Helfenburk Castle, also called Hrádek, was built by the Ronov family in the first half of the 14th century, but already in 1375 it came into the possession of the Prague Archbishopric. The castle is freely accessible all year round.

  • Helfenburk Castle was built in the 13th century and served as a stronghold during the Hussite Wars.
  • The castle features impressive outer fortifications, including a moat, drawbridge, and defensive towers.
  • Inside the castle, visitors can explore the main building and the inner castle, which contains the castle’s living quarters and the castle chapel.
  • Legend has it that the castle is haunted by the ghost of a former resident, who appears to visitors as a lady in white.
  • The castle also contains hidden passages and rooms, including a secret treasure vault that has yet to be discovered.
  • Visitors can explore the castle on their own or take a guided tour, which provides insight into the castle’s history and legends.

The massive fortifications, which significantly changed the overall character of the castle, were built by Archbishop Jan of Jenštejn . The complex of walls up to 12 meters high, dominated by a tower over 17 meters high, is freely accessible all year round . Only the tower is accessible only on weekends.

During the stormy times of the Hussite wars, the castle became the refuge of the archbishop, after which it passed into noble hands. It remained inhabited for almost the entire 16th century , in 1620 it was set on fire and destroyed. The main tower received romantic modifications in the years 1887-90, when the ruins of the castle were bought and modified by industrialist Count Josef von Schroll and became attractive for tourists.

Thanks to the local civic association , which takes care of Helfenburk all year round , the ruins built on the sandstone rock are very accessible. The view over the landscape and the atmosphere of the massive building are definitely worth it.

An interesting legend is worth mentioning, which claims that at the beginning of the 17th century, a couple of monkeys were supposed to settle in Helfenburg , which allegedly escaped from a nobleman who brought this “souvenir” from far away countries. However, exotic animals began to multiply rapidly in the castle and soon there were reportedly hundreds of them . The monkeys were very harmful to the wider area; over time, their audacity grew to such an extent that they ventured into the neighboring villages, whose inhabitants were very afraid of them , during their nocturnal marauding expeditions . There were even several attempts to exterminate them by local residents, but they ended in failure. In the end , the imperial army had to pacify the insolent animal pack. Perhaps it was at that time that the name Helfenburk was corrupted into Affenburk , i.e. Monkey Castle – Bohuslav Balbín also mentions it in his work Varieties from the History of the Kingdom of Bohemia .

FAQs:

Q: How much does it cost to visit Helfenburk Castle near Úštěk?

A: Admission fees vary depending on the time of year, but typically range from 80 CZK to 150 CZK.

Q: Can visitors explore the castle on their own?

A: Yes, visitors can explore the castle on their own, or they can take a guided tour.

Q: Is there a gift shop at the castle?

A: Yes, there is a gift shop on site where visitors can purchase souvenirs and snacks.

Helfenburk Castle near Úštěk is a fascinating historical landmark that offers a glimpse into Czech history and legends. From its impressive fortifications to its hidden passages and secret treasure vault, the castle has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of legends and myths, or simply looking for a unique and interesting place to visit, Helfenburk Castle is definitely worth a visit. So why not plan a trip to this captivating castle and discover its mysteries for yourself?

 

 

Venue

Helfenburg Castle

Úštěk
411 45 Úštěk
GPS: 50,579149 14.383914

Operator

Information center Úštek
Mírové náměstí 47
411 45 Úštěk
Tel.: +420 416 795 368

WWW: www.mesto-ustek.cz/

Region: Usti region
Region: Bohemian Central Highlands
City: A mouthful
Tips for a trip: Úštěk and surroundings

Opening hours

Note: 
The castle area is accessible all year round, the tower is opened every weekend of the year (including the winter months).

Duration

1-4 hours

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