The international service of Czech Radio 
1-12-2020, 12:31 UTC
Photo Tour of Czech Republic - Castles


Rabi - South Western Bohemia's Rabi Castle is the country's most majestic surviving ruin, with a past that reaches all the way back to the 12th century. Rabi Castle has witnessed many turbulent periods in history and seen many dramatic events under a series of different noble owners including the Ryzmberks (the family that left the most significant mark on Rabi's history in the 15th and early 16th centuries) and the castle's last owners the Lamberks, who held it for two centuries right up until the 1920s, letting it fall into dilapidation and disrepair. A hundred years earlier, after Rabi was hit by a devastating fire it was never restored but became a site for excursions. It was simply too expensive - even for a rich family like the Lamberks - to restore. But it is the earlier history of Rabi that is most interesting. The early Romanesque stonework of the grand tower shows that the oldest part of the castle predates its first mention in records from 1380. Without a doubt Rabi is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in Bohemia. Its sheer size remains imposing even now: not only is Rabi surrounded by a deep ditch but its massive outer and inner fortifications still guard the castle's innermost sanctuary. Storming such a castle would be an intimidating task - there was a time when Rabi was believed to be unconquerable. Ultimately, it did fall twice. During the Hussite wars the brilliant military tactician Jan Zizka of Trocnov led his forces against Rabi and succeeded in taking the castle both times. The first victory was in 1420, when Catholic forces loyal to King Sigismund gave up without a fight; the second was just a year later, Zizka's forces retook the castle after a siege and battle, after which Zizka had seven monks famously burned at the stake. The battle, however, proved fateful for the famous one-eyed commander: he suffered an injury that would lead to the loss of his remaining eye, leaving him now completely blind. One final note: the castle was far from complete in Zizka's time, and would only undergo major transformations over the next 200 years, under the ownership of the Ryzmberks.

Rabi castle and the Rabi town