The Romantic ruins of the 14th century Gothic castle with a great view over the river Labe (Elbe). Nowadays owned again by the Lobkowicz family. The romantic settings of the castle and its positions have inspired many artists whose ranks include R. Wagner, E.G.Doerell, L. Richter.
6-8 HOUR ROUND TRIP
STREKOV CASTLE RUINS
Ruins of a Gothic castle of the 14th century with Late Gothic and Renaissance
additions . The castle was returned back to the original owners , i.e. the
Lobkowicz family after 1989.
Ruins of a Gothic castle of the 14th century with Late Gothic and Renaissance
The castle became the seat of the robbers within the 30 years war in the 17th
it became the property of the Lobkowicz family, they owned it till 1949.
The romantic settings of the castle and its positions have
inspired many artists whose ranks include R. Wagner, E.G.Doerell, L. Richter.
Just bellow the castle , on the River Elbe, is a weir with 16 metres high lock
The castle was returned back to the orignal owners, i.e. the Lobkowicz
family after 1989.
Majestic Strekov stands up on a black rock, which towers from the river Labe up to one hundred metres. It is said that during rainy nights a ghost of a young lady climbs up the cliff. It was a daughter of the burgrave and her life ended in a fall from the cliff. She is looking for a phantom of her beloved. It was a poor hostler who was punished for tasting the forbidden love. He was left to die of hunger within tower walls.
The Strekov castle has a very long history, where rumors and tales mingle with facts. For instance in the year 1842 a real spectre appeared on the castle walls. It was the composer Richard Wagner who was looking for a muse in a very fancy way. It was in the romantic creeks of the old ruin where he mantled with a bed sheet. He wondered around Strekov and looked down into the valley where Usti nad Labem was set. There he finally composed a poem, which later became the basis for the libretto of the known opera Tannhäuser. However he was not the only artist to seek and find the inspiration on Støekov. The castle enchanted Karel Hynek Macha, Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Karl May.
On visit is enough for the castle to get under your skin. Well preserved stone walls stand next to ruined fortifications. Only its outlines can be now seen. Nevertheless they show us the grandeur of this building, which was supposed to protect the mercantile path of Labe. Tourists will appreciate delicious food in the local gothic restaurant along with the terrace offering a spectacular view on the picturesque hills of Ceske stredohori.
If it wasn’t for the former president’s visit in 1961 to Usti nad Labem and to Strekov, you probably wouldn’t have the possibility to park your car close to the castle. Underneath the castle where we may find the parking place once stood a large courtyard and a manor. The historical buildings were taken down in the fore mentioned year after a large fire. It is said that it was arranged, because diligent officials were afraid that the absence of a parking place for the presidential limousine might upset the head of the state.
The way of life alongside the castle
When entering the courtyard you can’t not notice the high basalt rock on which the castle stands. Six cannon balls are embedded in the black stone. They are what is left from the Croatian siege in 1757 lead by general Laudon. Rumor has it that if you find a place where you would be able to see all the cannonballs at once, your greatest wish will come true.
Where nowadays stands the cash desk and the souvenir shop once stood the residence of the castle custodian. In the place of a stylish restaurant you could find a brewery. The buildings underneath the castle come from the 16th century. Entering the courtyard is free of charge, so you can enjoy a delicious lunch in a lovely gothic restaurant without actually visiting Støekov itself.
Up the stone stairs for the scenery
However if you find yourself in the courtyard, you probably won’t resist the temptation to visit the castle. A mysterious ruin which fascinated Macha, Wagner and Goethe can be visited in the company of a professional tour guide. You can also borrow a text with interpretation and wonder freely through all the dark corners of the castle. As fascinating as Støekov itself is an impressive view from its terrace. It stands on the place of a former second floor called the Great house. On the horizon stretches a furrowed landscape of Ceske stredohori.
The city Usti nad Labem seems at hand. Equally interesting, yet not as pleasant is the view on the Masaryk floodgates. It is a technical aquatic creation, which defaces the river Labe in places where the black basalt rock submerges under the water. On top of this cliff stands the majestic castle.
The ground floor of the Great house is well preserved and hosts a permanent exhibition. From the terrace you may enter into so called Hall with the oriel window. Sometime after the year 1499 it was rebuild by the owner of the castle Hanus Glac. When looking at those ruined walls it is hard to believe that once people used to live here. Or actually live here as in the most comfortable part of the castle – this room was the only one with heating.
To the chapel and the tower palace
Both rooms are interesting because of their irregular ground plan, which had to be adjusted to local rocky subsoil. It is interesting to observe the rock penetrating the floor of the Great house so it might climb up to the middle of the room height. There is no such thing as right angle inside Støekov. Therefore more intriguing is the fact that the castle has been standing here for more than six hundred years.
In castle´s chapell there was an altar, that had been a bit untypically turned towards the south.In the majority of catholic estates the altars are being turned towards the east. Tower palace offers two kinds of exhibitions for visitors. You get to know some interesting information about the history of Støekov castle in the basement. There are coats of arms painted on the walls, that represent families, who owned the castle. You can see a model of a castle which depicts the castle as it looked like in the year 1499 (in its 3rd phase of construction) in the middle of the room. Upper floor shows the exposition of romantism. The most favourite is a picture of Strekov with hits from the bullets and cannon balls. History of the picture is not very romantic, there is no mysterious story connected with it. This picture from 19th century served as a shooting disc. If you were amazed by the pictures in the tower castle and you are disappointed by the fact that there is not much of them, do not despair. There are sezional exhibitions of local artists prepared for you in Støekov. You can get to the gallery from the court of the castle.
Mysterious staircase and tumbledown citadelle
Places, that we have been going through make us imagine the past looks of them pretty accurately. However if there had not been ruins in the Strekov area, covered in mysteries, it would have hardly inspired so many artists. There are many tumbledown places, that inspire us for dreaming about the past looks of the area. Hava a look at the stair-like chiselwork in front of the tower palace. It is a mystery where the stairs were heading. We assume, that the staircase was actually spindle stairs and headed towards the corner tower, that had been built in 1319 and which was then, during the era of Hanuš Glace, reconstructed as a palace for living.
Fragments of the past fortifications – citadelles – can be found on the rock, that is separated from the casle by very deep gulley. There was a falling bridge in the past, but today there are only holes in the walls. Although there are only few stones left from the whole object, we can find out, that it was opened in the Støekov direction. It was simply because of the fact, that an enemy would not use the citadelle in case it had been conquered.
Sad story about a tower
We go into the Strekov tower through the entrance that was made in the half of the 19th century. Originally, the door were in the first floor and people got there by a ladder. In case you want to enjoy the beautifull look on the scenery, you have to step on 42 stairs. But then you will be revareded by being in the small guard´s room.
There had been a dungeon in the lower part of the tower. Story says that there was imprisoned and tortured to death a poor horeseman, who had been quilty of falling in love with a daughter of the Lord of the castle. Problem was in the fact that she loved him too. The end of the story is not one of the happiest ones. A young lady ended her life by jumpin of the rock. Story says her ghots cries there during the rainy nights.