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The history of the castle

Artists on Střekov

The world known Goethe, a romanticist Mácha, a composer Wagner and painters Richter and Doerell along with a poet Körner -all of these have seen Střekov and have been enchanted by its magic. Then they wrote, painted and composed like never before. Richard Wagner was the only one who needed to “push” the muse a little. In the year 1842 at full moon he covered himself in a white bed sheet and wondered about on the fortifications. He may have scared several people, but it was worth it. He composed a poem on Střekov, which later became the basis for the libretto of the opera Tannhäuser. Twenty two years sooner a mysterious silhouette of Střekov inspired Ludwig Richter to paint the famous “Ferry at Střekov” ( „Přívozu u Střekova“). The painting is nowadays exhibited in the Dresden gallery. Renderings of equally exquisite pieces of art of Ernst Gustav Doerell can be seen in the castle itself.  You may also find his memorial plaque within the walls of Střekov.

We started intentionally in the 19th century. Those days a surge of Romantism spread through Europe. It thrilled the souls of people, made them shiver and it inspired their fantasy. Wondering through the nature and visiting ruins was the fashion those days. So Střekov which was falling apart up until the end of the 17th century regained former fame and attention. The tourists were lured by the magical atmosphere of the long castle history shrouded in mystery.

Running through the centuries

It was necesarry for the prosperity of the kingdom to collect the duties. But to collect them, the import and export of the goods had to be guarded. And to control the trade, it was necessary to build-up guarding station. Basalt rock, standing over the surface of river Labe to the height of hundred metres, seemed to be ideal for building the guarding station. John of Luxemburg, king of that time had another problem – money. He had solved it very wisely, when he gave the town of Střekov (in 1316) to the rich Prague nobleman Pešek from Veitmile in the condition that he would build a castle there. After three years, when the so-called Great building was constructed, he sold Střekov to Vartenbergs from Děčín.

Vartenbergs owned the castle for approximately hundred years and extended the castle. In the 15th century the owners were changing often. In 1485 Střekov was given to Hanuš Glacefrom Starý dvor, who did reconstructions aimed for greatening the living spaces of the castle. In 1563 Střekov was given to Lobkowicz family, who own them today. For its reconstructions they had given already great amount of money.

Fortress or not?

Although Střekov had not been built as a fortress, it was used in that way many times. In spite of that it is not so visible. However, in the year 1757 the castle was bombed by the units of general Laudon. Six cannonballs,  as a sad memory, are still burrowed in the steep rock wall. They can be seen only from one place on the court of the castle. Story states, that if you find that place, your biggest wishes will be fullfilled within six days.

Střekov played an important role during the Hussite wars, when nuns from Teplice monastery together with probošt Jan from Roudnice fled there. During the Thirty year´s war there were Sachs and Swedish changing their ownership of the castle. Střekov was burned down in 1658. Although being left for 50 years, the walls of the castle were strong enough to welcome and cover prussian units during the Seven years war. That was again fatal for those walls, because Croatians were attacking Prussian units by the cannons, which caused harm namely to the „Great building“ and to the chappel.

Touristic season

Last armies left that place long time ago and Střekov changed to the romantic ruin. Since 19th Century Střekov attracts more and more visitors to its history enchanted walls. Castle restaurant which offer its services for shortening the waiting time for the next exhibition, is available for the visitors since 1830. Since the 20th Century Střekov emerged as a tourist attraction. Administration buildings in the area under the castle were modified for living rooms.

There was a huge fire intentionally lit in the area of administrative buildings in 1961. In that time president ought to visit Ustí nad Labem and zealous officials were afraid of president´s anger about the fact, that there would not be a place to park president´s huge car. Historic buildings were burned to the stake and there was a parking place built.

Castle of Střekov is owned nearly half of the millenium by Lobkowitz family. In the present it is owned by Mr. William, to whom the castle was restitued after 1989. He takes a good care of the castle. Tourists are being pleased by nice words of the guides, by fine meal in the castle restaurant and even by seasonal exhibitions in the gallery.

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