Sitting high on a granite outcrop above the River Sázava between Brno and Prague in Bohemia, Cesky Sternberk Castle (Hrad Cesky Sternberk) is an imposing Gothic castle that has been much embellished and extended over the centuries. It was founded in the mid 13th century by the aristocratic Sternberg family, whose descendants still live there today – the 20th generation to do so. Reinforcements to the fortified walls came in 1467, when a lookout tower was added, and Baroque upgrades to the living quarters were made after the Thirty Years’ War with Sweden in the late 17th century, when the castle had become a family home rather than a defence tower. Further modernizations in the early 20th century saw Český Šternberk kitted out with electricity, heating and running water, and although the castle was ‘nationalized’ in 1949 by the Communist occupiers of Czechoslovakia, it was restored to the Sternberg family in 1992 following the Velvet Revolution. Today 15 richly appointed suites of rooms are open to visitors, full of Renaissance furniture, lavish frescoes, hunting trophies, stucco-work decoration and Sternberg family portraits as well as an exceptional collection of 545 copper engravings depicting the events of the Thirty Years’ War.
Český Šternberk 1. Opening hours Apr–Oct Sat–Sun 9am–5pm; May & Sept Tue–Sun 9am–5pm; June–Aug Tue–Sun 9am–6pm. Admission adults CZK 125; students CZK 85; children under 16 CZK 65. Best accessed by car from Prague in 45 minutes along the D1 motorway, exit 41.