History and construction development

Helfštýn Castle is one of the buildings which falls under the administration of Comenius Museum in Přerov (as of 1960). The monumentality of the architecture of this originally Medieval castle ranks among the largest in Europe in terms of expanse. Thanks to ongoing care, not only on the part of the actual castle employees, but also through cooperation with an entire range of volunteers, Helfštýn ranks among the best preserved castle grounds within the territory of the Czech Republic. 

The construction development began in the 14th century at the latest. Knight Friduš of Linava is considered the first commissioner of the castle. The castle became the property of the Kravaře dynasty for an impressive 122 years in 1312. Additional renowned owners included, for example, Jan of Mesenpeck, Vok of Sovinec and Albrecht Kostka of Postupice.

The modest-sized castle which towered above the highest point on the hill, was expanded over time in the direction of the town of Týn n. Bečvou. Its appearance always conformed to the requirements of the concrete owners. The castle gradually changed into a palace, or better said two palaces. Lacek of Kravaře (1369-1416) combined the two separate palaces of his predecessors and thus laid the foundation for the newer Renaissance adaptations. The largest architectural expansion came about a the time of the Pernštejn family. Vilém of Pernštejn added the current second courtyard to Helfštýn (1475-1521) making it the largest in the Czech Republic. The castle was also enhanced with bastions with typical key embrasures. The most prominent feature of the space, however, consists of the massive jutting timber tower. This is also the only exactly dated part of the castle. The relief above its portal bears both the family coat-of-arms and the date 1480. The second courtyard culminates with the bridge across the moat and the third courtyard with the so-called Checked Tower. Vilém's son, Jan Bohatý of Pernštejn (up to 1554), continued with the adaptations to the palace, but first and foremost, with the expansion of the castle. The Wide Rampart, which is one of the most extensive ramparts in existence, the so-called Dungeon which did not actually function as a torture chamber, but was used as an artillery stronghold, rank among the the most significant structures built during this period. After the famous owner Petr Vok of Rožmberk (1580-1593), the Bruntálšký family of Vrbno (1593-1621) occupied the Renaissance palace. The current appearance of the place has the most aspects remaining from this period in terms of its composition. After the Battle of White Mountain, the castle came into the administration of the Dietrichstein family (1620-1909). As opposed to a luxurious residence, the castle now functioned as an impregnable fortress and as a military garrison. The castle was never taken militarily, although there was an attempt by the Danish garrison of General Mansfeld in the year 1626. It was also one of the few locales which was not captured by the Swedish army in the 1640s. The intentional destruction of the castle was begun in the year 1656. This order was issued by the Viennese military council out of fear that Helfštýn would be taken over by rebels. Concerns about attacks by the Turks led the castle proprietor to carry out repairs to the damaged castle only 7 years after the intentional demolition work. Of particular interest in connection with this is the III courtyard as well as the torso of the Horn Tower, and the northern Hussite Tower which is used a viewing point, the castle smithy and the former bakery. The blacksmith studio of Alfred Habermann, which is the facility for students of the blacksmith art course was made out of the bakery. Somewhat lower is the so-called Dog Area from the 15th century where up to 80 hunting dogs were reared. A smoke room was located in the interior of the Poděbrad Tower on the palace courtyard. An archaeology exhibition will be built here in the future.

The castle does not, however, merely live for its history and architecture. Visitors also come here for the rich cultural programme, the vast numbers of artistic blacksmith art and for a range of accompanying events. The traditionally most extensive event is the gathering of artistic blacksmiths Hefaiston. This has taken place every final weekend in August as of the year 1982.

Short-term exhibitions primarily take place in the gallery on the II courtyard. Souvenirs are sold under the gallery. The entire castle is lit up and provided with sound. Guide services, numerous snack possibilities and the the castle restaurant, along with a range of additional services, are prepared for visitors' needs.   


Kalendář akcí hrad Helfštýn

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