Village where Franz Kafka lived and wrote his inspiration of "Castle"
Order Tour Code: C B3
We can show you the village where Franz Kafka
spent eight months of his life, the place that
inspired him to write “The Castle“, and where
he authored his “Aphorisms“and “Diaries“ as
well as several other works.
The village is an essential part of the history of Franz
Kafka. Starting in the summer of 1917, the writer
lived in the village for eight months, in what appears
to have been a relatively happy part of his life. The
topography of Sirem is strongly reminiscent of the
town portrayed in his classic novel, The Castle. It is
rumored that the granary on the hill overlooking the
village was the inspiration for the castle itself, and
the small bridge could have been the very one K. stood
on after arriving to the village in the story.
Today, Sirem is a crumbling old village, due to its
location in the Sudetenland. This part of the Czech
Republic was inhabited by ethnic Germans, many of whom
were expelled after World War II. The house where
Kafka most probably lived is located on the ½village½s
Despite the current condition of Sirem, it is located
in a pretty area and is worth visiting for its strong
connection to the writer. Kafka said that the time he
spent there was one of the most beautiful periods of
Many of the feelings of alienation and anxiety that drove Kafka to write, had their roots in the writer's youth. Franz Kafka, who was born to a Prague-based German-Jewish family in 1883, was weak and shy as a child. He did not inspire much respect from his father; nor did he fare much better as an adult. Kafka specialist Eduard Goldstucker, in an interview for Radio Prague not long before he died two years ago, said Kafka's dilemma with his father could be traced back to his earliest childhood.
"He wrote a piece called 'Letter to Father' in which he described an incident from early life, when he was a baby or a small child. One night he cried and couldn't stop. His father, who was tired after a whole day's work and wanted to sleep, tried to get him to stop crying. But it didn't help. His father lost his patience, got up and took the boy and put him on the balcony and left him there. I interpret this moment as a moment when that boy somehow thought of himself as abandoned. Rejected."
Pictures from Kafka's diariesWhether one moment or many contributed to feelings of resentment towards his father, his feelings of inadequacy never abandoned Kafka throughout his life. He was left isolated, unable to relate.
"He characterised himself as a man whose own nature distanced him from life in a meaningful community."
After completing secondary school Kafka continued with studies in law. Following graduation in 1907 he then joined an Italian insurance company, partly in the attempt to prove to his father he could hold a steady job. But for Kafka the work was hardly rewarding, and he left within a year. He then joined the Workers' Accident Insurance Institute which remained his sole place of employment until 1917.
But, it was away from the clerk's desk that he dreamed of becoming a writer, sacrificing many hours writing long into the night.
Kafka's manuscript"It was fifteen years of gruesome effort to become a writer. The breakthrough came when he succeeded in writing a short story in one night - The Verdict. He was very dissatisfied with most of what he wrote, and he never finished any of his three novels. His protagonists in his works mostly try to get out of loneliness. Of imposed loneliness, from which there is no way out. And they are seeking their way out, but they always come back defeated."
Kafka's own relationships also suffered failure. In 1914 he became engaged for the first time to the daughter of a Jewish businessman: Felice Bauer. But he called the engagement off. In 1917, he would promise to marry her again, but by that time he became ill: he had contracted tuberculosis, which would kill him in seven years' time.
Another relationship involved the writer and the daughter of a cobbler. However, that was frowned upon most deeply by the domineering father.
Kafka's last important relationship was with journalist Milena Jesenska, said to be his intellectual match.
Max BrodOutside of romantic relationships his closest friendship was with the writer Max Brod, a prominent intellectual on the Czech literary scene. It was Brod who first recognised the genius of Kafka's work. Ultimately betraying his dying friend's request to burn every page of his work. After Kafka died, Brod set about doing the opposite: publishing all of his writings. Eduard Goldstucker once more:
"Before Kafka published a single line he looked upon Kafka as a genius. In all respects. Max Brod wrote about him as a great writer, mentioning his name among a row of great writers of the age. To which Kafka said very modestly 'I thank you very much, but that name should be forgotten.'"
Franz Kafka died on June 3rd 1924, never knowing what impact his work would have on the 20th century. The modern literary canon is unthinkable without it, from novels like The Trial and The Castle, to the short stories like The Metamorphosis, and In the Penal Colony.
"It would appear that the street - the main street of the village - did not
lead up to the Castle Hill, it only made towards it and than, as if
deliberately, turned aside, and though it did not lead away from the Castle, it
led no nearer to it either."
Franz Kafka - The Castle
"You are not from the Castle, you are not from the village, you are not
anything. Or rather, unfortunately, you are something, a stranger, a man who is
not wanted and is in everybodyï¿½s way, a man who is always causing
Franz Kafka - The Castle
"We are sinful not only because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, but
also because we have not eaten of the Tree of Life. The state in which we are
is sinful irrespective of guilt."
"A cage went in search of a bird."
"There are countless hiding-places, there is only one deliverance, but
possibilities of deliverance are again as many as the hiding-places."
"One of the Evilï¿½s most effective means of seduction is the challange to
"Martyrs do not underrate the body, they allow it to be elevated on the cross.
In this they are at one with their antagonists."
"All human errors are impatience, a premature breakï¿½ng-off of methodical
procedure, an apparent fencing-in of what is apparently at issue."
1,5 hour from Prague, W
Trip: Kafka´s village CB3 - 4 hour round trip
Combinations of trips:
1)Kafka´s village CB3 + Lidice village CW2 - 6hour round trip
2)Kafka´s village CB3 + Nelahozeves castle CNW1 - 7hour round trip
3)Kafka´s village CB3 + Krivoklat castle CW1 - 7hour round trip
4)Kafka´s village CB3 + Nizbor glassworks CW3 - 7hour round trip
5)Kafka´s village CB3 + Karlstejn castle CSW1 - 7hour round trip
6)Kafka´s village CB3 + Terezin conc. camp CNW3 - 8hour round trip
7)Kafka´s village CB3 + Nelahozeves castle CNW1 + Terezin conc. camp CNW3 - 9hour round trip
8)Kafka´s village CB3 + Krivoklat castle CW1 + Nizbor glassworks CW3 - 9hour round trip
9)Kafka´s village CB3 + Lidice village CW2 + Terezin conc. camp CNW3 - 9hour round trip
10)Kafka´s village CB3 + Krivoklat castle CW1 + Karlstejn castleCSW1 - 9hour round trip
11)Kafka´s village CB3 + Karlovy Vary CWW2 - 9hour round trip
12)Kafka´s village CB3 + Marianske Lazne spa CWW1 - 9hour round trip
13)Kafka´s village CB3 + Plzen brewery CSWW1 - 9hour round trip
14)Kafka´s village CB3 + Marianske Lazne spa CWW1 + Karlovy Vary spa CWW2 - 12hour round trip
15)Kafka´s village CB3 + Marianske Lazne spa spa CWW1 + Karlovy Vary CWW2 + Plzen brewery CSWW1 - 13hour round trip
16)Kafka´s village CB3 + Zatec hop making center CWW13 - 8 hour round trip