Zvíkov Castle

The originally royal castle stretching above the surface of the Orlík Reservoir is oft en called the “king of Czech castles” and it rightfully has its place among the gems of the Czech early Gothic architecture. The first written mention comes from 1234, but it was most probably built a bit earlier. The Czech kings chose it as a place for rest and protection of the Bohemian crown jewels. The inner royal palace with its unusual five-sided yard with arcades on the ground floor, and the first storey and rich painting decoration of the royal rooms and arcades, were surrounded with a set of protective castle walls and gates. After the extinction of the Přemyslid family, the castle was used as collateral. It was acquired by the powerful Rožmberk family, but it experienced a new golden age under the ownership of the Švamberk family when it was rebuilt again and richly painted. The Eggenbergs, then later also the Schwarzenbergs, used the castle only as a center for administration of the entire domain. The castle thus deteriorated and a part of it fell down. The current free visit enables the visitors to go around the cellar and the upper storey of the royal palace, admire the late Gothic painted chapel with an altar made by the Zvíkov Master of Mourning, and admire the confl uence of the Otava and Vltava Rivers under the castle from the tower.


The oldest preserved building of the castle premises is the Hlízová tower which originated in the period around 1230. It has a square ground plan and a height of 20 meters, and the width of the walls is 3.5 meters. Its characteristic form is made of 44 layers of roughly trimmed ashlars.