Nové Hrady – Still Standing, Somehow

A Bastion on the Border

Main entrance to Nové Hrady castle
Main entrance to Nové Hrady castle

Nové Hrady castle, in the České Budějovicé district, is a fairly low key place compared to many of the other Czech castles and chateaus you could visit; in that there is a certain charm.

If you’re looking for an attraction to visit in South Bohemia that does not draw the crowds that some of the better known ones do and is not an overwhelmingly grandiose testament to the wealth of its former owners, this castle might be quite refreshing for you.

Disaster as a Regular Guest

It is something of a miracle that this castle is anything but a ruin these days as misfortune has come calling many times in its history since it was fist documented in the 13th century.

In the early 1400s, the castle was extensively damaged in the Hussite wars which raged across Bohemia. Before the 1400s were out, a fire also did considerable damage to the castle.

Entrance section as seen from the courtyard.
Entrance section as seen from the courtyard.

The early 1500s saw the castle subject to restoration. However, in 1573, a gunpowder explosion destroyed the castle keep and severely damaged other sections. Needless to say, an earthquake in 1605 didn’t help the castle’s situation at all.

The early 17th century saw a complete rebuilding of the castle, at which time the moat was added. No sooner had the reconstruction been completed when the castle was besieged and captured by forces led by General Charles Buquoy in 1619. The Buquoy family held ownership of the castle until it was taken into possession by the state in 1945.

Under Buquoy ownership, the castle ceased to serve any military role and was retained as the family residence until 1635, when the family took up new lodgings in the town, at which point the castle was used as an administrative office for its immediate region.

Visiting Nové Hrady

Second entrance as seen from the courtyard
Second entrance as seen from the courtyard

Beyond the aforementioned less touristy nature of this castle, it also presents some points of interest from an architectural standpoint and is noted for its very well preserved fortifications and moat.

The castle was built on a trade route between Austria and Bohemia and was designed to be passed through, perhaps for customs-like inspections, this gives it the unusual feature of having two drawbridge equipped entrances.

Visitors can enter the courtyard free of charge and the castle offers two different tours of the interiors.

More information about the castle, operating times and so forth can be found here:

http://www.hrad-novehrady.eu/en/

Detail of castle moat
Detail of castle moat

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