Renaissance chateau Vimperk

Founded as a castle on the site of an ancient settlement by Purkart of Vrchotovy Janovice, the burgrave of Zvíkov, in the second half of the 13th century. From the 14th century it was in the possession of the noblemen of Sulevice; at that time there was already a townlet below the castle. In 1470 ownership fell to Václav Vlček of Čenov, a famous warrior. In 1479, under Petr Kaplíř of Sulevice, the townlet and the castle merged into a single fortified unit and the Haselburg fortress was added as an outpost to the castle to protect a weak point in its defence. From 1494 the castle was the property of the Malovec family of Chýnov (who had the castle rebuilt into a chateau), and the following owners include Jáchym of Hradec in 1553, Vilém of Rožmberk in 1563, Volf Novohradský of Kolovraty in 1601 (another reconstruction), the Eggenbergs from 1630, and the Schwarzenbergs from 1698. The last reconstruction was undertaken in 1857, and then the chateau housed various offices as well as barracks.

Castle Vimperk, overview

It is situated on a promontory above a valley of a brook along which a long-distance road to Bavaria ran. The outer part of the chateau complex is entered through a gate, via an extensive yard with 17th-century out-houses (e.g. a brewery) and two fountains, access to the chateau itself is through another gate bearing a coat of arms (dated 1622), with an oriel supported by corbels, and a turret. The courtyard is enclosed by two-storeyed buildings, partly also by column-supported arcades, and with the chapel of St. Joseph rising above the rest of the buildings. The very tip of the promontory, formed of rock, supports the 13-metre Vlček tower from the second half of the 13th century. On the first floor it has a pointed Gothic portal from the 15th century, on the ground floor there is a cross vault supported by a column in the centre. The Haselburg fortress is situated to the south-east of the chateau, with fortifications around it. To the right of the entrance gate is a mighty round tower (14 metres across).

Castle Vimperk, courtyard, photo: Lubor Mrázek

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