Městské informační centrum Strakonice

Zámek 1
386 01 Strakonice
tel.: 380 422 744




Město Strakonice
Odbor školství a cestovního ruchu

Velké náměstí 2
386 21 Strakonice
tel.: 383 700 848 

GPS: 49°15'29.579"N, 13°54'4.320"E

Expozice muzea
na hradě jsou uzavřeny v období 2018-2021
z důvodu rekonstrukce
v rámci 52. výzvy IROP.


The Bavarian Palace

Strakonice Castle is truly unique as its buildings, walls and layout show architectural evolution from the 12th century to the end of the 20th century. Despite all the changes throughout the centuries, its character as a large castle complex has been preserved, with all the distinctive features of a castle protected naturally by the confluence of two rivers and, in addition, a deep moat, once supplied with water from the pond nearby.

The south-western part is one of the oldest parts of the castle, and the first castle owners – the Bavarian family – probably lived in this part in the Middle Ages. On the lowest floor of the 12th century Roman palace, there is an accessible room with a vaulted ceiling composed of four vaults without ribs that join at a pillar in the middle of the room. Today, it is below ground level (the rooms are now a part of the wine bar Hradní sklípek i.e. Castle Cellars).

The original Bavarians’ residence was more or less a fortress. There were two towers: that in the south-western part of the castle was a three-storey, square tower, and it was torn down somewhere around 1800 due to its poor condition. The second is today’s Rumpál viewing tower. The castle was surrounded with a stone wall that originally led all the way through the northern part of the premises, up to the part owned by the Order of Saint John.

There were originally two palaces, new and old. The current two-storey building was created by roofing these two structures together. Below the partly oriel windows you can identify a stone table that used to serve, according to the order’s traditions, for handing out gruel to the poor. The stairway situated in the corner of the courtyard leads to the Museum of the Central Otava Region, where visitors can find out about the history of the city and the region from the prehistoric settlement up to the present day. There are several unique exhibitions, including one dedicated to bagpipers, which is, by the way, an important regional phenomenon. Another exhibition deals with the production of traditional Turkish caps – fezzes. Many visitors also come to visit yet another part of the museum, which recalls the long gone fame of locally produced weapons and motorcycles (the ČZ brand).

On the first storey of the building, you can admire a well-preserved wall painting called the Wheel of Fortune. Behind this room, there is a chapel with a Gothic reveal at its entrance and lancet windows.

This unique piece of art is connected with the period of construction conducted by Bavarian III. The secular motif depicts the fickleness of fate and fortune. The painting is dated 1310. Bavarian III himself got caught in the wheel of fortune. He was in an elevated position as the Count of Zvíkov, and he was a respected and powerful nobleman. Then after Rudolph I of Habsburg took the throne, out of the blue he became an enemy of the state and the victim of a nasty trick by another nobleman. Much later, he rejoined the top echelons of society as a supporter of the new king John of Luxembourg.

The castle palace was enlarged by the grand prior Jan of Rožmberk at the beginning of the 16th century. Today, it neighbours the capitular hall and the deanery. The Renaissance reconstruction and appearance is visible in the knights’ hall with trabeated ceilings, coats of arms on the walls and hollow-tiled stoves. Another Renaissance feature is the Jelenka oriel tower that served for the lords’ feasts after they hunted deer in the Strakonice grounds. The big reconstruction in the 15th – 16th centuries was the basis for the appearance of the palace today. During the time when the castle lost its military purpose, the castle palace was enlarged and the Jelenka tower was built at the south wall. On the second floor of the Renaissance building, there is a room preserved from that period, which attracts attention by its lightness, alcoves, big windows and trabeated painted ceilings with gilded studs. 

The grand prior, as a member of the powerful Rožmberk family, is featured in a fragment of the wall painting that depicts the rose from their coat of arms. While the lords were enjoying themselves in Jelenka, the squires were sitting around in the vestibule, the so-called "Mazhaus", spending their time painting and writing various texts on the walls. Next to the Mazhaus, you will come across a well-preserved open-hearth kitchen, which is a part of the museum tour.

Interesting Facts

Honey Gruel
According to a legend, the White Lady, the daughter of Oldřich of Rožmberk, would appear in Strakonice as well as in many other mansions of the lords of Rožmberk. If she appeared smiling, it meant luck for the castle’s inhabitants, but if she was sad, someone of the Rožmberk family died. In her memory, gruel flavoured with honey was handed out to the poor at a stone table in the castle’s courtyard. Later, the owners of the castle – members of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem – altered this tradition a little. Once a year, the day before the feast of the Assumption of Virgin Mary (15th August), the poor were each given a pound of bread, a pint of beer and a kreuzer (a silver coin). In 1784, the order put 213 guldens into the city’s treasury to establish a land foundation – the site is still called Na Medové kaši (At the Honey Gruel). From that time until the First World War, the city used the interest yielded from this money to provide help for those most in need. The tradition of giving out honey gruel in the courtyard of Strakonice Castle definitely ended in 1788.

(c) Město Strakonice, 2010
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