Hrad Kost


Construction history

There are not many medieval castles in Czech republic. Majesic Kost has a special position amongst bohemian castles – it is the best preserved gothic castle in Czech republic. Although Karlštejn is probably better known and it has more important place in Czech history, from its original appearence has not remained much today. Kost castle that stands in the middle of picturesque Český ráj looks pretty much the same for half of the millenium. Reconstruction that took place in 50ties did not take away the charming atmosphere of the castle.

Hard as a bone

Once upon a time (precisely once in the 14th century) lived some Beneš from Vartemberg, who wanted to be called Benesius di Costi. He earned enough money to buy Sobotka manor, but he was not able to afford building his own castle. So he had to accept small castle consisting of one chamber and a tower. In that times nobility preferred safety thus the unconquerability was a priorty. That´s why he had chosen a place on the rock, surrounded by forests from all the sides. The advantage of Kost lied for all the times in a fact, that enemy noticed it when it was already late. Even Jan Žižka overlooked it totally. The castle has always been named Kost (A bone), thanks to its founder. Costi means „stony“ or „hard“ and Beneš wanted to show the uniquity of the building. Many medieval castles and forts were wooden though.

Era of building

Beneš´s son was intelligent and patient as his father was. It makes no fuss then that he was made the highest „hofmistr“, which meant he became one of the closest collegues of Karl IV. The king was not like Harpagon and it was only a matter of time that Kost had been rebuilt by Petr from Vartemberg. Many things remain today right from this era. Rennaisance changes come from the era of Jan from Bibrštejn. One of other owners – Kryštof Popel from Lobkovice let the brewery and the local Lobkovic palace be built. (By the way, thanks to the names of palaces we can find out, who and when built them)

From one ancestry to another

Albrecht z Valdštejna, who bought Kost in 17th Century, planned to make a chateau from it. His death cancelled those plans but it did not save Kost from deterioration. When it was owned by Černín family, Kost was used as a granary. Grain does not have any special needs for its storage and that fact reflected soon on the appearence of the castle. Former fort was then bought by Kazimír Netolický, a dexterous baron.  Unfortunately, there weren´t many men amongst his family so the family wealth moved from one ancestry to another. Husbands of Netolický´s female children accepted his name and title until all the wealth moved to Anna Maria dal Borgo Netolická. She married Norbert Kinský and their offspring own the castle today.

From nationalization to restitution

Grandfather of Anna Maria, Italian Flámino dal Borgo, came to Bohemia to see his newly gained wealth. For this purpose he learned czech language and his grand daughter Anna was then still travelling between Bohemia and Italy until communists came to power. Under the excues of „peoples will“ the castle was nationalized. Kost then became a museum of renaissance and gothic art. Today – after being restitued by Norbert Kinský – classical sightseeing goes through the castle. It is worthy to stress that administration of the castle pays special attention in choosing the guides, so the entertainment is ensured for everybody, even for those who just want to survive the sightseeing. Because Giovanni Kinský, one of Norbert´s sons and todays owner of the castle, loves firing arms, there are many of them exhibited on the castle. They will surely impress many young ladies... ;)