Houska Castle – Blatce, Czechia - Atlas Obscura

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Houska Castle

Blatce, Czechia

Folklore says this medieval fortress was plopped atop a portal to hell to trap the demons below. 


In the second half of the 13th century, a mysterious Gothic castle was built. It wasn’t near any water, wasn’t strategically important, and didn’t seem to have anyone living in it. So why was this random fortress built? According to local legend, it was meant to trap demons.

Supposedly, a gate to hell opened on the craggy Czech mountain. The castle was constructed around the portal, and a chapel was plopped directly atop the hole to keep evil monsters from spilling out of the underworld and slipping into the human realm.

Folklore says the supposed gate to hell was so deep no one could see the bottom of it, and those who did attempt to enter the dark orifice encountered demonic human-animal hybrids. People claim cars won’t start near the castle and strange, bleeding beasts still roam the area after dark.

In reality, the castle was built as an administrative center to oversee the management of royal estates. But it still has some real-life demons in its past. Nazis occupied the fortress during World War II, and multiple myths abound about their supposed occult involvements there.

It’s possible to tour the mysterious castle and scope out any hauntings for yourself. You can view the old knight’s drawing room, the chapel that supposedly covers the gate to hell, and admire the old frescoes and murals adorning the building’s wall.

Know Before You Go

This is hard to get to with public transportation, as it is about 30 miles north of Prague, and the bus doesn't run too often. Best bet is to rent a car and drive through the countryside. There is parking (for 50 CZK) at the base of the castle, and then a little hike uphill through the grounds.

Standard admission is 150 Czech crowns (as of June 2021) and is payable in cash only, although euros are also accepted. The nearest cash machine is 12 kilometers away in Mšeno, so check your wallet before heading out.

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January 29, 2018

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