Hrad Kost

HISTORICKÁ PAMÁTKA

Medieval torture chamber

There was a wine cellar in the basement of Vartemberg palace. But it would not attract so many visitors (even without tasting of the wine) today, as a torture chamber does. Kost castle is proud on its talkative and entertaining guides. But beware! Smiling and nice guides are in fact very nasty and nothing would do them bigger favour than using the spanish boot or other torture equippment on you. :)

Horrible Inquisition

When one watches Goya daemons of a film director Miloš Forman, one would not believe, that such a torture was ever practised. It did not matter whether one confessed immediately (even when one did not do anything wrond) or one denied – he was put to the torture chamber anyway. Unfortunately, people were punished for „crimes“ that today seem to us unbelievable. Were you a Jude? Did you behave anyhow differently than the others? Did people think that your soul is connected with the evil? Did not you want to eat pork? To the gibbet with you!!

Agony in hundred different ways

It makes one sick, when one listens how many different ways had the medieval „law“ used to force an accussed person to confess. An accused was forced to the confession in the medieval torture chamber by various techniques of interrogation. It started with painful binding down and then the so-called dry torture continued. A prisoner was pulled on the rack. When both arms and legs were misplaced and muscles were seriously damaged, the so-called „light torture“ was used. An executioner put a bunch of lighted candles on the tortured body. For bone breaking several rods and spanish boots were used.

Sad exposition

You will be welcomed by a sad music in the entrance to the Kost torture chamber. The first horrible exhibit is hung at the front of the chamber – iron cage for witches. So-called witch (in other words ordinary woman who did not suit the medieval conventions) was locked into the cage and dropped into the water for 5 minutes. If she died, she was pronounced innocent and burried with all the Christian honour. If she survived, it was taken as a proof of witchcraft. The poor woman was then burnt at stake. There is also the only functionable guillotine in Czech Republic exhibited. This exhibit was even used in the american drama The Silence of the Lambs. It is a copy of a guillotine that had been used even during the First Czechoslovak republic and during the Protectorate. Original is exhibited in Pankrác prison in Prague. When you will go near to the guillotine, be careful and do not hit the rope...

Capital punishment

In many countries of todays world is capital punishment something unimaginable. And in those countries, where the capital punishment is still a part of their law people are terrified when they read how that punishment was done in the past. The process of capital court was written down to the so-called „unlucky books“. The ethics crimes were punished differently and in many cases women were punished more badly than men. Whereas a man could pay his crime out, his wife was flagellated and excommunicated. The highest punishment – death – was different for both genders. A man could have been guillotined, hung, torn apart or broken on a wheel. Women were guillotined, burned or burried alive. Because people believed in the afterlife, it was normal that they did not give the dead bodies any rest. Punishment awaited them even after their death.

How did executioners live?

The dirty work had to be done by somebody. People who fixed the prisoner to the ground and killed him/her by an axe or hung him/her on the gibbet, or even locked the prisoner to the dungeon with a degrading table on his/her neck and with a pear in the mouth were really needed. Executioners had to be really strong personalities and it is normal that nobody liked them. Executioners lived out of the society and formed a special kind of a social class. Their houses were on the periphery and they did their work for a bribe. Paradox is that the accused who could afford it had to pay their own execution.