rain at times – but the visit to the empty castle at that moment was still worth it.
A bus took me from the railway station in Ústí nad Labem to the castle, the way up winds along the rock, there is nowhere to hide, so my clothes were slightly damp.
The surface on Strekov was also wet, it was quite slippery in some places, the bonus was that there was no one else there.
In places where there is a lot of life in the season, in the garden in front of the Wagnerka restaurant, you could stand for a long time, but the view across the river towards the Vrkoč basalt outpouring was magnificent. The basalt wall was drowning in fog, from which even the distant Větruše, a popular excursion restaurant, where the cable car leads from the city, peeked out from time to time.
My favorite historian August Sedláček (1843-1926) commented on Střekov in his work Castles, Chateaux and Fortresses of the Czech Kingdom as follows:
“Střekov Castle stands on top of a cliff about 100 meters high, steeply towards the Elbe, in other words, like a falling wall. There is rarely a place as suitable for a medieval castle as the Střekovské hillfort. For where on the eastern side of the Elbe there is a rocky mountain range, hardly passable and covered only with bushes, the sides of which run straight with the river, the fort stands by itself, not connected in any way to the affected slopes, but only by a deeply depressed saddle, not only as an unconquered fortress, but also as a thing in shape its highly picturesque. For those reasons, words cannot even describe how Střekov powerfully moves everyone who sees him for the first time, and no picture can adequately depict the magic of nature and art.”
Such a rather shaky example of a genealogist and historian, a castle connoisseur, from which a modern visitor to laundromats cannot be wise.
Come and get a picture of Strěkov yourself, it’s worth climbing through the courtyards of the fragmented castle up to the tower, from which there is a really wonderful view.
To protect trade
Rivers and their banks have been natural transport routes since ancient times. Desired and necessary goods were transported here, which sometimes became easy prey for the paws. That is why fortresses were built here so that the ruler of the territory could protect his interests, more advanced civilizations already collected tolls.
Jan Luxemburgský also had the Elbe route protected on Czech territory. He chose an area where a fortified residence had previously stood as a suitable place. The castle was commissioned by the king to be built in 1319 by a wealthy Prague burgher, Pešík/Pešek z Weitmühl/Veitmile. He came from the old Czech nobility, originally from Thuringia, the Vladyka family was elevated to noble status, they derived their surname from the village of Veitmile near Nové Bydžov.
For this, the king gave him the village of Střekov, which was located under the rock. When it was founded, the castle was written as Schreckenstein. Pešek sold the unfinished fortress to the Wartenbergs from Tetschen (now Děčín). They owned it until the end of the 14th century. During the Hussite wars (about 1420-1430), many persecuted Catholics found refuge in Strěk.
Battle of Ústí
It is interesting that the castle was not destroyed during the very important battle that took place on June 16, 1426 near Ústí nad Labem, when a strong army of Hussite unions dispersed a more powerful Romano-German mercenary group.
After this important battle for the Kalisz people, in which the main role was played by the double wagon wall and the crusaders were massacred in large numbers, the way was opened for the Hussites to plunder forays into Saxony, Thuringia and Upper Lusatia.
Owned by the Lobkowiczs
Střekov changed owners several times, the Lobkowicz family, to whom the castle was recently returned in restitution, acquired it in 1563. The first castellan was Václav Popel from Lobkowicz.
They rebuilt the building around 1570, when they also expanded it. The castle passed into direct Lobkowicz ownership in 1601. During the Thirty Years’ War, it was occupied as an important strategic point by the Imperial Habsburg army, then by Saxon and Swedish troops. It was besieged by both the Austrian and Prussian armies during the Seven Years’ War.
During these conflicts, the castle was heavily damaged and looted, and at the end of the 18th century it ceased to serve as a fortress. It was then abandoned.
During these conflicts, it was looted and extensively damaged several times, and was abandoned as a military facility at the end of the 18th century. Interest in the ruin only came with romanticism.
Up to the castle
From the ticket office, the path leads into the interior of the ruins, there are stairs waiting for us. Before entering the castle core, you will see a cage with a skeleton model hanging from a lonely tree, with ravens spread out on the branches around it.
The north and south palaces, the chapel, the remains of residential buildings, three gates, ramparts with bastions and a prominent circular tower from which there is an excellent view, but it needs better weather, have been preserved to this day.
In some rooms, there are exhibitions presenting the history of the castle, the owners, the romanticism of the 19th century, coats of arms, paintings, as well as commemorations of important personalities who visited Střekov. The music composer, the great romantic Richard Wagner (1813-1883) is mainly remembered. A commemorative plaque with his name is attached to the wall in the passage at the entrance to the castle.
When Richard Wagner haunted here
During his stay, Wagner walked around the walls wrapped in a sheet, which gave rise to the legend that the castle is haunted. He heard a folk shepherd’s song at Střeková, which he used for the choir of pilgrims in the opera Tannhäuser, for which the castle inspired him.
The opera has three acts, takes place in Thuringia at Wartburg Castle and its surroundings. The basis of the work is based on a medieval legend about a duel of singers, which was supposed to take place at the Wartburg after the year 1200. Tannhäuser is a real character, just like the others who perform in the opera.
The most beautiful view
JW Goethe, the king of poets, also visited Střekov, calling the view of the Elbe and the town one of the most beautiful in Europe. He would hardly do it now.
The German painter Ludwig Richter also lived here, his work Převoz via Elbe pod Střekov is considered the best landscape painting of the 19th century. A copy hangs in the castle. The castle was also painted by Caspar David Friedrich and Ernst Gustav Doerell.
Karel Hynek Mácha could not be missing among the visitors, he was here three times.
Rescue the ruins
In 1830, an inn was built that is still operating today. In the 19th century, they planted vines on the surrounding hillsides, and the wine was sold under the name Schreckensteiner.
Salvage work began at the end of the 19th century, another in the years 1911 to 1912. The entrance gate was also built then.
In 1948, the castle was confiscated from the Lobkowicz family after almost 400 years and became the property of the state. In 1953, a monument order was issued for the monument. In 1990, the castle was returned to the Lobkowicz family. There are two restaurants in the castle – Kovárna and Wagnerka
In 1999, Střekov “starred” in the film Dracula.
Between 1923 and 1936, they built the Labská plavábí chamber directly under the castle.
Where around: the town of Ústí nad Labem, zoo, museum, Větruše lookout restaurant connected to the town by cable car, Erbenova lookout tower; Ústí is called the city of waterfalls, the most famous is Vaňovský opposite the Strěkovský castle; in the Krásné Březno district, the church of St. Floriána, a national cultural monument, then the Velké Březno castle, the ruins of the Blansko castle, the Zubrnice open-air museum, the view point of Dubičky…
Hrádek u Nechanice enters a new visitor season under the sign of the Harrach family
Tips for trips
Bledulový paradise in the valley of romantic Hell
Tips for trips
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