Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Točník Hrad

Hi Everyone,
About a year ago, Jiří and I took a day trip to see Točník hrad, near Beroun in central Bohemia. We took the train from Prague, and got off at Žebrák, and walked a ways to Točník castle. Točník is one of two castles in the area, and is situated to the north and slightly east of Žebrák. The area is filled with beautiful rolling hills and farmland, along with picturesque towns and villages. We visited in October while the trees were turning and there was a slight chill in the air. I also remember many sunflowers along the way we walked that day. On the road up the hill to the hrad we encountered sheep and goats in a field. I found one sheep that really enjoyed having his ears rubbed.

Točník hrad is a fortress castle, and was started by Holy Roman Emperor Vacláv (Wenceslas) IV in 1398. The castle is situated on one of the highest points in the area, and offers extensive and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. The castle was not only built to be the personal residence of a king. Being a fortress, one of Tocnik’s jobs was to guard the trade route from Prague to Nuremberg. The castle also served as a place to entertain dignitaries. Točník is made up of two courtyards (forming an L-shape), one at the entrance of the castle, and the second courtyard near the main building (King’s residence) in the middle of the western wall. The other large building within the castle walls was used as a place for important visitors to stay, and contained a huge hall for entertaining.

After the death of Vacláv IV, his brother Sigismund became the owner of Točník. Over the years, Točník came to be owned by a strong Catholic family—the Šumburks. From there, the castle went on into other hands, eventually coming back to the Czech crown during the reign of Emperor Rudolph II. He was the last royal to visit the castle. Eventually this beautiful fortress became a state prison until about 1865, when it was abandoned and left to decay. The castle and grounds were later bought by the Czechoslovak Tourists Club, in 1923. The club worked to restore the fortress, and then sold Točník to the Czechoslovak Sokol in 1953.

Točník hrad is a beautiful fortress castle where you get a vivid sense of the past. You can almost see the lords and their ladies walking across the square, with servants rushing to and fro. You can hear the distant sounds of horses and other animals in and around the castle walls from a long ago time. If you listen closely, you might even hear the sounds of war, for Točník was devastated by the Thirty Years War (1618-1648).

The castle is used for festivals and weddings to this day. There is a beautiful chapel, and we saw several wedding couples and their parties on the grounds having their pictures taken. 

If you are visiting Prague, and have extra time to tour outside of the city, a visit to Točník would make a wonderful day trip. The castle is closed for the winter months, but will open again in March. Here is the schedule I found on the Tocnik official website:

Točník Opening Hours
January-February:  Closed
March-April:  Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10 to 12 and 13 to 16
May-June:  Daily, except Monday, from 10 to 12 and 13 to 17
July-August:  Daily, except Monday, from 9 to 12 and 13 to 18
September:  Daily, except Monday, from 10 to 12 and 13 to 17
October:  Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, from 10 to 12 and 13 to 16
November-December:  Closed

Adults:  70 CZK
Children (6-15):  50 CZK
Seniors: 50 CZK
Children under 6 and those with disabilities:  Free

Make a day trip Točník hrad and enjoy the scenery and the castle. Don't forget to stop by the castle's small hospoda for a snackTočník hrad will not disappoint. 

Have a great day!

God bless,
Sher :0)

Photos property of Sher Vacik.

© 2011 by Sher Vacik. All rights reserved. 


The Wizzard said...

So many beautiful photos! Thank you so much for sharing this, it's really great!

Sher said...

@The Wizzard: Thank you! It's great to hear you enjoyed the pictures!

Have a great day,
Sher :0)