Written by Nikola Vachalova
Spilberk Castle was founded in the second half of the 13th century by a famous Bohemian king Premysl Otakar II. Thanks to its strategic position, it is a prominent feature of Brno town- the second biggest town of the Czech Republic, it later gained a great importance and became a significant part of the entire town also because of its function in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it served as a prison, where especially political prisoners from various countries were kept. Spilberk has always been known for its unflattering reputation of the heaviest prison of the Habsburk Monarchy and was nicknamed the “Jail of Nations”. Even though it was originally designed as a prominent royal castle for Czech kings in Moravia, it has been visited by them only occasionally- it is interesting to point out that Blanka from Valois, the wife of Karel IV. , spent quite a long time there in 1337.
The castle has lost its military significance during the Napoleonic wars when the French army destroyed important sections of the fortification. The castle then ceased to be used as a jail and served as barracks. Since 1960 it has been used as a seat of the Moravian Museum. It is a favourite tourist attraction and various imposing cultural events take place here, for instance summer musical and theatre festivals. Spilberk belongs to one of the places where a traditional Summer Shakespeare Festival is held. The festival lasts from July to early August and the plays are performed at the main courtyard of the castle. Except these seasonal events, it is worth mentioning that the Museum provides the visitors with permanent expositions, regular exhibitions and educational programs for any age category. Moreover, the part of the castle forms a lookout tower which enables visitors a spectacular outlook at the surrounding area.
For more information about the South Moravian Region where this place is located click here.