Střekov Castle (German: Schreckenstein) is perched atop a cliff above the River Elbe, near the city of Ústí nad Labem in the Czech Republic. It was built in the 14th century to protect the waterway and collect duties on transported goods, the castle is renowned for its impressive views. It has enchanted a variety of visiting artists, most notably Goethe, Richard Wagner, and Karel Hynek Mácha.
Střekov Castle was built in 1316 for John of Luxembourg, the father of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, to guard an important trade route to Germany. After changing hands several times, the castle was acquired by the Lobkowicz family in 1563. Its strategic importance led to occupations by Imperial Habsburg, Saxon, and Swedish forces during the Thirty Years' War, as well as successive sieges by Austrian and Prussian armies during the Seven Years' War. Although Střekov Castle was heavily damaged during those conflicts and abandoned as a military installation by the end of the 18th century, the 1800s saw many poets and artists visiting the castle, drawn by a new trend of interest in romantic ruins. Goethe declared the view from the castle's position above the Elbe to be the most beautiful in Central Europe, while Richard Wagner's opera Tannhäuser was supposedly inspired by his visit to Strěkov. The castle was confiscated by the Nazi regime and later the Communist government, but was restituted to the Lobkowicz family in the early 1990s.
Střekov Castle is divided into two sections connected by an arched bridge spanning a natural moat—an unusual style for the 14th century, when it was first built. The castle’s semiround bastions, inspired by French architecture, are possibly the first example of that type of defensive design in Bohemia. The connecting round tower, a smaller tower guarding the castle entrance, and an irregular oblong section of the castle date back to the very earliest period of construction.
- 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