Gothic castle situated in the Czech Republic c. 60 km west of Prague. It was a favourite country seat of the kings of Bohemia. Founded on the site of a fortress dating from c. 1110, it was built in the 13th century by Ottokar II Přemysl (reg 1253–78). About 1400 it was extended by Wenceslas IV (reg 1378–1419) and was burnt down in 1422. Between 1493 and 1522 it was totally rebuilt by Vladislav II Jagiellon (reg 1471–1516) and his son Louis (reg 1516–26). The castle later passed into the hands of the nobility and deteriorated. Between 1882 and 1938 it was restored.
The castle is built on an asymmetrical headland above a stream and is triangular in plan; the nucleus of the eastern part, forming a small triangular courtyard, dates from the 13th century. There is a cylindrical tower à bec in the eastern corner. The west wing consists of the residential palace, with a passage in the centre and a ceremonial hall on the first floor. There is a chapel in the south wing. The oldest part of the castle is marked by the Romanesque windows (first half of the 13th century) that are found on the ground-floor of all three wings. The passage through the palace is enhanced by blind arcades in the so-called Cistercian–Burgundian style used in Central Europe. The remains of the vault of the ceremonial hall are similar in style. There is written evidence of a vaulted ceiling with bosses decorated with the coats of arms of all the countries ruled by Ottokar II Přemysl....