Helfštýn Castle

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Helfštýn Castle / Helfenstein Castle
Helfštýn Castle (2005) View from the third courtyard of the palace (ruin)

Helfštýn Castle (2005)
View from the third courtyard of the palace (ruin)

Creation time : after 1306
Castle type : Höhenburg, rocky location
Conservation status: partially reconstructed ruin
Place: Týn nad Bečvou
Geographical location 49 ° 31 '9.7 "  N , 17 ° 37' 45.3"  E Coordinates: 49 ° 31 '9.7 "  N , 17 ° 37' 45.3"  E
Helfštýn Castle (Czech Republic)
Helfštýn Castle
General view of the fortress of Helfštýn Castle, around the middle of the 16th century, the neck ditch in front , historical engraving

The partially reconstructed ruins of the Helfštýn Castle , also Helfštejn (German: Helfenstein , also Helfstein ) lies above the Bečva valley opposite the confluence of the Jezernice . The nearest town is Týn nad Bečvou in Okres Přerov in the Czech Republic . The Maleník Forest lies south of the ruins .

Helfštýn Castle - visible from afar - once dominated the Moravian Gate . It is one of the largest fortifications in Europe and is constantly being rebuilt. As a cultural monument are currently four courtyards, massive walls , towers, chamber doors , a kennel section , the palace or the historic Blacksmith (the annual Hefaiston experience in action), etc. to visit.


The rock castle , situated on a steep cliff, was built at the end of the 13th century in an area owned by the Lords of Drahotuš . The Moravian Gate should be ruled from here. Presumably after the death of the Bohemian King Ottokar II Přemysl , the robber baron Friduš / Friedrich von Linavy appropriated it . Around 1320 King John of Luxembourg handed it over to the Wok / Vok von Krawarn , together with the surrounding rule, to which Leipnik also belonged, and remained with his descendants for around 100 years. After the death of Latzek / Lacek von Krawarn in 1416, who held the office of the Moravian governor, the castle and rule of Helfenstein passed to Peter von Krawarn and Straßnitz . He was a follower of Jan Hus , so he was forced to sell his lands during the Hussite Wars in 1420. After his death in 1434, his son Georg / Jiří von Krawarn and Straßnitz († 1466) got the Helfenstein rule back. In 1447 he sold it to the Sovinec wok ( Vok ze Sovince ). At that time it consisted of Helfenstein Castle, the city of Leipnik, 27 villages and four village parts. In 1464 Wok von Sovinec sold everything to Albrecht, Zdeňek and Jan Kostka von Postupitz ( z Postupic ) as well as Georg / Jiřík von Landstein and Morawan, who died in 1468. During the Bohemian-Hungarian wars, Albrecht von Postupitz, who now owned the estate alone, sold the property to Wilhelm II von Pernstein in 1474 . He fortified the castle in such a way that it was considered impregnable in subsequent wars.

In 1554 Půta von Ludanitz ( z Ludanic ) acquired the castle and the Helfenstein estate. After his death in 1560 he was followed by his son Wenzel / Václav. He held the office of governor of Moravia, but died in 1571. His five-year-old daughter Katharina / Kateřina, who was placed under the guardianship of the Moravian governor Zacharias von Neuhaus , became the heir . At the age of 14, she was married to Peter Wok von Rosenberg in 1580 . He sold the indebted Helfenstein rule with Helfenstein Castle in 1592 to Heinrich / Hynek von Würben on Freudenthal , who died in 1596. His son Georg von Würben auf Freudenthal ( Jiří Bruntálský z Vrbna ; † ~ 1623) moved the seat of the Helfenstein reign to the newly built Renaissance palace in Leipnik. Since he was a member of the Moravian Directory and 1619–1621 Oberstlandrichter von Moravia, his property was confiscated by the Emperor after the Battle of the White Mountain and the rule of Helfenstein with Leipnik was handed over to the Olomouc bishop Franz Xaver von Dietrichstein . After his death in 1636 the rule of Helfenstein, which was now referred to as the rule of Leipnik, remained with his descendants.

As early as 1626, Helfenstein Castle was declared an imperial fortress and in 1656 by order of Emperor Ferdinand III. disabled for defense. Because of the Turkish Wars in 1663 and 1680, an imperial garrison was stationed at the castle, as well as during the Seven Years' War . In 1817, in front of invited guests, the Imperial War Council had the keep of the abandoned castle devastated .

After the romance of the 18th / 19th Century the castle ruins became a frequently visited destination, the first steps to save them took place in the second half of the 19th century. Systematic work began in 1911 during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy just before the First World War .


sculpture “Jurassic Parody”, forged steel , Karel Bureš, Petr Kadavý, 1994, background: fortified tower

After the Second World War , measures began in the 1970s to reconstruct the castle in accordance with the requirements of historical monuments , which continue to this day. Czech scouts and other “Brontíci” volunteer to participate in systematic art-historical and archaeological research and reconstruction.

Today the Helfštýn Castle - largely reconstructed - presents itself with huge defensive walls , which are stronger than the great Great Wall of China in the approx. 100 meter wide access area at the base , up to 17 meters wide moats , rebuilt defense towers and fortifications .

The reconstructed buildings of the castle complex are used with a restaurant and partly for exhibitions or, like the former bakery, for metal-artistic training. Furthermore, the historical wrought iron -studded gates and contemporary designed Gates in modern blacksmithing remarkable.
In the cellars of the palace is a museum of artistic blacksmithing of the late 20th century, compiled from three decades of forging symposium Hefaiston . In 2011 the collection comprised approx. 1,100 objects, the majority of which are in the archive for reasons of capacity.

A point of attraction is the completely rebuilt keep - the Hussite tower - in the third courtyard, which is used as a viewing platform on the castle complex and on the wide plain.

Other special features of the castle are a wooden slingshot and the exhibition of monumental forged metal sculptures , which were usually created in the week before the Hefaiston for the annual Blacksmith Forum. Others were bought by the Comenius Museum in Přerov , which also manages the Helfštýn Castle . The approx. 10 meter high sculpture Prometheus (author: Pavel Krbálek, execution: Pavel Tasovsky) in the entrance area of ​​the castle and the forged, functionally accessible chess game should be emphasized .

Today, in addition to its late Gothic fortifications and its palace (ruin), which was converted in the Renaissance style, the castle is primarily a place for cultural events and encounters.

Blacksmith and metal sculptor symposium Hefaiston

At the castle, the largest international meeting is held annually the last weekend in August ironwork in Europe, Hefaiston place - named after the Greek god of forging Hephaestus .

Founded in 1981 by 18 masters of blacksmithing such as Alfred Habermann and the castellan Marcella Kleckerova, who was in office from 1973 to 2010 , the meeting has developed into a symposium that is known worldwide within the art blacksmith and metal sculptor scene . Every year several hundred participants from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, Russia, USA, Great Britain, Sweden, Finland, Poland, France, Italy, Ukraine, Luxembourg, Uzbekistan, Japan. The event, which is open to the public for two days, has had more than 10,000 visitors since the mid-1990s.

The focus is on the large exhibition, which is shown in the courtyards or historical buildings of the castle complex and covers almost the entire spectrum of metal art. On the 30th Hefaiston 2011, 359 exhibits - from metal sculptures and forged gates and grids to filigree jewelry made of base and precious metals, furnishings and weapons were registered. The most outstanding will be awarded a prize and ceremony by an international jury .

The following classifications are made without restriction of the metal used:

  1. "Classic blacksmithing" (high quality applied work)
  2. "Free creation and chamber sculpture" (free sculpture )
  3. "Jewelry" ( generally unique items )
  4. "Weapons" ( replicas of historical weapons in high quality)
  5. "The Damast Works" (works made of Damascus steel )
  6. "Die Gusswerke" ( cast metal art, also with additional materials)
  7. "The special category" (works that do not fall under the categories listed, such as possibly  driving work )
  8. "The student and apprentice work"

The jury consists of the following members: President: Karel Bureš (CZ). Short jury: Jos De Graaf (NL), Dipl.-Des. Ingolf Eschenbach (D), Ing.-Arch. Edita Vlčková, Milan Michna, PhDr. Jan Mohr, Bc. Jan Lauro (all CZ)

Metal sculpture "The Devil's Violinist" (based on Paganini ) in the fourth courtyard as part of the permanent exhibition

At the same time, art-historical lectures on various topics will be held and translated simultaneously . The annual performance show of the “Turnov pupils” in the fourth courtyard, which excels in imagination and execution, is an enrichment to the general exhibition. The first Central European school for artistic metal and precious stone processing was founded in Turnov in 1884 and continues to provide training today. Colloquially it is also referred to as the “Blacksmith Academy Turnov” because of the works on display.

Since 2008, the " Alfred Habermann Prize" has been awarded annually to outstanding blacksmiths and metal sculptors .

Public competition

At the same time as the exhibition there is a public competition for blacksmiths and metal sculptors, of which the best are also awarded.

The live demonstrations will be carried out in the third courtyard at ten forge fires (two of them in the historic forge -  hell ). Two air hammers and a spring hammer facilitate the work of forging out the glowing material and for fire welding . A grandstand should allow close observation. Rare, almost forgotten techniques are shown here. Each team has i. d. Usually two hours to create a work . The resulting works form the basis of the collection of the Museum of Artistic Blacksmithing in the Castle.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Genealogy Landstein and Morawan
  2. "Brontíci"
  3. Stručná historie
  4. a b Expozice uměleckého kovářství
  5. KLASICKÉ KOVÁŘSKÉ PRÁCE ( Memento of the original from June 10, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.helfstyn.cz
  6. Culture calendar - list of events
  7. a b c d metall-aktiv: The winners at the 30th Hefaiston at Burg Helfstyn 2011 and the jury .
  8. History of the "Hefaiston" and further information
  9. ^ Turnov - first school for artistic metal and precious stone processing in Central Europe since 1884
  10. ^ "Exhibition of the Forging Academy Turnov" in the magazine HEPHAISTOS, issue 11/12 2004
  11. "Na hradě Helfštýn se chystá mezinárodní přehlídka kovářů Hefaiston" Alfred Habermann Prize and 12,000 visitors in 2008 (Czech)