Hukvaldy Castle is located in the Czech Republic in Frýdek-Místek district. With its length of 320 meters and wall circumference of over 800 meters, it is one of Czech most extensive ruins. The territory of today´s Hukvaldy village and its surroundings has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the Middle Ages, it was the property of the bishops who built an unconquerable fortress from the original manor house. The fortress was so steady it withstood the raids of Swedes and Danes during the Thirty Year´s War. Hukvaldy was founded by the bishop of Olomouc, Jindřich from Příbor. The first written mention of the castle dates from 1285. At that time, it was called Huckenswald (after Henry´s grandfather Arnold´s birthplace). However, as early as 1234, there had been a fortified residence here. The function of Hukvaldy castle was mainly protection of the important trade route leading from Olomouc towards Krakow in Poland, but also protection and administration of the Hukvaldy estate.

Hukvaldy is an example of a castle whose layout reveals a gradual growth. The oldest core at the eastern side of the castle had the form of a small, elongated castle with a bergfrit tower, a Gothic palace and fortifications. There was also a well. In the addition to the defensive walls, there was also a narrow fence and a massive ditch copying the terrain. In 1428-1465, the castle was taken by the Hussite troops, but later, the king Jiří of Poděbrady bought it back and handed it over to the bishopric again. In the 15th century, reconstructions took place – a new chapel was built on the third floor of the palace, the living area was expanded on the south side with a new tower palace equipped with prevets (lavatories), a spiral staircase was built in the courtyards, another palace was built on the western side, fortification was improved. This period of prosperity is known as the Boskovice era after the builder, Dobeš from Boskovice. However, it ended after a dispute with the king Matthias. In 1507, the castle was bought by another bishop, Stanislav Thurzo. The fortification was strengthened again, a new gate with a tower, bastions and guardhouses were built, and the original wooden bridge was replaced by a stone bridge. The two palaces were connected by a northern tract and another fortification called Kulatina was built. It was a huge bastion with a diameter of 25 meters and height of 34 meters, with walls three meters thick. Nowadays, an amphitheater was built in the remains of the bastion – that´s how you will recognize Kulatina in our model.

In 1580-1598, the builder bishop Stanislav Pavlovský built a large forecourt on the western side and walls which connected the castle and Kulatina. Two more wells were built. There were six semi-cylindrical bastions then – two of them on the south and four on the north, all of them were connected by massive walls. One of the bastions later formed the presbytery of a single-nave baroque chapel. The extensive fortification immediately paid off during the Thirty Year´s War, when it resisted raids by both the Danes and the Swedes. After the wars, in 1645-1653, under the leadership of Bishop Leopold Wilhelm Habsburg, the castle was rebuilt again and its fortifications were further strengthened. It its best times, Hukvaldy was an impregnable, imposing castle with artillery fortifications. Unfortunately, as it is often the case with such castles, Hukvaldy gradually lost its influence, became a prison and armory, and it was not maintained. In 1762, the castle burned down and the only building that survived the fire was the St. Andrew Chapel in the forecourt. At that time, the castle was again in the possession of the Bishopric of Olomouc. In 1948 it was confiscated by the Czechoslovakia state.

Currently, Hukvaldy Castle is a popular tourist destination. You can visit the castle and walk around or take a guided tour. Various cultural events, festivals and fairs are often held here. Beneath the castle, there is a park with fallow deer and mouflons. The birth house of the music composer Leoš Janáček is located under the castle. There is an information center as well as exhibition places called Land of Castles, dedicated to architecture paper models.

text by Simona Čechalová

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