Rocky castles of Czech Switzerland

Rocky castles

Castles near Czech Switzerland

Falkenštejn (Falcon stone)

Šaunštejn (Look stone) (Loupežnický hrad - Robber´s castle)

Kyjovský hrádek (Horní Karlštejn - Upper Charles stone)

Chribský hrádek (Dolní Karlštejn - Lower Charles stone)

Brtnický hrádek (Loupežný zámek - Predatory castle)

Vlcí hrádek (Wolfish castle) (Pustý zámek - Abandoned castle)

Fredevald (Frýdvald - Silent wood)

Kamenický hrad (Kamenice´s castle)

Krásný Buk (Nice beech)

Tolštejn (Daw´s stone)


Occurence of the oldest castles in Decín´s region is connected with intensification of agricultural settlement of under-mountains by watercourses, that took place there after second half of the 13th century concurrently with second wave of colonization - german colonization. Beside Decín´s Premyslovský castle that were built about 1250 on the place of former site of a castle it were especially castles Ostrý (Šarfenštejn) (in english Sharpstone) by Benešov nad Ploucnicí, Tolštejn - southwards of Jiretín pod Jedlovou and probably Krásný Buk (Schönbuch) (Pretty Beech) by Krásná Lípa, which had function of administrative centres of establishing villages. Their ruins lie in former interest colonization area of Decín´s kastelans (custodian of castle) - house of Markvartici.

Evolutionaly the oldest and in wide area sole castle is castle Ostrý (Saxon-Hessen´s type) from half of the 13th century, forcibly fenced extramural settlement is dated back to the 15th century. Unique "bergfrit" type of castle is ruin of castle Krásný Buk, that was built up after half of the 13th century and who lies northwest from the village Krásný Buk. It died out already in 1339. Other type of castle is rocky redoubt Chribský hrádek (origin in 3rd quarter of 13th century to first quarter of 14 century), where sole wooden tower observed defensive and aslo residential function, this castle was built probably by Jindrich z Lipé (Jindrich from Lipá). By few years younger is castle Tolštejn, that after whole range of alterations and renewals (especially late gothic under house of Šlejnici) died out even during 30-years war, when Sweden general Wrangel despoiled it. Completely anomalous is ruin of rocky redoubt Kyjovský hrádek (socalled Horní Karlštejn) in Czech Switzerland, whose origin is dated into half of 13th century to end of 14th century. Abnormal extent of estate´s rests, endemic names and geological rock composition indicate that it could be rather unsuccesfull foundation of prospector´s settlement. Cragged territory of Czech Switzerland hids another two ruins of rocky redoubts of same type as Chribský hrádek but they were founded later (last third of 13th century) - these are Vlcí hrádek (socalled Pustý) and Brtnický hrádek (socalled Loupežný), which downfall we can dated into first third of 14th century. These two along Chribský hrádek bear on formation of feudal system (by Jindrich from Lipá) at edge of colonized territory of former Žitava´s (present Zittau in Germany) region and they link up themselves to group of similar rocky castles in Saxon Switzerland.

Likewise it was with later built up rocky redoubts Falkenštejn (Falcon´s stone) by Jetrichovice (socalled incorrectly Sokolí) and Šaunštejn by Vysoká Lípa (socalled Robber´s castle), which were occupied by members of inferior aristocracy with function of captains. Their location along Ceská cesta (silnice) (Czech road) implied opinion about earlier establishing of these castles, but new knowledge circumscribe their existence into period from half of 14th century to second third of 15th century.


Lost names of rocky redoubts

Two castles from 6 rocky redoubts have their original names: Falkenštejn and Šaunštejn, but to others the history turns constantly round by its back and continues in disgrace against them. Tangible evidences in form of concrete places they embody but their names took the time. Two of them are called Karlštejn (Charlestone) and in fact people in 18th century called thereby rests of fortifications by Kyjov and Chribská, but it´s at most doubtful that the name "Karlštejn" was their original name. In further narration we check up also eventuallity that one of these two castles could be Karlštejn. In such case it would be rather castle by Kyjov (Kyjovský hrádek - Horní Karlštejn). For this possibility argues count´s inspection from 1824 when we at first could exactly localize using of name Karlštejn.

If we come out from hypothesis that fortifications of Michalovici and Berka clans have came into existence at least under the indirect auspices of the king, we undergo to claim, that Karel IV. (Charles IV.), when he has settled disputes between Berkas clan and tutors of Petr Michalovic, could personally that castle visit and he could consent with calling of castle in memory of himself. In aid of this possibility we can say, that emperor and bohemian king Karel IV. gave his name to many places - to main provincial castle (Karlštejn south of Prague), to spa on river Teplá (Karlovy Vary - Karlsbad), to Prague´s cathedral in Nové Mesto on Karlov, to castle Kašperk and Karlshuz in south Bohemia, and in north to new toll-bar´s castle by Petrovice - Karlsfríd. Presence of Karel as new king with his wife Blanka z Valois commemorates castle Roymund by Frýdlant (from French "Mont du roi - Roi-mont, in translation "king´s hill"). There also exists possibility to explain the name Karlštejn by both mentioned above castles as nickname from Hussite period. In the year 1422 during siege of king´s castle Karlštejn by Praguers (Prague citizens) the king Zikmund Lucemburský gave order to Lusatians to come with help to besieged castle. If they had choice Lusatians would refuse this help so they procrastinated preparations and assebled army by Kalau. Kalau is situated by Lower Lusatia - so far from Bohemia. And there we can start to give a thougt to eventuallity, whether former settlement on spot of present Kyjov was called Kalov too. This settlement was situated more southwards (closer to village Doubice) (on old maps - Alte Khaa) and working place of expectant placer miners (in czech kalici) was by entry of brook into Krinice´s valley (on old maps - Kalloch). About evidences of gold in this brook we can convince ourselves - it is socalled Zlatá reka (in German - Goldfluss, in English - Gold river). Oeder´s map from end of 16th century has denomination "In der Kawe" in these places (perhaps instead of Kale with hard -L-). Original name of settlement sounded perhaps Kalov, Kale and we could presume Slav´s settlement. We have to tell that in 1422 after fall of Pihl (north of Ceská Lípa) Lusatian towns received order from king Zikmund to protect strictly unidentified fort Kalov - so perhaps Kyjovský castle. Castles were often called as close settlements - so castle by Ceská Kamenice didn´t have special name, Ronov is called Drum (Stvolínky), Karlsfríd is kept in accounts of Lusatian Sixtown as Neuhaus (Nový dům - New house) for the fact that it compensated for old Winterstein. From Kalov Lusatians had to go (at request of Honštejn´s Berkas) over mountains to beat back heretics from off Benešov nad Ploucnicí. And so during this assembly from which Lusatians never marched to Karlštejn by Prague some witling according to name Kal-loch struck upon an idea to inscribe castles by Kyjov and Doubice with name Kal-stein, Karlštejn. These nicknames could hold until times of Müller (1720). Beyond all reasonable doubt is the fact, that some endemic names are bound to anomalous event for their origin, for example Makotrasy (Poppy-shakes), Hledsebe (Look-at-itself) etc. Of course what could have been hadn´t to be and we can think nothing of our complicated construction.

Let us try to analyze more hopeful alternate, that to ruins of castles, which name was lost people gave some name later. There maybe with little irony people chose name of best-known castle - Karlštejn. Bang goes by Svratka on Ceskomoravská vrchovina (Czech-Moravian highlands). Local hunting-manor with village established in 1776 Filip Kinský and people entitled evidences of old mounds as Starý Karlštejn (Old Karlštejn). Another evidence we have by gamekeeper´s lodge Karlštejn by Kardašova Recice - it was founded by fishmaster´s lodge of canceled pond Karlštejn as farmstead in 1757, pond itself was established in 1553 by Karlštejn´s burgrave Jáchym z Hradce. With coming of romantism the name Karlštejn has became popular and it is given to hunting manors. After this manner we can explain also denomination of two castles mentioned above. Researchers thought upon possibilty whether by impact of inaccuracy of maps the names of former light (? hunting) buildings (Horní and Dolní Karlštejn) descended on better-known Kyjovský castle and castle by Chribská.

We could entertain another possibility, which is offered us by chary history: 8.9.1425 was (according to accounts of Lusatian town Zhorelec) dispatched messenger to Kynast and Falkenštejn, and this fact publisher assumed for Kynast under hill Snežka in Krkonoše and Silesian Falkenburg - messenger couldn´t run into more directions at same time. But Táborers (Hussite´s field army, derived from town Tábor in south Bohemia) were in Belá and they prepared to cross the mountains into Lusatia. There was therefore no point to search new and detailed informations (and help scarcely) by clan of Schafgotchs to whom Kynast and Falkenburg belonged, when the military danger threaten from the south. In the year 1437 the messenger was dispatched again to Kynast with message for Talkenberg - alleged Honštejn´s Berka. There grows therefore suspicion whether the Kyjovský castle carried the name "Kynast" ? This allegation we can boosted by the fact that one member of family Kyaws is systematically called Kyne what could be abbreviation from Kynast as similarly Zitte from Zittau etc. Was then after all Kynast by old Kyjov native castle of clan Kyaws ? Evidences for preservation of this guess are few and they aren´t definite. When we are by name Kynast we have to introduce that among Schafgotsch´s castle in Silesia we know else hill of same name by Jablonec nad Nisou, bastion in Lusatian town Zhorelec and village by Ceská Lípa. Word "Kynast" is construed as pitchy evergreens (Kien = resin, Ast=branch). But -y- and -ü- denotes rather on adjective "kühn"=confident and word Ast means also branch knot - so Kynast=confident branch knot what could be appropriate name for castle on rocky gnarl. Lusatians had eastwards from Nisa fort Kynhaus. Let we consider finally that castle by Kostomlaty nad Labem is called Sukoslav (Knot-slav).

When we are at philologing, we could take notice of possibility, how to derive name Karlštejn through the medium of phonetic similarity. They are full enough: "kahl" - bald, "kavna" (mining expression - if there would be mines) etc. Train of thought of Lusatian witling we already chalked out, but we could derive name of castles through name Karel (it is connected with "Kerl" = jolly good fellow), because there in the north are documented names Kalhard and Kawhart = powerful as fellow. We are in region of hard -L- pronounced until today in Lusatian Serbian as -V-. Althoug we disbelive, that Kyjovský hrad was established as castle of "Kyj-s" we can´t exclude origin of name Karlštejn from some alternate of their name (f.e. Kaie). Unhandiness of such advance is in fact, that aristocracy used to name themselves after name of their mansion (castle), and there it would be vice versa.

It is high time to make end with digest of interpretation´s possibilities of the name of mysterious Kha´stan, how residents call them still today. Now it is on patient reader so that he come to a resolution about some of above mentiod possibilities of castle´s name origin.

We can´t agree with Sedlácek, who located there unknown Giblnik. He probably deduced it from narration of Paprocký about 36 hung robbers when he kept in view (as first from explorers) extent of castle. But quest of Praguers (Prague citizens) was directed against Vartenberks and we don´t know if the castle came over into their hands. Of course by their expansiveness it isn´t impossible. We rather read "Divník" (speech-sounds -J-, -N´- and -D´- are often mistaked) and we could see in this name translation of name Šaunštejn (lookstone, watchstone).

And what about second Karlštejn above Doubický brook ? It maybe had no special name and it was called simply Stein (Kámen, in englisch Stone). At least Kamenice´s book (town´s book of Ceská Kamenice) talks about undertaker Wenzlab Rudla uf dem Steine, uf Ymsteine (Irensteine ?) between years 1390-1424. That information for safety´s sake we would only consider as one of possibilities. More certain appear evidences from Lusatian sources, when they talk about Irrenberg, how through wrong etymology was called hill Spravedlnost (in english Justice hill) (in deutsch Irichtberg or Irichtstein). In the year 1435 in Lusatia there looted Bocek z Kunštátu, Jakub Klein and Irrenbergers (men from Irrenberg), in same year Irrenberg is mentioned Irrenberg (man) among helpers of Zikmund Vartenberk from Decín along Biberštejns, Tannenbergem (Tolštejns) and Lusatian´s Stupicis. Overpass then name of hill to castle and its captain ? After village Chribská this castle wasn´t called because there was another fort on confluence of Doubický brook and river Chribská Kamenice. This another castle could be Kriwitz (in Saxon sources in the years 1346 and 1350). About some Weber from Irenberg is reference in Žitava (Zittau) in 1449, person with name Irenberg is kept in accounts of town Luban - poor members of inferior aristocracy (to which belonged also captains of little forts) used to like to imbed in towns.

What we can say about nameless rocky redoubts north of river Krinice ? August Sedlácek mis-connected the castle by Brtníky with Henneberg, that is mentioned by Saxon explorer K.Gautsch among Berka´s forts of Vildštejn´s domain in Saxon territory, and herewith self-consciously calls our attention to hill of same name situated in Bohemia. He probably had in mind hill Hemmehübel south of Kyjovský castle. On this hill thera are no evidences of some castle but we can´t exclude possibility, that this hill is bound for its name to fact, that it obstructed signalling betwenn castles by Kyjov and by Chribská. This signalling has had to be conducted from hill Spravedlnost and outlook of Kinskýs by Kyjov. Village of same name (=Henneberg, present Kopec) is 5 km away from this castle and is separate by valley of river Krinice and Vlcí potok (Wolfish brook). A.Profous in topographic dictionary drew forced combination: Hill was called in accordance with form Henneberg and name descended on castle, that grew up on the hill. When after destruction of castle the name Henneberg descended on village, the first part of word Henne (hen) was changed to form from verb "hemmen" (stand in the way of something) and second part of the word "berg" was replaced by word Hübel (hummock, small hill) because the existence of castle was forgotten. We don´t comment this complicated construction, nevertheless we call attention to rule, that castles carved in rocks in Vildštejn´s region in Saxony was called with suffix "-stein" (stone) whereas suffix "-berg" was reserved to common hills and castles situated on them. To this suffix it used to be added generally common name from natural kingdom or as exeption the name of some person. The castle was called very often according to nature of locality, same is true about villages. Therefore not even denomination Weiberberg (Womanhill) isn´t appropriate for Brtnický hrádek (it is hill situated southwest from castle) what primarily claimed J.Fiedler. And when we find on map to Sedlácek´s XIV.volume name Henneberg for Brtnický hrádek and for Kyjovský hrad name Jivník - it is non-critical act of J.V.Šimák, who drew the map and who continued in mistakes of Sedlácek (thorough we have to compare names Giblnik and Jivník).

Neither the least known Vlcí hrádek (Wolfish castle) didn´t escape attempts to name it. Denomination of valley (Knobloch´s valley) northwest or eastwards from castle directly suggested guess, that there was situated castle of Knoblochs, who were embedded since end of 14th century in Varnsdorf, where they along Kyaws inducted new priests. Also C.Hoffman voiced assumption, that castle was called Knobelhaus or Knoblochstein (he knew Oeder´s map with denomination Knobelsgrund). Origin of this aristocracy we don´t know. Maybe they came from Saxony (village Knobelsdorf), or according to another version they came from Upper Lusatia and in Bohemia they achived aristocratic title. Some of Knoblochs attended to ecclesiastic career, another beared arms as mercenaries or they lived in towns and villages (also in later Vlcí Hora). Main minus of such cogitations is fact, that in old documents the name Knobelhaus emerged not yet. Vlcí hrádek is only our practical denomination analogical to other castles. We have no deep cause to indicate our Vlcí hrádek in connection with Hanuš Velfl from Varnsdorf - man of rich life career.

We can but wait, if possible find of completely new source uncloaks deep secrecy of our landscape and so render many of our constructions irrelevant. Maybe then we can expect larger interest in these modest monuments of past ages, to their speech give ear and understand as few people.

Falkenštejn (Falconstone)

5 km north of Ceská Kamenice

Castle Falkenštejn used to stay north-east of Jetrichovice, directly above village, where used to be also its farmstead. It is probable that castle was founded by turn of 13th and 14th century in time of busy colonization activity of Michalovicis in this region, performed from castle Ostrý (Šarfenštejn - in english Sharpstone) by Benešov nad Ploucnicí. Except administrative function Falkenštejn observed also guardian function, because it was situated by trade-route to Meissen and Lusatia, that turned there to east. Sandstone knot, on which castle was built, is last bigger rest of wide band of Havraní kameny (Crow´s stones, to the north from there). In comparison with narrow cliff of castle Šaunštejn knot of Falkenštejn is more compact, even it is divided by cleft into two parts, the north one was prepared for defense and also settled.

Present entrance to the castle, to the right of ladder there is small memorial of young man, who fell off rock.

Falkenštejn, that was always part of domain Ceská Kamenice, was mentioned at first in municipal book of Ceská Kamenice only in year 1395. In that time (under owner of domain John III. from Michalovice) there was in function of captain Nice Hockacker (once mentioned also as "fojt" in Ceská Kamenice or captain on castle Ostrý). Again is mentioned Nice Hockacker on Falkenštejn in the years 1396 and 1401. In the year 1406 whole domain bought Hynek Berka from Dubá (he changed clan of Hockackers for Zikmund from Slibovice on Fredevald - this is castle east of Ceská Kamenice), from him inherited it (along Falkenštejn too, probably in the year 1417) his son Jan Berka from Dubá, who possessed also Tolštejn and Fredevald, since year 1426 in possession of his brother Jindrich Berka. During their possession castle Falkenštejn appeared more frequently in scriptural sources in connection with Hussite wars. From papers (accounts of municipal books) of Lusatian towns, which formed union Sixtowns (towns Zhorelec /Görlitz/, Žitava /Zittau/, Budyšín /Bautzen/, Lobau, Kamenec, Luban) we can learn (at least five times) that from Falkenštejn into Lusatia were sent messages about movements of Hussite armies, which several times endangered our region. Already on 2nd May 1423 Jan from Michalovice warned Vilém from Ronov in Ceská Lípa against approaching Hussite army and he asked him for sending of message to Falkenštejn too, because Hussites wanted to attack Ceská Kamenice. Ceská Kamenice was really conquered two days later, but Falkenštejn remained probably intact, because we don´t have any informations about its storm. Proximity of rich Lusatia and its towns was suitable impulse for robbing campaigns of some north-bohemian feudal lords. In autumn 1427 Jindrich Berka invaded Lusatia and he get himself to Žitava, where he looted large number of cows and sheeps. During return to Falkenštejn he lost part of booty, because he had hurry up before pressing Zittauers. In the year 1428 Jindrich Berka sold (or pledged, or lost by marriage) domain to Zikmund from Vartemberk on Decín. Also during his ruling continued invasions into Lusatia, especially in the years 1429 and 1430, when took part on this campaigns also Falkenštejn´s captain Mikeš (Mikuláš) Blekta from Outechovice along with Fredevald´s captain Mikeš Pancír (Plate) from Smojno. So pleasure expressed by notice in Zhorelec´s accounts (that Falkenštejn resisted "for good fortune of Christianity") didn´t last long time.

Stairs through gape to top of rock.

Castle played its part in controversy of Vartemberkas with Lusatia: in 1444 Sixtowners kept guard over local garrison by Všemily, while Praguers with Litomerice´s "landfried" (land-peace = forces maintaining peace in country) were conquering Decín. Falkenštejn was spared before conquering, in defiance of legend about white deer. It narrates, that during besiege remained from garrison only captain and sole armour-bearer, who came clandestinely to an agreement with enemies, that he will surrender castle. He called in his master to northern window, he claimed that he saw white deer under Havraní kameny (Crow´s stones) and when captain leant out of window, he threw him into deepness. Then he took as much as one can carry, let in enemy and moved out himself abroad. During ruling of Vartemberkas castle wasn´t seat of authority anymore. Garrison in these war-times stayed there, but after ending of wars castle was abandoned and it became desolate. It is mentioned even in 1457, in schedule of property of Jan Berka from Dubá (+ 1426), in those days took place disputes between his heirs and successors, but even last mention from 1460 didn´t said anything about its state. When the castle was left alone we don´t know, but date 1593 in main chamber indicates, that in this time it was already long time abandoned. Visitors left there also large number of other dates, because castle enjoyed constant attention. In the beginning of 19th century used to go there to have a good time Jetrichovice´s youth on Sunday afternoon. This information recorded Mr Heber, who also recorded some other legends about castle - for example about knight and his crying lady-love.

Entrance into central hall excavated into the rock on top of sandstone knot.

Ascent to castle is possible through cleft from west. Near cleft, on the right, there is probably worn blazon - falcon with cross. Falkenštejn was typical rocky castle, from which are preserved till today only into rock excavated rooms. It was protected by steep hill-sides of castle-hill and entry into the castle was impeded by closures between rocks (there are incisions in rocks after them). Central room was hall (6 x 12 m), formerly with ceiling, today open, with window to the north to Havraní kameny (Crow´s stones). Just beside this hall there is chapel stone altar, oriented to the east. On the top of rock there are vestiges of former wooden buildings. Above mentioned hall used to probably stay castle palace, next-door there was bastion and other buildings. Castle didn´t have own well, water was caught into water-tank. We can judge, that castle used to be considerably imposing, because we find many slots for beams there. To the castle appertained also extramural settlement on east side. Path, crinkling to castle from space between area of castle and Mariánská skála (Maria´s rock), routed through some kind of gate from steep boulders. North-east of castle there is former vault, in which people used to seek treasures.

Window from which according to legend was thrown captain of castle by treacherous armour-bearer, when he insinuated him that under Havraní kameny there is whitee deer.

In the year 1852 Vilemína Kinská let adapted access to the castle and whole castle for tourism. In this convenience they found many arrows, spurs, clay potsherds, coins, bricks and roofing tiles, in water-tank lance. In those days well was cleared into depth of 25 m. Today object is closed for public for safety reasons.

Publication "Czech Switzerland by eyes of archaelogist", that was issued by District museum in Decín, mentions also castle Falkenštejn: "Where are findings of earthenwares, iron objects and coins, we don t know. It is great harm for us, though probes by edge of upper plateau brought to us sufficient amount of materials for verifying of informations from scriptural sources... Archaelogical findings have one speciality. While on other localities, including younger Šaunštejn, we meet common ceramic production of northern Bohemia - red painted earthenware - there appears another earthenware..." On other place of book we read about Falkenštejn: "... centre of castle-defense was circuit of top plateau. Every attempt of conquerors cast away on height of rocky massive, that couldn´t be taken by storm by ordinary methods... Rocky massive couldn´t be even undermined... Fence and wooden wall protected defenders against arrows... In case of breaching of gate, defenders only done away with part of floor covering access chink and bespattered intruders with all it was close at hand.


Šaunštejn (Schauwesteyn)

8 km north-west of Ceská Kamenice

Look to massive of Šaunštejn from road routing from Vysoká Lípa to borders (Czech road).

From historical survey we know, that year 1410, alleged by Mr Meiche for origin of this castle, doesn´t respond to reality. Base for colonization of territory north of river Ploucnice - behind river Kamenice and to river Krinice was castle Šarfenštejn (Ostrý, in english Sharpstone), founded as provincial (royal) castle before year 1250 and proved in annuling paper, by which emperor Rudolf relieved Ota Braniborský (Otto Brandenburger) of captures which he rubbed out on emperor´s son-in-law king Václav II. (Wenceslas II.) during Ota´s administering of Bohemian kingdom (Wenceslas as child was prisoned as hostage). First time we can find name Šarfenštejn on seal from year 1268. Young king then ceded castle in the year 1283 from gratitude (for help by redeeming from prison on castle Bezdez) to lords from Michalovice. If we presuppose, that colonization needed 50-100 years to reach edges of inhabited territory, our castles between Kamenice and Krinice originated at the beginning of 14th century, but at the latest in 1350. Year 1410 is date of dividing of large Berka´s complex (into which mentioned castles belonged since 1406) among four sons - and old Berka certainly didn´t build castle for every son (as believed Mr Meiche). J.V.Šimák dated origin of German villages in adjacent Decín´s region (for exampple Růžová - Rosendorf - in english Rosy village) to the end of 13th century. By Vysoká Lípa (High Linden) he only reminded its Slavonic origin, unfortunately in papers mentioned only in year 1387. This village along its northern part Nová ves escaped before sale to Saxon dukes only for that reason, that it was pledged to Blansko´s Vartemberkas and Saxon dukes or Berkas probably forgot to redeem pledge. It resulted in fact, that borders of Czech republic don´t route today along river Kamenice, but more to north. After 30-years war, when after assassinating of Albrecht Valdštejn (along Vilém Vchynský /Kinský/ from Vchynice) in Cheb (1634) Kinský´s domain was divided between relatives of emperor´s general Aldringen, Vysoká Lípa became for short time seat of subordinate authority-office.

Wooden stairs to the top of the sandstone knot.

Site of castle is always described (by Heber and Sommer) as isolated mighty sandstone formation, evoking to all appearance admiration. Hence originated probably its name. We can also interpret first part of name "schouwe" as "search for", but it is a little exorbitant to conclude from name term "supervisory castle". Today impression of bulkiness of rock is wiped off by overgrown wood. Said cliff is last large part of protracted sandstone ridge observing south-western direction. In base of sandstone knot is excavated cavity (width 1,40 m x length 3,10 m x height 2,45 m), that is considered to be stable or room of gateman. Behind it there is death´s-head and entry into chink, from which we reach top of rock by stairs and ladder. In cavity there is monogram J.J.H. and date 1760 - it gives evidence of deserter or spy from 7-years war. Holes on northern end of the most massive block are probably vestiges of small guard-room. Sandstone block isn´t so compact on the top, its southern part is forked into four larger rocks. Particular parts are connected with foot-bridges. But we can´t find out for which purpose they were utilized. Main buildings we find only in spacious part north of entry cleft, especially large tetragon (width 4,40 m x length 6,30 m) for main tower, excavated into the rock. Below it there is small chamber (width 2,50 m x length 4,30 m x height 2,85 m) with seat or bank (height 1,25 m), entrance into it is from west from small gallery on northern side of rock. It served as vault, larder or even as prison ? Below it there is another hollow, badly accessible. Speciality of this castle is so-called mug - hollow behind tetragon, calibre at the bottom 3 m, upper calibre only 1 m, depth 3 m. Some visitors hold it for dungeon, other for water-tank. There isn´t much place on the rock, but houses of strenghtened garrison stood by foot of block attached directly to it. Western side of rock from entry crack to south and north is ideally smooth with numerous periodical holes in the rock. Also small rocks south of castle hold some vestiges of human activity. To the left close by foot of right ladder, by which people ascend to the upper castle, in 1973 random finding discovered rests of clay-greased oven or fire-place. It probably enabled (similarly as on Saxon castle Winterstein) to heat up by warm smoke mentioned chamber with bank, to which routes rocky cleft through whole sandstone block. Buildings by foot of rock perhaps served as shelter for garrison and horses and contained common operational facilities. From there slopes down deep gorge, formerly perhaps with water. Where are findings from Šaunštejn, formerly deposited in museum in Ceská Kamenice, we don´t know anymore, though they were numerous. Water-tank, was long time filled up with humus, only in 1868 it was cleared. Even today we can find by foot of rock rests of earthenwares from various periods. The oldest one are similar to findings from other rocky castles of Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland.

Castle Šaunštejn was besieged by Dresden´s marskmen in 1431.

Castle Šaunštejn was founded as administrative centre of small territory in time of colonization of originaly waste region by the end of 14th century and it fulfilled also watch functions by road from Hrensko (river Elbe) to Lusatia (so-called Ceská silnice - Czech road). In later times it was called Loupežný zámek (Raubschloss - in english Robber´s castle), only in the year 1893 Dr. G.Pilk found in Dresden´s state archives document (in addition to it not-dated), that helped to identify its original name: Albrecht Berka on Vildštejn (in present Saxony) offers in it castle Šaunštejn with villages Vysoká Lípa (High Linden), Nová ves (New village), Mezná, Janov (John´s village) and further estates to Saxon elector Friedrich in exchange of other territories. Document isn´t dated but we can lay it into period between years 1444-1451. We also learn from it that Šaunštejn was held as pledge by Albrecht s brother-in-law Jan from Vartemberk on Blansko - "der Schawensten mit synen welden vnd wassern vnd dorffen, nemlich dy Hoe Leype daz dorff, Stymmersdorff, Jonsdorff, Newdorff, als das in synen reynen gelegen ist vnd das myn Bruder seliger vnd ich hern Blancksteyn versaczt hatten" (Šaunštejn with its woods, waters and villages, by names Vysoká Lípa, Mezná, Janov, Nová ves as well as everything lying within and what we (me and my the late brother) pledged to lord from Blansko). So Šaunštejn´s territory was originaly property of Berkas and by pledge it get into possession of Vartemberkas (1428). It had relevancy for castle that it was implicated in long wars between Vartemberkas, Saxony and Lusatia, which devastated our borderland until half of 15th century. This fact is proved by record in Dresden´s council archives from 1431, according to which were sent (in April 1431 in time of preparing for campaign against Šaunštejn) two spies, in order to ascertain, where will go Šaunštejn´s garrison to - "1431 feria sexta post Jubilate (= 27. April). Item Vinczil xij gr., das her zcwene boten vssandte, alze die schuczen uf die von Schauwestey gehin wolden. Item eyme von der Sebenicz aber vj gr., der dahen gesand wart, zcu behorchin, wene (= wann)." (27th April 1431 were sent two spies in order to ascertain where want to go defenders of Šaunštejn. Also was sent spy from Žebnice (Sebnitz) to overhear). It concerned siege of Šaunštejn that was performed by Dresden´s marksmen from order of their town, that had with both Vartemberka´s brothers - Zikmund from Vartemberk on Decín and Jan from Vartemberk on Blansko - conflict, from which was known second one - "wegen seiner Rauf- und Raublust weithin berüchtigter Schlaghans" (for his rowdy and predatory temperament far-famed Slug-John). This is also first message about castle Šaunštejn. In those times Šaunštejn played important military role in region and therefore we can easily comprehend effort of Saxon elector to gain this territory with numerous rocky formations. On these rocks were built up during 14th and 15th century large amount of castles, their garrisons were constant menace for Saxon and Lusatian borderland. Since year 1435 (for reason of conflict between Vartenberkas and Lusatian Sixtowns) were launched marauder´s invasions in cooperation with Šarfenštejn´s captain Kašpar Loptic - as conceded well-known Martin Weczke from Arnsdorf in 1435 "czum irsten, das her czwir (= zweimal) vom Schawinsteyn gereten ist zcu beschedigin dise vnsers gnedigen hernn des keysers landen" (at first, that he was two times set on by Šaunštejners to harm against lands of our gracious emperor (kaiser)). Also in the year 1443 conceded "on wry Wednesday" (= Wednesday in martyr´s week) Hanuš (Hans) Wolf from Benešov on instruments of torture in Budyšín (Bautzen), that he was hired by Šaunštejn´s Hanuško and Šarfenštejn´s Kašpar Loptic - "Czum irstin den rit sie angeslagin habin uff den genanten tag, das ist geschen mit geheysse der heuptlute zum Scharffinsteyne vnd zum Schawinsteyne alzo mit namen: Caspar Lopticz zu Herwigistorf vnd Hanuschken. Die zwene haben sie vßgericht zcu Bensaw am palmtage; den selbigin tag sind sy fort gegangin gein dem Schawinsteyne, aldo habin sy vorharrit biß uff den dinstag fruh, da gingen sy uß" (At first in the said day they realized ride from orders of captains on Šarfenštejn and Šaunštejn - by names Kašpar Loptic from Herwigistorf and Hanuško. They both fit themselves out to Benešov on Palm Sunday, same day they rode away to Šaunštejn, there they stood till Tuesday morning, then they rode with us). In same year deposed Nigkel Koppil alias Peczko (Pešek) under same circumstances: "Item zu Fridersdorff had her gestoln fumff kuwe vnd had dy getrebin uff den Schawinsteyn, das habin im helffin tun Lange Hans, Heiman vnd eyn junger genant Hemirlyn, der ist von ern Hingken (= Hinko Berka von der Duba). - Item er bekennt, das dy von Tetczin Schawinsteyn habin iren abegang (= SchIeichwege zum Auskundschaften) zweschin dem Wildensteyn vnd Arnsteyne vnd bei Niclosdorff (= Nixdorf) durch die Waltegke" (Also he stole in Fridersdorf 5 cows and he punched them to Šaunštejn, by this helped him Dlouhý Jan (Long John), Heiman and one young man called Hemirlyn, who is from lord Hynek (Hynek Berka from Dubá). He also confessed that he strayed during searching of roundabout way through wood to Decín´s Šaunštejn between Vildenštejn and Arnštejn and by Niclosdorf /present Mikulášovice in Bohemia/). Further in 1443 Hans Seyler confessed: "Item Hannczko, heuptman zum Schawinsteyn, had Hansse Seyler eyn phert gelegin (= geliehen) zu dem rete" (Also Hanušek, captain of Šaunštejn, lent Hans Seyler horse for rescue (or help)). One year later castle was exposed to brunt of Sixtowns, we judged, that castle withstood, because position of castle obstructed to efficacious bombarding. Nothwistanding it was perhaps in September of same year conquered by Litomerice´s landfríd (forces maintaining peace in country) and Praguers. Unfortunately grandiose campaign of Lusatians with 9000 men and destructive guns in 1444 and 1445 is described by Lusatian chronicler Bereit only very superficialy.

About further destiny of Šaunštejn scriptural sources say nothing. After year 1450 Kamenice´s civic book mentions during selling of domain in the year 1515 only feud Šaunštejn and in the year 1453 estate tables mentioned "Sorsteyna above river Kamenice", about its state were silent. Last time we can find name Šaunštejn in Kamenice´s civic book in 1490, when Kryštof from Vartemberk let record totaly vague information about road from feud Schawestein and feud Lawben (ruin Poustka, Chudý hrádek, between Loubí and Pavlovice in Dubské Švýcarsko). It seems, that this message was applied to former captains of those extinct castles, to whom where alloted farmsteads by Ceská Kamenice. There lived still in 19th century family of Schausteins. So we don´t know when castle ceased to be permanently inhabited, but it probably happened in more peaceful times by the end of 15th or at beginning of 16th century, when castle lost its importance as fortress. People very soon forgot name of castle and because after 30-years war from there Swedish deserters and robbers alarmed surrounding landscape, they started to call it Raubschloss (Robber´s castle).

Look to Vysoká Lípa, on the right Zámecký kopec (Chateau hill) and behind it Růžovský vrch (Rosy hill).

From above is beautiful out-look into surrounding landscape: to east arched itself hill Koliště (north of village Jetrichovice), to south is situated village Vysoká Lípa (Higl Linden) closed by Zámecký kopec (Chateau hill - 384 m), on which used to stay summer-house. On the west we can see far-distant valley of river Labe (Elbe), in background there are Saxon hills Zirkelstein and Tschirnstein. By the way intrudes an idea on us, that from there were signalized trade-caravans to castle Falkenštejn by fire from southern part of rock. Surroundings of Vysoká Lípa is also highly attractive. South of village there are ruins of Dolský mlýn (Ground mill) - in deep canyon of river Kamenice. North-west of Šaunštejn is situated Malá Pravcická brána (Little Pravcická gate), east of castle we can find similar but almost unknown formation too (withour path to it). In surrounding forests grows local speciality - rojovník bahenní (Labrador-tea) (Ledum palustre): they reveal their presence by specific rosemary´s odour.


Kyjovský castle (Horní Karlštejn - Upper Charlestone)

3 km west of Krásná Lípa

Dolní - kdysi opevněné - ústí komína, který sestupuje s horního hradu k západní strážnici.

From six rocky castles the largest and at the same time the most mysterious (not only for its name and fate, but also for its structural disposition) used to stay on sandstone headland projecting from south to left bank of river Krinice. We can reach it along yellow marked path, that leads from Kyjov over several romantic rocky sceneries above valley of river Krinice - Bratrské kameny (Brüdersteine, in english Brotherly stones), Obrí hlava (Giant´s head) etc.

Castle towered about 40 m above water-level of river Krinice and in comparison with other castlest it was unusually extensive - the biggest size (length or width) of its area is 150 m. It had two moats. Behind outer and shallower moat was situated spacious extramural settlement, protected probably by palisade fence and accessible through narrow stone isthmus (kept there during excavating of moat). Builders of castle took into account also drive of wagons, which could get there through rocky headland from south very well. From buildings and various auxilliary buildings was preserved nothing there - they were mostly wooden. In the middle of this plateau there is square hollow, filled already with humus, where could be perhaps water-tank. Inner castle was separated from extramural settlement by second moat - very deep and wide. Just right into this moat leads tourist path from side-dingle. This moat in fact presents today most vestiges of human activity, because in inner castle there is almost everything covered by forestry growth and humus. In western part of outer wall of second moat carved rock shows many holes or beam-beds of relatively complicated structure. There was undoubtedly leant draw-bridge for wagons and horses. For pedestrians served stairs, carved into rock. In the middle behind curve stairs were secured by small gate. There are still vestiges after groove for jamb with holes for bar. From extramural settlement into moat and to stairs man descended through opposite cleft. Inner castle was protected above northern wall of moat either by palisade or rather by walls of adjacent wooden buildings in which were broken embrasures. Otherwise this large area didn´t need further protection - it was ensured by steep walls of rocks above canyon of river Krinice. Fairly plain surface in eastern half of inner castle was probably courtyard, that is exception in this case - in the other castles there was no free place for it. For construction of bigger buildings architects utilized clefts along northern and western edge of castle rock. Because there could be anchored very easily wooden structures and at same time they gained the lowest storey - vault. Such buildings were at least three of four there - that is all what we can see without detailed archaelogic research. Passability of whole castle is made easy by large amount of carved stairs. However their considerable part we have set down to effort of local Mountain association from Kyjov to make castle accessible in the end of 19th century and beginning of 20th century. Such stairs lead to out-look in eastern tip of rock, excellently modified for watch-tower (its existence could be supported by vestiges of beam-beds and stone banks). On opposite western edge of massive we can descend from castle through very narrow cleft (chimney). It is provided with stairs today, but it shows older vestiges of medieval stairs too. It leads to adjacent pyramidal rock (today with iron flag of Czech tourist association), that towers above valley and that was suitable for watch-post too. Infringements of rock by human hand are so numerous there and they coincide one another, in so far that we can´t verify this hypothesis. Sure is one thing - according to vestiges in the rock we can say that lower orifice of chimney was secured by wooden structure. In the place where we can descend from there into valley rocky wall bears sign of cross of dim contours. It is difficult to say in which time originated this memento. Was it connected with tragic event - fall into valley from top of rock or hit of insidious projectile in time of peace ? Answer to this question will remain mystery forever...

As well as history and fate of castle. We don´t have any vouched scriptural record about it and its history we can derive only from fate of surrounding region. Also sometimes used name Horní Karlštejn (Upper Charlestone) has to be considered historicaly not-supported. Foundation of castle we can impute to lords from Michalovice, in their hands was territory around castle from year 1283 to 1406. Size of castle is conspicious and it caused already Augus Sedlácek to conjecture, that castle was built as aristocratic seat or important fort. Also J.V.Šimák raised hypothesis, that castle was built as centre of future independent domain, in connection with need of lords from Michalovice to divide their property among brothers and sisters. Against foundation of castle as aristocratic seat speaks its location at edge of their domain and also fact that their local domain wasn´t in fact ever divided. For this purpose better served South-Bohemian Velešín and other estates. It is much more credible to stem from location of castle. In its vicinity passed so-called Lusatian (or Nuremberg´s - according to chosen starting point) route from Krušné Hory (Ore Mountains) and river Labe (Elbe) to Žitava (Zittau) or Budyšín (Bautzen) and not far from castle (near Krásná Lípa) linked up to this route roads from Meissen´s region (through surroundings of Mikulášovice and Brtníky). Also destroying of castle Krásný Buk in 1339 could have certain influence to building of extensive castle in this place. Before all Michalovicis endeavoured for substantial expanding of their property in the end of 13th century and with intention to expand this territory further to north and northwest they also directed here trade routes. This intention necessitated to increase security of roads, which led this way. On the other hand result of such activity was prosperity of towns and trade-settlements, it increased their yield and brought to lords income in cash in form of custom-duties, tolls and various other taxes. Origin of castle we can most probably date into first half of 14th century. Though castle mostly fullfilled watch and protective functions, it served occasionaly even as sally-port, for example we can mention attack of vassals of Jan Správný (John Just) from Michalovice against castle Ojvín (Oybin in present Germany) in 1343. The best base for such assault would be just castle near Kyjov. Castle wasn´t ever center of administration: villages Brtníky, Krásný Buk and Krásná Lípa were till 1406 in other hands, Vlcí Hora, Snežná, Hely and Doubice was founed substantialy later (16th-18th century) - so there were no villages which could pertain to it.

More complicated situation is by nearest village - Kyjov. Its existence before half of 17th century we can´t prove from known documents. Present Kyjov originated in 17th century around the lord´s saw-mill by pond on Golden brook. For this result took pains by construction of several building odl venturesome weaver and herbalist "old doctor" (as called him register of deaths in 1666) Kryštof Riedel - one of the last Lutherans in the region. German form of village-name (Khaa) is probably connected with old denomination "in der Kawe" for places by entry of Sýrový or Zlatý potok (Cheese or Golden brook) into river Krinice. Some investigators derived this name from rudiment, that could show to mining enterprise. Investigators regarded various hummocks as former dumps of mining waste, this hypothesis can be proved only by archaelogical investigation. With respect to this hypothesis are very interesting denominations for several places in surroundings - Eisengruben (Iron pit), Goldloch (Golden pit) or Goldkehle (Golden throat). Also Sýrový potok (Cheese brook) was already in 16th century on old maps called Goldwasser (Golden water), what could really point to gold-washing. If such enterprise was performed during existence of castle, than protection of castle was surely appreciated by miners. Castle could have same relevance for another (already supported for sure) enterprise of Berkas from Dubá - glassworks "in wood Doubice" (Beech wood). It existed already in the year 1428 (according to document, that was presented in lawsuit of Vartemberkas with lord Albrecht Berka). Glassworks operated according to other documents from same lawsuit still in the years 1457-1460. Its safety was surely secured by vicinity of Kyjovský and Chribský castles. We can´t exactly locate it but we can say that it was situated near present village Doubice. Near Doubice and Kyjov was also everything neccesary for glass production: on Vápenný vrch (Lime hill) (by present road from Krásná Lípa to Doubice) limestone, in the near sandstone rocks plenty of sand, everywhere around large amount of wood for fuel and making of potash and sources of water too - either Doubický brook or Sýrový brook or rather ponds established on them (existing till today - Kyjov´s pond was re-newed through rests of older dam). It seems that country between Kyjovský and Chribský castles wasn´t so economicaly unimportant, that it couldn´t merit armed protection of its facilities and communications leading to them.

Till year 1406 territory around Kyjovský castle changed its owners only from Michalovici´s clan, then it fell into hands of lord Hynek Berka on Honštejn. To him we could ascribe first merit of mentioned economical exploitation of territory in surroundings of castle (according to similar economical activity in other regions owned by Hynek Berka - Šluknov´s and Rumburk´s). Very soon castle fell to his descendants, at first to Jan (John) (till 1426), then to Hynek´s grand-son Jindrich (Henry). It is uncertain, whether castle fell with domain Ceská Kamenice to Vartemberkas in 1428 or it remained with castle Tolštejn in hands o Berkas from Dubá. At any rate its owners were staunch adherents of Catholic side during civil religious war (Hussite wars). Hussite campaigns which approach to their domain - especially in the years 1422, 1423, 1425 and 1429 were determined even for them, but it doesn´t seem, that there occured any systematic siege of castle, about that we would have surely any scriptural record. Hussites didn´t delayed themselves with siege of such castles because they couldn´t gain anything from tedious besiege. In addition to it longer stay in wild wooded terraine is connected with too big hazard after all. In 30th and 40th of 15th century garrison of castle was undoubtedly very often involved in conflicts of Berkas and Vartemberkas with Upperlusatian towns, in this conflicts we have to search also cause of its extinguishment. It could occur during powerful punitivie campaigns of Lusatians in the years 1440-1444. Message about castle Jivník, that was conquered during campaign of Praguers and Jakoubek from Vresovice against Decín in September 1444, some investigators (August Sedlácek, J.V.Šimák) apply to this castle only with hesitation. Cause of this puzzlement is remoteness from Decín and doubts whether this castle belonged to Vartemberkas against whom was whole campaign executed. Fact, that castle was destroyed before second half of 15th century, is supported by absolute lack of informations about it from less later time, from that we have more scriptural sources. It isn´t mentioned in lawsuit of lord Albrecht Berka (1457-1460) with Vartenberkas and same situation is by other property changes in region. Alexander Heber in his work "Bohemian castles, strongholds and rocky castles" wrote about findings (in inner castle) of browned stones, which supported hypothesis, that castle was burnt down. Archaelogical investigation (started in 1983 and already ended) suggested, that castle was rather old settlement, that was left before its completing. Maybe it was founded by medieval prospectors, who attempted to mine iron ore about year 1300 there, and when they found out vanity of their activity, they left for another place.

If there was hamlet below castle in 14th and 15th century, it disappeared without any rests. Saxon surveyor Jirí Oeder could in 1571 put down into his maps only denomination "in der Kawe" without suggestion of any village and a bit further mill on river Krinice. Also in connection with delimitation of borders of wood (sold to Saxon elector in 1603 from Jindrich from Vartemberk) there is mentioned only "Kawhaus" - so sole building. Protocol taken out about it mentions local castle (it is first scriptural mention about castle, border of wood led through its moat), but castle is already without name. Attempts for finding of castle-name led to reference to Lusatian chivalrous clan "von Kyaw" or deriving its name from silts in water during gold-washing ("Kalow"), or to interpretations of name from pronunciation of local German inhabitants (Kha´stan) for justification of name Karlštejn. This denomination appeared (as Horní - Kyjovský and Dolní - Chribský) only in the year 1720 on map of Bohemia from J.K.Müller, but whole surroundings is so much distorted that it doesn´t inspire confidence and it led further cartographers and surveyors (J.Schaller etc.) astray. Only when in Semtember 1824 count Kinský went the round of his domain (his ancestors obtained domain Ceská Kamenice from Vartemberkas in 1614), record about it used (firstly undoubtedly) name Karlštejn for forsaken castle by Kyjov. But it was only effect of tradition, founded by Müller´s mistakes. Among local inhabitants castle obtained another name - "Abandoned castle along New road".


Chribský castle (Dolní Karlštejn - Lower Charlestone)

4 km south-west of Krásná Lípa

Rytina Chřibského hrádku od Karla Brantla - okolo 1840.

At edge of Labské pískovce (Elbe´s sandstones), above Doubický potok (Doubice´s brook), used to stand on headland near hill Spravedlnost (Justice hill) and village Chribská small rocky castle, that was founded probably by Michalovicis in 14th century for safeguarding of Ceská (Czech) or Lužická (Lusatian) road. First of them routed partly from Hrensko over Vysoká Lípa and partly from Decín over Srbská Kamenice and Všemily to Chribská and from there further to Lusatia, second one connected Lusatia over Rumburk, Krásná Lípa (Nice Linden), Chribská, Líska (Hazel) and Ceská Kamenice with Decín (eventualy with river Elbe). We presuppose that roads divided themselves by Chribský castle into two - to pass Chribská-Krásná Lípa and to Kyjovský castle (along Doubice´s glass-works, important for both castles) and further to Šluknov and Mikulášovice. Not far from castle routes today road from Dolní Chribská to Doubice, from which by former game-keeper´s house "U sloupu" ("By column" - according to column by enclosure) turns road to Na Tokání, this road was called Budersdorfská (according to defunct village near Rudolph´s stone). According to Mr Heber was location of castle ideal for middle-station for other castles in surroundings, which are in same distance (about 2 hours): Kamenice´s castle, Fredevald, Falkenštejn (it is closer) and Tolštejn, where could be deposit for short time rich war spoils gained during campaigns into Saxony or Lusatia.

In connection with Chribský castle we have to mention also village Chribská. Chribská, later small town, since year 1570 town, is very ancient settlement. Some investigators believe, that in 11th century part of Serbs took shelter there before revenge of German emperor and there in the hidden and incurvate forestry valley they founded settlement Krywicz (= Wry). First privileges this settlement obtained from Michalovicis already in second half of 14th century. Present name Chribská created Czech linguist Palacký in 19th century. Town had also privilege to execute criminal law, it was executed on hill Spravedlnost (Justice hill) (534 m, in german Ihrig- or Irichtberg). According to Sedlácek Chribský castle was founded as seat of judicial clerk ("fojt"). Privilege of criminal law rested with Chribská also after defunction of castle and in 1579 fresh town built new stone gallows closer to town, where stood later bleaching plant (Ihrichtbleiche). Let we mention by this opportunity, that probably jeopardized location of Chribská prevented old glass-making settlement from larger expansion. Through Chribská marched armies during every more important war and town badly suffered from it. It concerned especially year 1757 (seven-years war), Chribská sustained numerous losses also during short war-episode in Bohemia before Napoleon´s defeat in the year 1813.

Origin of castle is connected also with legends. According to not-supported record of chronicler P.Breuer fabled Cherub Berka founded hunting castle on top of sandstone rock, other Chribská´s chronicle mentions Karlštejn as accompanying castle of Lusatian road next door to another stronghold on the end of Dolní Chribská on confluence of river Chribská Kamenice and Doubický brook. We have to say that they aren´t ancient chronicles but only schedule and transcript of documents and various surmises on the basis of sometimes unconfirmed relations, both chronicles originated only in 19th century. Sedlácek supposed that name Karlštejn is invented, but in Sommer´s Topography is mentioned sandstone formation of same name in Doubice´s forest-ground. In the year 1846 wrote Franciscan priest P.A.Pleschke (native of Dolní Chribská), that castle was named "Karlštejn" by surveyors. Local people called it Pustý zámek (Abandoned chateau, in german Wusstes Schloss). In 1826 issued Litomerice´s consistorial councillor Dr. Franz Jakob H.Kreybich (native of Krásná Lípa) "Well-arranged map of domain Ceská Kamenice situated in Litomerice´s county", in that we can find name "Dolní Karlštejn" (Lower Karlštejn). But in maps of general staff issued since 1847 isn´t any castle of name Karlštejn (nor Dolní - Chribský castle neither Horní - Kyjovský castle). Also in Kamenice´s civic book we cannot find any credible record about this place.

North-south oriented headland is closed by not very spacious rock, steeply towering about 35 m above Doubický brook. Southern end of rock was separated from north by moat excavated into sandstone and further entrenchment on hill-side was completed by system of moats and mounds. On rather small site of castle were excavated 2 m deep grounds (partly filled with humus) for tower of size 5 x 6,5 m. Speciality was niche of form of gothic arch, according Heber it was fireplace. On interior northern side of grounds there is carved date 1690. Castle was probably built up in peace-times (careful carving of walls). In southwestern corner of tetragon (above) are vestiges of parkan. Interesting is also pit in southwestern corner, formerly wrongly held for descent into lower rooms, today filled up. Impulse for this hypothesis gave hollows similar to windows in steep walls of rock. On old representations we can see more windows. According Heber filling up was caused by numerous treasure-locators from Chribská, who dug on Palm Sunday. They of course found only large number of arrows, pikes, hooks and stirrups. Still in the end of 19th century were these findings at disposal in Chribská, but their owners sold this "iron scrap" to wandering traffickers. Other say, that filling up was performed intentionaly against activity of treasure-locators. Real window is only one, behind it there is shallow niche, maybe some sort of casket (according to Heber perhaps former water-tank or well). It isn´t probable that rooms were in part of rock, that fell in spring 1850 into Doubice´s brook. This everything is requisite for numerous legends and myths. By faith in windows of rocky rooms was affected also painting of Chribský castle from Karel Brantl. Drawing is the oldest known representation of one from six castles, it originated before 1840 and it accompanied work of F.A.Heber "Bohemian castles, strongholds and rocky castles".

It seems, that history didn´t take any notice of this castle. According Heber resided there knights of the fist, who destroyed collier´s village Budersdorf, that was situated in direction to Jetrichovice (near Rudolph´s stone). It is possible that castle was left by its garrison without fight. It could happen during Hussite period, only if is true information, that Hussites in 1425 crossed mountains by Chribská, because this message is razed in Gorlitz´s accounts (into accounts were recorded rewards for messengers who brought messages). Its days had to complete in 1440 during first large campaign of Lusatian Sixtowns against Kamenice and Ceská Lípa. Of course this campaign didn´t find its chronicler as well as very important campaign against Berkas in 1442. Former local literature applied to Chribský castle message, that captain of castle Irrenberg (Erring hill) invaded in 1435 into Lusatia, so authors of this hypothesis identified 2 km distant Irichtberg (present Spravedlnost) with Chribský castle. Recent archaeological investigations (F.Gabriel - J.Smetana) don´t share these opinions with them and they dated end of existence of castle into first half of 14th century. History of Chribský castle remained, for reason of entire lack of scriptural sources, henceforth dark. After Michalovicis belonged this territory to Berkas (since 1406) and then Vartemberkas (since 1428), during their ruling in the years 1440-1445 was heavily affected by military campaigns of Lusatian Sixtowns against Vartemberkas. If Chribský castle wasn´t already abandoned in 14th century, then these war times castle didn´t survive.

Let we return to legendary Budersdorf. There were more vilages of similar name in Bohemian borderland and three of them exist till today. Heber commited mistake, when he said, that respective Budersdorf was mentioned in well-known document of Albrecht Berka from 1457. But there is undoubtedly meant village of same name in Zittau´s vikpild (area), because it is enumerated there along hamlet Schlegel, which is situated near Zittau too. Also other assumptions about later extinguishment of our Budersdorf are purely theoretical, because rests of village weren´t surveyed yet. (Sometimes its extinguishment we charge to Swedes). Village used to stay near (Rudolfův kámen) Rudolph´s stone, north of Jetrichovice. Name is probably derived from name of locator Burghard (or also burggraf /=burgrave/, perhaps from Falkenštejn ?). This village is probably evidence of unsuccessful colonization of uninhabited territory. Into places of this extincted village some rich Chribská´s citizens concealed their valuables during short (so-called potato) war in 1778, but they "came off badly", because Prussians marched just through this places against Ceská Kamenice (we know corresponding espionage map).

Surroundings of Chribský castle is noted for its moderately romantic landscape of woods and pensive glades in brookside of Doubický brook. Today we already can´t enjoy relatively nice out-look. To south towers high Studenec (Cold hill), to southeast Chribský hill, to east overtops high forested peak of hill Spravedlnost (Justice hill). During journey to Spravedlnost we reach overhanging wall similar to one near Mariánská skála by Jetrichovice (so-called Balzer´s encampment or Exile cave) or to one near Brtnický castle (Swedish encampment). Way to Spravedlnost from Chribský castle isn t marked, when we would like to reach top of Spravedlnost, it is better to follow yellow tourist mark routing from Chribská to Doubice.


Brtnický hrádek (Brtník´s castle) (Loupežný zámek - Predatory chateau)

12 km west of Rumburk

Podvalí věže s viditelnými lůžky pro trámy.

Along road (green tourist mark), leading directly to south from place, where used to stay hunting chateau Šternberk (already demolished from reason of sap rot assault) not far from Brtníky, we reach after 20 minutes turning to the west, directly to short headland, whereat used to stay the smallest one from six rocky castles of Czech Switzerland. It looked down into chasm of Hluboký důl (Deep valley), directly opposite to another headland with picturesque rocky formations Koruna (Crown) and Muž (Man).

Through stairs (carved only in 80th of 19th century) path gets over three clefts in the rock, which intensified security of castle, to fourth and the deepest cleft, that formed real, though narrow, 8 m deep moat. Ascending to proper castle leads along narrow terrace with stairs in northern side of rock. It was big advantage that allowed to defend castle with minimal number of people. Castle anyhow couldn´t hold many people - it was composed only of one major building, anchored on beams laid on square vault. Vault was excavated into top rock of form of round-shaped loaf, around that remained sandy gallery. From this gallery led entrance into this vault through hole broken through northern side of loaf and today probably wider than once, what is effect of wrong interferences with rock from end of 19th century (Kyjov´s mountain association established there in 1890 their clubroom). Inside of room are vestiges after beams of shelf. Sole castle building was probably half-timbered or planked and it had form of not very high tower. Slantingly upwards bearing beam-beds situated around top-rock indicate that there were lifted columns supporting wooden gallery. This gallery used to span tower and it improved out-look and at the same time it afforded protection during shooting into valley too. Western periphery of rock is interrupted by cleft, that descends to smaller rocky terrace. There are vestiges after beams which confirm existence of another defensive building, maybe gallery for marksmen.

Miniature castle, sank up deep in the rocks and forests, raised long time only puzzlements or surmises about robbers. But all historical circumstances indicate, that even this castle we have to connect with Berkas from Dubá and time, when they established and improved their local domain - 14th century. Mysterious coulds seem purpose of this structure. Its size didn´t allow more than watch-service with small garrison. Guarding of any settlement or enterprise is out of the question there, therefore position of castle can be explained by course of medieval communications. These are (of course from later times) put down in two documents of Dresden´s provincial archive, partly in manuscript map of Saxony from Matyáš Oeder (leaf 177b, made between years 1587 and 1599), partly in schedule of roads leading from Saxony across Bohemian border (originated in the end of 16th century too, maybe its author was Oeder too). Oeder´s map put down also territory between present state frontier on brook Belá (White brook) and village Krásný Buk (Nice Beech), even though it isn´t pictured so in detail as Saxon territory. Brtnický nor Wolfish castles aren´t put down, but there is expressively figured road till today leading from Brtníky (in german Zeidler) over later Šternberk ro crossing about 800 m southwest of Šternberk, where road split itself. First branch descends through rocky terraine in vicinity of castle to the south to river Krinice not far from entry of Wolfish brook. Second branch continues from crossing to southwest and ends (according to map) not far from etry of Brtnický brook into river Krinice. Close of both roads casts doubts into our mind and it isn´t probably accurate, because Oeder started his mapping from inhabited places (Brtníky and Panský) and to territory by river Krinice, he gave probably less attention. As regards road from crossing (north of castle) to Brtnický brook - to its elongation pointed already mentioned schedule of roads. This schedule mentions even same road-marks, by which already Oeder distinguished roads in his map. One of roads is recorded as follows: "Across Belá, there where converge borders of my gracious lord elector and lord from Vartemberk and Šlejnicis with my gracious lord." Place, where this road crossed borders, is thus beyond dispute - entry of Belá into river Krinice. It led there from Hinter-Hermsdorf, where it linked itself up to Czech road from Vysoká Lípa (castle Šaunštejn). East of Belá road could continue only to entry of Brtnický brook and then along above described road, especially when present road along Brtnický brook to the north Oeder didn´t mention. In fact such reconstructed route has typical character of medieval communication, that followed heights and open terraine wherever it was possible, into valleys it descended only from reason of river-crossing. From Brtnický castle we can even observe considerable part of this road. From all mentioned reasons we can believe that Oeder really recorded very old roads, which explain location of castle. It was placed there in order to protect the shortest connection of Elbe´s traffic artery or Czech road with trade-routes leading through Šluknov´s region into Bohemia, to Budyšín (Bautzen) or into Žitavsko (Zittau´s region). Along castles in Vildštejn´s region and Wolfish castle this castle watched over transversaly communication under riscant circumstances of sandstone terraine from Bad Schandau to Krásná Lípa, where this road was already within powerful castle Tolštejn.

We can´t connect concrete events with castle. In general we can say, that its fates passed probably analogously as well as by Wolfish castle and we can´t even exclude subordinating to one castle-captain. Economical prosperity of region, that was owned since 1361 by capable manager Hynek Berka on Honštejn, ended by dividing of property among his sons after 1410. Part of Šluknov´s region, where was situated Brtnický castle, fell to younger Hynek junior along Honštejn´s domain, who with his brothers and nephews plunged himself into small wars with Lusatians, Meisseners and even with Vartemberkas, which lasted till fourtieth of 15th century. These wars abated only in 1443, when Saxon elector obtained Honštejn´s domain (by exchange) and then in 1451 Vildštejn´s region (by purchase and exchange) from Albrecht Berka. Albrecht Berka on the other hand united whole Šluknov´s region, eftsoon arose new armed dispute between him and Saxon elector - for zone of woods "in span of 1 mile from Brtnický brook to brook Belá" (= for territory between present state border and hamlet Kopec /Hill/ and territory in close proximity of Brtnický castle). It is uncertain whether lord Albrecht Berka was in the right, especially when description of domain´s borders (from dividing of territory in 1410) begins already by entry of Brtnický brook and not on brook Belá. We don´t know anything about end of dispute too, from that lord Albrecht was taken away by fatal lawsuit with Vartemberkas. Evidently lord Albrecht had his will, because border on brook Belá is acknowledged already by Oeder in the end of 16th century. At some time during restless period of sons and grand-sons of Honštejn´s Hynek Berka senior castle by Brtníky was extinguished or it was left alone after half of 15th, when it lost its function from reason of change of possessors of territory (especially after confiscation of property of Albrecht Berka for reason of rebellion against king Jirí Podebradský /George from Podebrady/ in 1463).

Because we don´t have any scriptural mention about castle, except for cursory mention of official František Fuss (1793), people searched for its name vainly. Surmises of A.Sedlácek and J.V.Šimák about Hennesberk, that used to stay in fact west from here in Vildštejn´s region, arose from misunderstanding and name Loupežný (Loupežnický) zámek (in german Raubschloss, in english Robber´s chateau) from forestry map from 1736 is only creation of folk fantasy, even with truthful root, how confirmed find of pistol from 18th century. Among people castle was also called "Abandoned chateau on Brtník´s heather-fields".

Vlcí hrádek (Wolfish castle) (Pustý zámek - Abandoned chateau, rarely Castle Knobloch´s foot)

9 km southwest of Rumburk

Laconic information of August Sedlácek about castle "west of village Vlcí Hora and accessible only from this village", undoubtedly information at second hand, was until lately sole direction, how to find in confusion or rocks rests of this fortification. Search for it isn´t easy still today. Way from game-keeper´s lodge in southern end of mentioned village to the west reaches after 20 minutes seed-plot and rack, which are situated deep in the wood. After double descents through ferns up to the waist path reaches rocky headland. Other possibility is journey from Turistický most (Tourist bridge) in Kyjovské údolí (Kyjov´s valley) along green mark (in direction to Brtníky) upstream of Vlcí potok (Wolfish brook). On first crossing we leave green mark and we continue into Dlouhý (Knoblochův) (Long or Knobloch´s) valley upstream of Panský potok (Lord´s brook). After 250 m turns to the right path, that we ignore, after another 200 m turns to the right another path, there we cross brook and we set out along path to the left into Kunzův (Kunz´s) valley. Short time before reaching plateau our way is intersected by path from left, we follow it to the right, after another 20 m path is intersected by new path, that we follow to the right again, then we reach top of headland. Its utmost end occupied small castle. It stayed up on high above orifice of Rákosový důl (Reed valley) (in the south) into Knobloch´s valley (in the west) and to the north castle looks down into short Kunz´s valley.

Access to the castle was interrupted by double moat across headland. As first moat served meandering wide and deep rocky cleft, second moat succeeded soon behind it. Extramural settlement was therefore very narrow and there was almost only till today preserved sandstone block, protruding from rock, that was earmarked for leaning of draw-bridge. Bottom of second moat, that was arched over by draw-bridge, is situated almost 10 m below level of inner castle. Today inner castle is overgrown with pines and bilberry-shrubs in eastern and northern part and this fact aggravated reconstruction of ground plan. Along both sides of gate, into which led draw-bridge, and behind it except for mound with palisade stayed small buildings too. Several meters to the west rock is already uncovered. There is excavated hollow of square ground plan with beds for beams on upper edges of two opposite walls. But in the rock there aren´t vestiges of beam-frame necessary for blockhouse. It had to be therefore light building (half-timbered or planked), at most with two floors. For such building gives evidence clayey earth (found on the floor), that couldn´t ensue from sandstone or needle-leaves. From southeast routes into described vault small corridor, formerly certainly with roof. Crack in the wall to the left from corridor served as window. On opposite wall was situated wooden shelf with two stalls. About this fact give evidence four holes in the wall remaining after horizontal transoms. Potsherds, which were found there, denote to exploitation of cellar as pantry.

Lidský obličej vytesaný do západní stěny místnosti.

Western wall of room bears quaint detail: carved shape of frowning face with moustache and conspicuously big ears. Medieval origin of this creation we can prove only hardly, but it is possible - partly from reason of substantial mouldering of sandstone in grooves and partly from reason of entire lack of initials or dates after ill-mannered visitors on castle (castle was and is still today almost unknown). After all František Fuss noticed this face already in the end of 18th century. Also little height of face above present bottom of hollow gives evidence of fact that author of caricature stayed on former stone floor. We can finally point out similar creations from near Saxon castle Arnstein, where their medieval origin is held for proved by pictured contemporary costumes. Perhaps really any member of garrison passed time by cartooning of his superior - there´s nothing new under the sun. To the south, into Rákosový důl (Reed valley), looked down just described tower over wooden gallery, how demonstrate vestiges of long beams across peripheral rocky clefts. With these vestiges links up shallow groove, skirting western tip of rock and here and there interrupted by holes for columns. According to these vestiges there could be only fence (wickered or caned and greased by clay): there in height it was sufficient protection against arrows from valley. Similar technique was used on Saxon Hockstein too. Groove for fence is interrupeted in one place by shallow square hollow, similar to hollows on Saxon castles Arnstein and Winterstein, where they served for signal fire. In our case, for reason of proximity of inflammable material, we hold it for ground of covered post of sentinel or something similar.

Though castle had rather small area, equipment of castle shows, that it was carefully built building. Consequently its purpose wasn´t so unimportant, how we could judge from its present isolation. Castle originated in territory, that belonged since second half of 13th century to Berkas from Dubá. According to progress of colonization and also according to increase of trade in adjacent territory, we have to take into consideration for foundation of castle most probably 14th century. We can´t exclude, that Berkas built it after 1339, when near trade routes and their crossings were deprived of protection of castle Krásný Buk (that was conquered and destroyed in this year). To this hypothesis corresponds also fact, that all thinkable quickly passable routes for break-out from castle direct to east till northeast into space of Vlcí Hora (Wolfish Hill), Snežná (Snowy village) and Krásný Buk (Nice Beech). Through these villages routed trade-routes from Meissen´s or Bautzen´s region, with further connections to Prague or Zittau. But also in immediate vicinity we have to assume communication, routing through Rákosový důl (Reed valley), through close of Knobloch´s valley and ascending behind Vlcí potok (Wolfish brook) to near Brtnický castle. From this ensues also possibility of easy connection from Krásná Lípa (Nice Linden) with Ceská cestá (Czech road) by Hinter-Hermsdorf. Thus garrison had assignment to keep security of roads and to afford escort as needed. Castle linked up by this function with other fortifications, through which Berkas from Dubá secured whole route (through their Honštejn´s domain) from places of goods-transhipment on river Elbe in Postelwitz and Bad Schandau into Šluknov´s region. The most intensively fulfilled castle its function probably in time of king and emperor Karel IV. (Charles IV.) and his son king Václav IV. (Wenceslas IV.), during period of considerable economical prosperity of region under ruling of old lord Hynek Berka senior. During dividing of his property among his sons in 1410 obtained Mikulášovice and Brtníky younger Hynek Berka junior on Honštejn, hence we can believe that castle was in part of Šluknov´s region, that fell upon him too. We don´t have any informations about fights that could touch it during Hussite wars. Surely it rendered occasional watch and reporting services as well as other castles in region. On the other hand garrison of castle certainly took part in armed disputes of Berkas with Lusatians, Meisseners and Vartemberkas till 40th of 15th century. With considerable probability we can dated violent extinguishment of castle just into this time. Carbonized timber, preserved in two holes for beams bearing shelf in vault, indicates destruction by fire. Destruction could occurred also by hit of lightning, and perhaps in time, when it was already abandoned. Even if Wolfish castle would exist in the years 1443-1451, when into Saxon hands fell at first Honštejn´s region (1443) and then Vildštejn´s region (1451), its fate was sealed up. Routes to west and southwest, which brought so long to Berkas from Dubá big profit, now routed into emptiness. Also Saxon duke had no interest in them - economy of newly obtained domains he oriented to opposite direction, to his former territory. That is why all castles of Vildštejn´s domain were abandoned already in 1456. Also military technique, especially artillery, done during first half of 15th century impressive jump. Fortifications of such type weren´t weighty obstacle anymore and they became anachronism. All grounds lead us to opinion, that Wolfish castle didn´t outlast half of 15th century.

Later was also forgotten name of castle. Map of forestry on which castle is put down first time in 1737 knows only "Pustý zámek (Abandoned chateau) on heather-fields of village Vlcí Hora (Wolfish Hill)", scriptural mention is only from year 1793, when official František Fuss described its ruins. For attempts to derive name of castle from name of family Knobloch from Varnsdorf (in folk tradition was name of castle also "Castle Knobloch´s foot") - Berka´s vassals and officials, motivated by proximity of Knobloch´s valley (documented already in 16th century), we don´t have any evidences and for other solutions we don´t have any clues.

Only three hundred years later surroundings of castle revived for short time, when in the woods below hill Vlcí hora (Wolfish hill) competently absconded veteran Jakub Raschauer, who wasn´t able to revert to peaceful life and who therefore became bandit. Perhaps abandoned castle served him as one of his secret hiding-places, which caused origin of legend about magic vest, that made him invisible. Nevertheless it didn´t save him from hanging in Lipová in 1740. The roads below castle, still in 18th century frequented (sandstone block with post-trumpet and date 1749 in Rákosový důl), were safe again.

And another two castles by town Ceská Kamenice:

Frýdvald (Fredevald - Silent wood, Pustý zámek - Abandoned chateau)

3 km east of Ceská Kamenice

Zbytky zdiva.

Castle Fredevald used to stay above valley of river Kamenice on high rock from slanting columns, that is today natural reservation. It was held for first Ceská Kamenice´s castle, but this hypothesis isn´t documented. Rests of castle are modest and we can hardly specify its disposition from them, because Fredevald was mainly from wood. In northwest of object was fence, lower above road mound with palisades, in south rock falls verticaly into depth, where flows river Kamenice, in east was utilized big rock as watch-place. Wooden palace had its front to the south. In the castle are preserved only modest rests of masonry and small cellar.

Castle Fredevald was founded probably by Michalovicis in the half of 14th century for protection of "Lusatian road", that routed north of castle to Chribská. First mention about castle we have from year 1406, when captain of castle Zikmund from Slibovice was already in the service of Berkas, to whom belonged whole surroundings of Ceská Kamenice. During dividing of Berka´s domain among five sons castle fell upon Jan (John) Berka in 1410. In 1427, when Jindrich (Henry) Berka invaded Lusatia, was settled there his wife Jitka from Házmburk (Hare´s castle). Burggrave of castle in this time was Mikeš Pancír (Panzer) from Smojno, who assaulted Lusatia from there and later from castle Sloup in the years 1429 and 1430. In the year 1428 Jindrich Berka sold Fredevald to Zikmund from Vartemberk on Decín, who continued in assaulting of Lusatia. It seems, that Hussites left it alone, but to castle gave their attention Lusatians during skirmishes with Vartemberkas, because its garrison along with garrison of castle Devín commited according contemporary witness "more damages than all heretics". Beginnings of extinguishment of castle Fredevald went back to 40th-60th of 15th century, when local territory was heavily afflicted with campaigns of Lusatian towns. Their campaigns in the years 1440, 1444, 1467 inflicted also damages of Fredevald, that fullfilled in those days its military function for the last time. And because Vartemberkas had in their domain better and well-built seats, for example near castle Kamenice, they left Fredevald, so it became defunct stage by stage. Also since that time we don´t have informations about castle anymore. Since 16th century castle is with certainty abandoned. In 1890 was made path to the castle and on the top was adapted out-look plateau.

Kamenice (Kamenický hrad - Kamenice´s castle)

16 km east of Decín

Zbytky hradu Kamenice, dnes byla přistavěna dřevěná vyhlídková věž.

On conical basalt hill (530 m) south of town Ceská Kamenice (formerly only Kamenice) are till today preserved rests of castle Kamenice. Access to the castle was from eastern side by road winding along hill-side to the west. In the place, where road approaches to the partialy rough-worked rocks on the right hand, stayed first castle gate. Second gate to the upper castle was on western side of hill, where sheer rocks below top of hill form natural narrow defile. Today on southern edge of small top-plateau stay ruins of castle palace of oblong ground plan (height till second floor). On eastern edge of upper castle area are preserved rests of bulwarks, which span also castle palace partly from southern side. Other buildings and devices weren´t preserved till today.

Origins of castle Kamenice A.Sedlácek put into 40th of 15th century, but this delimitation isn´t authentic. In the then scriptural sources is mentioned new castle or stronghold "by Kamenice", what we can apply also to near castle Fredevald (3 km east of town Ceská Kamenice). Therefore K.Linke located castle Fredevald on hill above Ceská Kamenice and mentioned castle 3 km from Ceská Kamenice he calls Kamenice. It turned out that he wasn´t right.

In scriptural sources castle Kamenice presented itself indirectly in the years 1440-1444. It occured during military invasions of Lusatians, who made wars of many years standing against Vartemberkas in this territory. Their cause was defamatory execution of member of Vartemberka´s clan - Jan (John) from Ralsko in Žitava (Zittau) in the year 1433, who was captured during one raid into Lusatia. Town Kamenice and its surroundings became target of first campaign of Lusatian Sixtowns-union in 1440. Lusatian records talk about burning down of Kamenice, but they of course don´t say, if it was castle or town. In 1442 there is record in Zhorelec´s (Görlitz) civic accounts, that some Görlitzers died in front of new stronghold by Kamenice. From this information A.Sedlácek judged, that castle Kamenice was founded in period of cessation of hostilities between both Lusatian campaigns in the years 1440-1442. But neither in connection with last Lusatian campaign, when was burnt down town Kamenice and plundered its surrounding, we don´t have any express mention about castle Kamenice. From scriptural sources therefore we can´t specify time of foundation of castle above town Ceská Kamenice. It isn´t impossible, that it was founded already before mentioned events and that sources are silent about it because it carried same name as town situated below it. For indirect demonstration of this hypothesis we can hold also circumstance, that in the oldest Kamenice´s civic book (since 1380) are till year 1411 by captains of domain recorded also castles on which they were resided - usually Šarfenštejn (Ostrý, in english Sharp stone) or Falkenštejn (Falcon´s stone), but after 1411 names of their seats are missing in civic book, and from this fact we can judged that they resided in castle above town and this fact as self-evident scribes didn´t hold for important to record it. F.A.Heber dated origin of castle into same time as foundation of town Kamenice (= 70th of 13th century, still before death of king Premysl Otakar II. /+1278/). Defensive function of castle for town, that is situated in narrow valley, is evident. Of course it could be founded also later than in 1411. But we are sure that it wasn´t founded only in period between May 1440 and October 1442, how judged A.Sedlácek.

Vartemberkas exhausted their financial sources by these many years fights with Lusatians and Saxon dukes. After several partial sales whole Decín´s domain with Kamenice bought in 1511 Mikuláš Trcka from Lípa, but already after four years he sold it to brothers Hanuš, Bedrich (Frederick) and Wolf from Salhausen. Before year 1535 Prokop from Vartemberk bought Kamenice as independent domain. In possession of Vartemberkas remained Kamenice till year 1614, when it was bought by Radslav from Vchynice senior. In treaty of purchase castle Kamenice is mentioned already as abandoned. Also in confiscation records from 1622 is castle recorded as "abandoned chateau above town". These two are sole explicit messages about castle. Its function of military fort was restored during 30-years war, when castle was occupied by emperor´s squads in half of thirtieth. During campaign of Swedish Banér´s corps from Žitava (Zittau) to Ceská Lípa (Czech Linden) and Decín in the year 1639 Kamenice´s castle was conquered, burnt down and demolished. In ruins it remained for ever.

In the year 1880 Ceská Kamenice´s beautification association decided to make Zámecký vrch (Chateau hill) open to public as excursion place. Members of association repaired peripheral walls of former castle palace and they built wooden building of restaurant and 16 m high look-out tower. Romantic ruin with salient look-out tower was fair and out-look from its gallery to town and its surroundings decidedly was good for ascending to the top, especially when visitors could refresh themselves in castle restaurant, decorated by blazons of former owners, or they could sit for a while in ancient knight´s parlour (since 1910). Still in thirtieth of 20th century Zámecký vrch (Chateau hill) belonged to popular outdoor targets for Ceská Kamenice´s inhabitants. Later building fell into disrepair and there remained only abandoned ruins with rests of wooden framework of out-look tower. Masonry of castle palace was conserved and several years was surrounded by staging. Only in 1998 repair was ended and inside of castle palace was built up new look-out tower.


Enumeration of castles would be incomplete without castles Krásný Buk (Nice beech) and Tolštejn (Daw´s stone):


Krásný Buk (Nice beech)

2 km west of Krásná Lípa

Zbytky věže Krásného buku.

0,5 km west of hamlet Krásný Buk, that is today part of Krásná Lípa, used to stay castle Krásný Buk, that was administrative center of this part of Rumburk´s region on borderland of Žitava´s region. Its modest rests were preserved on inexpressive wooded knoll, that juts out from hamlet Snežná (Snowy hamlet) above northern edge of valley of river Krinice and that was formerly called Zámecký vrch (Chateau hill). Castle originated probably in the end of 13th century (but we don´t have any informations about it), perhaps in connection with expansion of last Premyslovcis into Žitavsko (Zittau´s region). Its founder could be any member of Markvartici´s clan, who controled this territory after 1263. Later obtained Zittau´s region and adjacent parts of northern Bohemia Jindrich (Henry) from Lipá, who was one of the most puissant aristocrats in country and in the beginning of 14th century he formed there almost independent state. When in the year 1319 Jindrich from Lipá changed Žitavsko (Zittau´s region) with castle Ronov and its belongings (he obtained this territory in 1310) with king Jan Lucemburský (John from Luxembourg) for estates in southern Moravia (whither he moved to his lady-love - royal widow Eliška Rejcka), in the document was also mentioned at first time castle Krásný Buk. In the year 1337 is mentioned again, when garrison of castle Tolštejn threatened safety on roads into Lusatia. Zittau´s forces in those days conquered Tolštejn and when robberies continued from castle Krásný Buk, Zittauers came again in 1339 and 15th October 1339 they conquered it. Then we have no further news about castle. As part of Tolštejn´s domain castle lost in vicinity of castle Tolštejn its former function and it wasn´t repaired anymore.

Ruins of castle exposed, that Krásný Buk belonged to small castles. Castle stayed on rather small granite hillock, that was protected from north by four mounds with moats. But most of them were later ploughed, only on northern edge of wood there is till today patent short rest of last but one moat. Behind it there was extramural settlement reaching up to last moat, that circularly spanned whole castle knoll. Wide and deep moat was excavated into hill-side of castle pile by such manner that on its outer edge remained mighty steep mound. Excepting of several imperceptible rests of walls on the top there are preserved 2-3 m thick stone grounds of cylindrical tower, behind that on lowered place probably stayed wooden (or partly bricked) castle palace. During excavations in castle in 1850 were found potsherds, horseshoes, arrows and Hussite mace. On field near castle ruins was found also completely disintegrating and into two parts split coin of emperor Hadrián (117-138 A.D.)

Tolštejn (Daw´s stone)

4 km southwest of Varnsdorf

Large royal domains in Northern Bohemia were obtained step by step by two powerful aristocratic clans, which held important offices in Premyslovci´s princely court. While Berkas from Dubá managed their domains from castle Honštejn (Hohenstein in present Germany), Vartemberka´s branch of house of Markvarticis buitl up as their seat castle Tolštejn perhaps already in 13th century.

Castle, whose name with likelihood ensued from denomination of rock (Dohlenstein = Raven´s stone), had sole gate on eastern side of castle-site. Gate was square building with two gateways and passage. From there was entrance into square tower, whose 2 m thick and 18 m high walls preserve till today windows and doors. To this tower adhered oblong building standing in north-southern direction. Eastern wall of this building formed part of bulwark. In its southern part adhered to it bastion of horse-shoe figure, in its vault was established dungeon. From gate stone-wall continued to northwest to mighty hexagonal two-storeyed bastion (a little advanced). In its ground-floor there was probably bath (according to findings of glazed tiles and grooves), in its second-floor chapel (according to some informations). Then wall directed to west to oblong building (a little advanced). In its second-floor was large hall. There we can find vestiges of rebuilding (by Šlejnicis) - this fact is supported by wide window typical only for Renaissance period. West of this building used to stay tower with dungeon. Therefore this three-storeyed tower had its entrance 5 m above ground. Wall continued to south to rock, that closed fortification ring and on that was situated watch-post. Inside of this wall-ring were situated all neccessary residential and auxiliary buildings - before all castle palace, living rooms of garrison, stables and pantries. Inner castle, built up on the top of basalt rocky cliff, with tower and palace on northwestern side, almost disappeared. Today there are visible only excavations into the rock. Till today is preserved only fortification of extramural settlement with mighty gable-wall and semi-cylindrical bastion protecting southern side of extramural settlement by entry way and gate, on eastern and northern side were preserved three semi-cylindrical oblong polygonal bastions and rests of auxiliary buildings. Outer fortification is from Šlejnici´s period (from the turn of 15th and 16th century).

Foundation of castle Tolštejn already in 13th century is supported by record from 1262, that is cited by German regional historian O.Sauppe: "In the year 1262 were on Tolštejn many evil-doers, who were driven out by Zittau and other Lusatian towns." Also another German regional historian Robert Lahmer in his chronicle of town Šluknov supports allegation, that castle Tolštejn was founded already in 13th century. Conclusive documents supporting existence of this Vartemberka´s seat ensue only from beginning of 14th century. First historicaly proved owner of castle Tolštejn was Vanek from Vartemberk (1325-1363), the Highest waiter of Czech kingdom, possessor of Vartemberk, Devín and Zákupy. Through his aggressions to the northern direction he met with interests of Upper-Lusatian towns, which sent against him army and in 1337 they conquered this castle. About this event wrote Jan from Guben - scribe of town Zittau - record into Zittau´s civic book.

Tolštejn remained in possession of Vartemberkas whole 14th century. But in 1402 Václav from Vartemberk sold Tolštejn to Hynek Berka from Dubá and he retained only Zákupy. By this purchase Berkas consolidated their domains in the Czech North. Hynek secured old castle by new entry tower and gable-wall. After his death in 1419 large domain was divided among his sons, younger Jan junior obtained castle Tolštejn with castles Frýdvald (Fredevald), Falkenštejn and Kamenice and part of Chlum, Malešov and Skalice. Though Jan was follower of Jan Hus, fear of property forced him into alliance with the Catholic country back home in Lusatia and Catholic lords in Bohemia. When Hussites, after victorious battle by Horice 20th April 1423, occupied Litomerice, conquered Decín and there was a rumour that Jan Žižka heads to Lusatia, Jan Berka begun to conclude through his captain with representatives of Lusatian towns and with Decín´s, Lipá´s and Michalovici´s lords defensive union against Hussites. Quick succesion of events, especially smashing of Lordly union´s army in battle by Malešov 7th June 1424 put an end to these plans. Berkas and Vartemberkas rather became reconciled with Hussites. And so it happened, that when Hussites armies captured in 1425 by Zittau among others also Bautzen´s captain, they put him in prison on castle Tolštejn. Afterwards Hussites had their garrisons on many castles of region, from which they organized fight against Catholic Lusatia.

Jan Berka from Dubá died about year 1426 and Tolštejn obtained after him his brother Hynek Berka junior. He also was in possession of new castle Vildštejn (in present Saxony). In the year 1443 Berkas ceded castle Honštejn to Saxon princes and they retained only Tolštejn and Vildštejn. Between them and Lusatian towns took place conflicts very often and in addition to it they had to defend themselves against invasions of Vartemberkas. Albrecht Berka from Dubá as heir to local Berka´s estates under influence of these events concluded allied pact with Saxon princes. In 1451 he sold to them castle Vildštejn and bought from them part of Šluknov´s region that sooner belonged to castle Honštejn.

Efforts of king Jirí from Podebrady for consolidation of Bohemian kingdom and reinforcement of royal power drove Albrecht Berka into camp of king´s adversaries. He actively revolted against him, he organized various robbing assaults, and thus he was finally cited to the court to Prague. But Albrecht didn´t come to court and therefore king Jirí issued 29th June 1463 order to Lusatian "foyt" (=administrator), Jan from Vartemberk and Jindrich Berka from Dubá to conquer through armies of Lusatian Sixtowns-union castle Tolštejn and to capture lord Albrecht Berka. Tolštejn was really conquered, but Albrecht escaped, castle at least obtained Lusatian garrison. He took recourse to Vratislav (Wroclaw in present Poland), that was in camp of king´s adversaries too. There he sought protection by papal legate. Against his mendacious defence opposed Jan from Vartemberk and so neither intervention of papal see didn´t help him. On court assembly in Prague 12th June 1464 Albrecht Berka was sentenced (in his non-appearance) to forfeiture of all estates (so castle Tolštejn too). Most of them (even Tolštejn) gained Jan from Vartemberk. But he died in same year and owner of Tolštejn became his son Kryštof (Christopher). Castle became seat of his captain Kryštof Romberk from Hermanice.

Meanwhile in Bohemia formed itself Zelenohorská Jednota (Greenhill´s Union) against Czech king. When pope pronounced an anathema against king Jirí from Podebrady, against king opposed also Lusatia. Notwithstanding Kryštof from Vartemberk kept fidelity to king. Papal legate wanted to help to Albrecht Berka from Dubá to re-acquirement of Tolštejn and therefore he pronounced anathema agaisnt whole Tolštejn´s domain in 1467. Tolštejn´s captain Kryštof Romberk, who was in possession of town Rumburk as feud, therefore invaded Lusatia with allies. During return was defeated by Lusatians below Široká hora (Wide hill). Papal legate pressed Lusatians in order that they should take a field against castle Tolštejn and conquer it. Besiege of castle really occured in 1469, but castle was rescued by invasion of royal army into Žitavsko (Zittau´s region) 6th September 1469 and besiegers had to retreat. Besieging and conquering to Tolštejn in the years 1463 and 1469 caused damages especially of outer fortifications. From walls were preserved only part and solid gable-wall from beginning of 15th century. Also entry gate had to resist many attacks, during which it was seriously damaged and therefore it had to be reconstructed.

Kryštof from Vartemberk ran into debts through his unceasing warfares and therefore he had to sell Tolštejn in 1471 to Saxon princes Arnošt and Albrecht for 8300 threescore of groschens. New owners endeavoured for exemption of Tolštejn´s domain from anathema but papal legate didn´t do it and on the contrary Albrecht Berka accused them by legate. Princes didn´t come to legate court, because they avowed as real judge only Czech king. So Albrecht Berka from Dubá had to surrender his claims for Tolštejn. Saxon princes sold Tolštejn with Šluknov´s region to Saxon knight Hugolt from Šlejnice in 1481. Because it was sale among foreignors, new Czech king Vladislav II. (from Polish clan of Jagellas) had to give compliance for entering of mentioned estates into Court and land tables (= books with records of estate-owners). It occured in the year 1485. Under ruling of Šlejnicis (especially under Jirí Šlejnic) occured economical prosperity in Tolštejn´s domain, typical for end of 15th and first half of 16th century. Towns obtained new privileges, guild production was supported by new liberties, mining of valuable metals was intensified through foundation of small mining town named after its founder - Jiretín (St. George).

Managment at own cost required new administrative centre. This centre was till this time castle Tolštejn, that served at the same time as residence to its owner. Jindrich Šlejnic (+ 1518) was therefore forced to adapt old castle for new circumstances by extensive late-gothic rebuilding. Its author was Wendel Rosskopf (architect from Zhorelec and disciple of Benedikt Rejt from Pístov) and it was performed in the year 1516. Rebuilding enlarged entry space by extension of new building adhering to gable-wall. In the northwest was increased defensive power of castle by tower of circular ground-plan with loop-holes for cannons and with prison, in the north new (open into courtyard) bastion with 3 m thick walls and loop-holes for cannons too. This new fortification elements were completed through new wall in northern front of castle. In inner area of castle was built furthemore building between mentioned tower and bastion. All these modifications conformed Tolštejn to living needs of Šlejnicis in the beginning of 16th century - they removed damages caused by wars of 15th century and made from Tolštejn object, that was in top form of contemporary fortification technique (characterized by broad exploitation of artillery). For further destiny of castle this rebuilding from military angle of view had fundamental importance.

Castle Tolštejn didn´t change its figure till its extinguishment. But it turned out that neither expensive rebuilding didn´t satisfy demands of Renaissance aristocracy for comfortable and presentable seat. And when highly situated castle for its harsh climate didn´t agree with Jirí Šlejnic (health complaints), he decided to moved his seat to town Rumburk, where he let build comfortable chateau. Jirí Šlejnic died in 1565 and he left behind him four sons. They split large Šlejnici´s property among themselves in 1566. From Tolštejn´s domain arose three new domains: Rumburk, Šluknov and Lipová. Tolštejn didn´t served as aristocratic seat anymore and it was used only as fort and only from this reason it was actually maintained. Rumburk´s domain with castle Tolštejn bought from Šlejnicis in the year 1587 imperial councillor and vicechancellor of Bohemian kingdom - Jirí Mehl from Strelice. Under ruling of his son Baltazar prosperous domain with castle Tolštejn began to decline. In peace-time there was no need of military forts and Tolštejn remained abandoned. When Rumburk´s domain was bought by Vchynskýs in 1607, castle was valued for mere 2000 threescores of Meissen´s groschens.

Radslav Vchynský restored castle, so it became fort again. But then broak out 30-years war. Vilém Vchynský took part in Valdštejn´s conspiracy and thus he was assassinated along Albrecht from Valdštejn in Cheb in 1634. Vchynský´s property (including Tolštejn) was confiscated and it was obtained by Wien´s secret court councillor Kryštof Löbl from Krainburk. Castle Tolštejn was occupied by imperial garrison of colonel Mattlohe, that should guard road leading to Ceská Lípa (Bohemian Linden). In the year 1642 there appeared squads of Swedes under command of general Wrangel. Garrison of colonel Mattlohe attacked them near Varnsdorf, but they didn´t succeed. Fight get over Tolštejn, castle was conquered and plundered. Kryštof Löbl didn´t have interest in renewing of Tolštejn and thus castle remained in ruins and it wasn´t repaired anymore neither by later owners.



Skalní hrady v Ceském Švýcarsku (Rocky castles in Czech Switzerland) - František Nemecek, Richard Klos, Severoceské nakladatelství (Northbohemian publishing house), 1978

Hrady, zámky a tvrze v Cechách, na Morave a ve Slezsku, Severní Cechy-svazek III (Castles, chateaus and strongholds in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, Northern Bohemia-volume III), Svoboda, 1984

Umelecké památky Cech (Art relics of Bohemia) - Nakladatelství (publishing house) Academia, 1980


(c) Pech - 2000, optimalisation for MS IE 5.0 + scale 1024 x 768.