Loket Castle is especially famous for its exposed location. The river Eger runs in the Czech Republic in an almost circular river loop around a granite rock. And it is precisely on these rocks that Loket Castle stands.
The castle is also known as Elbogen Castle. The name refers to the course of the Eger River, which is reminiscent of the bend of the human arm with the elbow. Loket / Elbogen is not adapted to the current spelling and is written with only one “l”.
About Loket Castle
Who exactly built the castle is not clear. It is assumed, based on excavations, that the Bohemian prince Vladislav II had the castle built in the second half of the 12th century to demonstrate his power. However, it could also have been officials of Frederick I Barbarossa who were responsible for the construction. In any case, there has been a stone castle in Loket since over 800, which is one of the oldest in the Czech Republic.
The oldest buildings date back to the 13th century and are of Romanesque origin. It is certain that the castle served to protect the road leading from Prague via Cheb to Erfurt.
There was a continuous expansion of the castle complex until about 1520, when walls were built around the castle and a representative royal family residence was built in the late Gothic style.
Over the years, there have been many owners and rulers who have lived in the castle. Very surprisingly, I think, the change of owners often came about not because of war defeats, but because of money troubles. Again and again, a ruler pledged the castle to a creditor, who then continued to use it.
During the Thirty Years’ War, Loket Castle was occupied successively by the rebels, the Bavarians, the Saxons and Wallenstein’s mercenary troops. None of them treated the building particularly well and so the castle complex visibly deteriorated.
In the 17th century Elbogen Castle lost its political importance. The complex fell into disrepair. In the meantime it was even used as a warehouse. From 1797 to 1822 the castle housed a prison, which was abolished in 1948.
In 1992, with the foundation of the Czech Republic, the castle passed into the administration of the town of Loket, which now uses it as a tourist attraction and museum.
Visit to Loket Castle
We parked our bikes in front of the entrance and went to see the castle. You can take part in guided tours or, and that’s how we did it, have a text given to the most important points in the castle complex and set off on our own.
After passing through the large entrance gate, a path leads to the interior of the castle complex.
What can be visited?
If you follow the path, you get to the castle courtyard. During our visit, there were empty stalls here, which are certainly used during events. From the courtyard you can get to the open rooms of the castle.
A special feature of the castle complex is the cistern in the castle courtyard. This was only discovered in 1995 during renovation work. It has a very unusual shape. The round opening widens pear-shaped and at a depth of 2.5 m there is a flat bottom. The shape is reminiscent of an early medieval storage vessel. Based on findings in the well, we know that the cistern must have been buried after 1810 during castle reconstructions.
The rotunda of Loket Castle is definitely worth a visit. It dates back to the end of the 12th century. Originally, the building stood alone in the northeastern part of the castle. Only later it was built into the complex as a staircase area. In 1966, its actual function was “rediscovered”. The internal diameter of the rotunda is 3.6 meters, the walls are 75-80 cm thick, making it the smallest rotunda in the Czech Republic.
Museum in Loket Castle
The present building of the Market County stands over the ruins of the building that burned down in 1725. The Loketer collection is located here. Furniture from 3 centuries, an old pharmacy and statues can be seen. Especially interesting is the rock collection, which includes a meteorite stone.
In the Hauptmannshaus exhibits of the porcelain exhibition are shown. I was especially impressed by the beautiful mural painting in a room on the second floor.
In the wing right next to the castle tower is the exhibition of historical weapons, armor, helmets and shooting targets.
Before our visit to the castle, we had heard a lot about the torture chamber of the castle prison. This can be visited and so we also climbed into the cellar to see the dark cells.
I must admit, I did not like this part of the castle. Some torture methods were depicted in the cells. Certainly, the details of the representation are correct, but I felt it was too artificial and especially the constant sound of moaning from the speakers made the whole thing rather unreal. However, it was just me. I saw many visitors who turned away in horror and who had horror written all over their faces.
At the end of our visit to Loket Castle we climbed the 26 meter high tower. It is worth it, the view of the winding town and the Cheb River are really good.
On the way down we had a look at the castle dragon Sharkan. According to legend, he lived in the castle tower and gave the Loket housewives the fire for their stoves.
Hrad Loket, o.p.s.
357 33 Loket
November-March: 9-15.30 a.m.
April-May and September-October: 9 a.m.-4.30 p.m.
June-August: 9 a.m.-6.30 p.m.
with text: 110 CZK
Guided tour in Czech: 130 CZK
Guided tour in foreign language: 170 CZK
With text: Czech, Russian, German, English, French, Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Spanish
With guide: english, german, russian
Photo permission: 20 CZK
With the Karlovy VARY REGION CARD you get a reduced entrance fee.
ATTENTION! During our visit only cash payment was possible.