Houska Castle: The tale of “the gateway to hell” is not for the faint of heart!

Houska Castle Prague

The Houska Castle is located in the forests north of Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, which is bisected by the Vltava River.

houska castle bottomless pit
Houska was built by Přemysl Otakar II as a remarkable royal castle, but was soon sold to a noble family, which continued to own in until after WWI.

Legend has it that the sole reason to build this castle was to close the gateway to hell! It is said that underneath the castle is a bottomless pit filled with demons. In the 1930s, the Nazis conducted experiments in the castle of the occult variety.

Years later upon its renovation, skeletons of several Nazi Officers were discovered. Many different types of ghosts are seen around the castle, including a giant bulldog, a frog, a human, a woman in an old dress, and most spooky of all, a headless black horse.

The Houska Castle

Houska Castle: The tale of "the gateway to hell" is not for the faint of heart! 1
Houska Castle, Czech © Mikulasnahousce

Houska Castle is a Czech clifftop castle shrouded in dark myths and legends. It was originally constructed in the 13th century, between 1253 and 1278, during the reign of Ottokar II of Bohemia.

Houska Castle, which was built in the early gothic style, is the best-preserved castle of the early 13th century in Bohemia and the rule of the “Golden and Iron King“ Přemysl Otakar II. Besides this, it is thought to be one of the most haunted sites on Earth.

Oddities about the Houska Castle

Houska Castle looks just like any other ordinary medieval castle but upon closer inspection, one can notice a few strange features. Firstly, many of the castle windows are actually fake, that are made of glass panes behind which sturdy walls are hidden.

Secondly, the castle has no fortifications, no water source, no kitchen, and, for years after it was constructed, no occupants. This makes it clear that Houska Castle was not built as a protective sanctuary or a residence.

The location of the castle is also peculiar. It is situated in a remote area surrounded by thick forests, swamps, and sandstone mountains. The location has no strategic value and is not situated near any trading routes.

The gateway to hell – a bottomless pit under Houska Castle

Many people wonder why Houska Castle was built in such a strange location and odd way. Centuries-old legends may be able to answer that question.

According to folklore, Houska Castle was constructed over a large hole in the ground which was known as The Gateway to Hell. It is fabled that the hole was so deep that no one could see the bottom of it.

Legend has it that half-animal, half-human creatures used to crawl out from the pit at night, and those black-winged creatures used to attack locals and drag them down into the hole. The victims would just vanish to never return again.

houska castle bottomless pit gateway to hell
Houska Castle was built to serve as a protection against a crack on the rock, where there was supposed to be an opening to hell. It is allegedly guarded by a horrible black monk without a face.

It is believed that the castle was built only to keep the evil in. The location of the castle was chosen because of this. Many have speculated that the castle’s chapel was specifically built directly over the mysterious bottomless pit in order to seal the evil in and keep the demonic creatures from entering our world.

But even today, over seven hundred years after the pit has been sealed, visitors still claim to hear the scratching of creatures from the lower floors at night, trying to claw their way to the surface. Others claim to hear a chorus of screams coming from beneath the heavy floor.

The bone chilling tales of Houska Castle

The most well-known story stemming from the legends of Houska Castle is that of the convict.
When the construction of the castle began, it is said that all the village’s prisoners who had been sentenced for gallows were offered pardons if they agreed to be lowered by rope into the bottomless pit and then to tell them what they saw. No wonder, all the prisoners agreed.

They dropped the first man into the ditch and after a few seconds, he had disappeared into the darkness. Within no time, they heard a desperate cry. He began screaming in horror and begged to be pulled back up.

They immediately started to pull him out. When the prisoner, who was a young man, was pulled back up to the surface he looked as if he had aged decades in the few seconds he was in the pit.

Apparently, his hair had turned white and he had grown extremely wrinkled. He was still screaming when they pulled him to the surface. He had been so disturbed by what he experienced in the darkness that he was sent to an insane asylum where he died two days later from unknown causes.

According to the legends, the scratching of the winged creatures trying to claw their way to the surface can still be heard, phantoms have been seen walking the empty halls of the castle and the Nazis specifically chose Houska Castle in order to harness the powers of hell for themselves.

The Houska Castle tour

Mysterious, magical, cursed or hellish. There are many names that describe this curious castle. Although not one of the largest or the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic, with no huge parks nor the oldest chapels, Houska Castle has become a favourite destination for many adventurers and travellers alike.

Houska Castle is located in the eastern part of the Kokořín Forest, 47 km north of Prague and about 15 km from Bezděz, another ancient iconic castle of Central Europe. You can visit this location during the kosher tours with Kosher River Cruise to the gems of Central Europe!

Here’s where is Houska Castle located on Google Maps:

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