History and tourist attractions
History of the Rabí Castle
The biggest Castle ruin in Bohemia was built on a limestone hill, above the homonymic village - Rabi.
The core of the castle was built in the half of the 14th century as a watch, a defense and a housing tower. The castle had a very good location. Its task was firstly to defend the trade route, which connected the two towns: Sušice and Horažďovice and secondly, to defend gold washing along the river and in the gold-bearing river Otava.
The first written report we possess, goes back to year 1380, when the legal owners were members of the most significant and influential Bohemian noble family - "The Rosenberg family". The family Švihovský of Rosenberg bought the Castle or gained through matrimony from the noble family of Velhartice sometime during 14th century. At the turn of the 15th century the Castle was rebuilt and fortressed. Since then it has become one of the most massive and safest castles in Bohemia. It happened most likely because of battles between supporters of king Wenceslas IV and members of the seigneurial unity, to which the owner of the Castle, Břeňek Švihovský of Rosenberg, also belonged.
Jan of Rosenberg obtained the whole estate with the Castle in year 1407. Jan (John) of Rosenberg was known as a political public figure and later as an enemy of the Hussite movement.That is why the Hussite armies twice besieged the Castle and twice seized, namely in 1420 and 1421. Jan Žižka lost his second eye in the second siege of the Castle. This event put Rabi Castle on the map.
The Castle passed to Wilhelm Junior of Rosenberg after death of John of Rosenberg and then the Castle fall to his nephew, Půta II Švihovský of Rosenberg. Půta Švihovský was enormously rich and his fortune and high rank in society (highest provincial) enabled him to rebuild magnificently his Castle. The reconstruction conducted skillful architect, Benedict Rejt. Massive walls with advanced artillery bastions surrounded the Castle. Půta was very wealthy, but not his sons any more. His sons, who had the Castle since 1504, were unfortunately indebted and were forced to sell off their assets. In 1548, they had to sell even the Rabí Castle.
In the following times, many holders were living in the Castle - Henry Kurcpach of Trachenberg, Diviš Malovec of Libějovice, Wilhelm Rosenberg. Last important possessor was Adam Chanovský of Dlouhá Ves - his family had the Castle until beginning of 18th century. After Thirty Years War went the building to noble family of Lamberg, but the Castle was already desolated in this period.
The final destruction caused a fire in 1720, afterwards served the Castle as a source of building stone for inhabitants of villages. The aristocratic family of Lamberg gave the Castle to "Society for the preservation of artistic, historical and natural monuments" in 1920. The symbolic price was 1,- Kč. In this time, was the Castle repaired and rescued against total collapse. In 1945 is the Castle nationalized and in 1978 is proclaimed as National Cultural Monument.
Vilém z Rýzmberka - the Highest Camberlain of the king Jiří z Poděbrad. The Highest Camberlain was something like the prime minister. Although a Catholic he advocated peace with Hussites and preservation of the Czech state after the Hussite revolts.
Půta Švihovský z Rýzmberka (after 1440-1504) - the most famous owner of the castle, an educated, Renaissance nobleman, the highest royal judge. In his domain he was known as an efficient landlord and generous benefactor.
Vilém z Rožmberka (1535-1592) - another famous owner of the caster, an important magnate of the early middle ages.
Bohuslav Balbín (1621-1688) - the famous Czech Jesuit historian of the seventeenth century who visited the Rabí castle and described the image in the Fourth or Žižka's Gate with a detailed depiction of the loss of Žižka's eye in front of the castle.
Jindřich z Lamberga - the last nobleman who owned the castle. The last male Lamberg who owned the property was an officer of Abwehr Karl Otmar Lamberk, executed under strange circumstances in 1942 in Auschwitz.
Size: Rabí is by its extension the greatest castle ruin in Bohemia. The brickwork of the walls and the buildings is two miles long.
The well: the castle well cut in rock can be found in the first courtyard. It counts as one of the deepest wells which can be seen in the Bohemian castles.
Building stone: limestone with high content of silica was used for buidling througout the entire castle. The stone was mined in the places where moat was dug.
Wastewater tank: a rarity of the castle - a unique annex of the trapezoid projection which came into existence during the late Gothic rebuilding. It is a part of the residential-defensive tower Donjonu and the water from two latrines was drained into it.
Castle vaults - in the castle large vaults in several tiers can be found. The lowest part was cut by hand into the limestone substatum and it reaches 30 feet under the surface.
The Church of the Most Holy Trinity - in the castle area there is also a Gothic Church of the Most Holy Trinity which was part of the castle bulwark. The last alterations date from the beginning of the 20th century, when the interior of the church was decorated in the Art Nouveau style. Last year a Czech inscription from the year 1684 was found in the façade of the church which describes the reconstruction made to the church in that year.
Wooden Elements - remnants of many beams can be found in the castle. Dendrochronological investigation has determined the years in which the trees of the beams were cut. In this way more exact information about the emergence or reconstruction of some of the buildings in the castle was gathered.