Střekov castle is situated in the village Střekov in the city of Ústí nad Labem. It was built at the beginning of the 14th century on a basalt rock above the river Labe to protect the important waterway and to collect duties. Střekov castle enchanted many world known artists notably Richard Wagner who was inspired to write a poem that served as basis for the libretto to the opera Tannhäuser.
Střekov Castle was built in the early 14th century in order to guard the transport of goods along the Labe, the river it overlooks. John of Luxemborg gave the land to Pešek of Veitmile on the condition that he would build a castle to guard the taxable goods that floated up and down the river. When the castle was completed it was then sold to the Vartenberg family. The castle exchanged hands many times in the 15th century, as well as endured many structural changes, until the Lobkowicz family came into possession of it. The Lobkowicz family maintains ownership of the castle currently.
Nuns from nearby Teplice tooks refuge in the castle during the Hussite wars. In 1757 the castle came under attack from Laudon, and it still bears the marks from that attack. The Castle was abandoned as a military installation not long afterwards and during the 19th century it became attractive to tourists. A large fire was intentionally lit in the administrative buildings in 1961, as the president of Czechoslovakia was coming to visit and local officials were concerned that there would be no place for him and his entourage to park. The site is now the parking lot for visitors.
Legends and fables
In spring the basalt rock upon which the castle was built is covered by golden Aubrieta flowers. According to the fable the Lords of the Castle's daughter once fell in love with a poor horseman. Her father however did not approve of their love. He found another wooer for her and the horseman was imprisoned and starved to death. The girl then jumped from the 100m high rock and as she was falling her golden hair touched the rock in places where now the golden Aubrieta flowers grow. It is also said that from time to time her ghost can be seen climbing the cliff to meet the spirit of her beloved who died in the tower of the castle.
Richard Wagner the ghost
In 1842 a mysterious white silhouette was seen walking on the walls and around the area. This "ghost" however was actually Richard Wagner clothed in white bedsheets who was looking for a muse. Finally he wrote a poem that later became basis for his famous opera Tannhäuser.
- Kocourek J., Severní Čechy obrazový vlastivědný průvodce, Freytag & Berndt Praha,2002
- Sušanka J., Zámky hrady kuturní památky v Severočeském kraji, KKCR a KSSPPOP v Ústí nad Labem
- website (cz)