Ruins of Ronov Castle
On the lower side of Bechyně Square, next to the statue of St. Wenceslas, there is a tourist signpost on a linden tree. If the red arrow pointing to the left catches our eye as the first stop, after about 3 km we will find the romantic ruins of Ronova Castle in the middle of a forest preserve.
Don’t be discouraged by the fence and enter boldly, just remember to close it again and keep in mind that you are in a breeding forest preserve where we should keep quiet and move only along the marked path. The castle is situated on a rocky promontory mostly surrounded by the Losenický brook. Remnants of the walls and the torsos of the towers have been preserved.
Ronov castle fenceRonov castle was first mentioned in 1329, when it was named after Smil of Lichtenburg – i.e. Smil of Ronov. It was founded around the beginning of the 14th century by the Lords of Lichtenburg to protect the road leading along the Sázava River valley from Žďár nad Sázavou to Německý Brod. The name Ronov / Ronovci derives from the coat of arms of the Lichtenburgs, which was a crossed spur, German for „rone“.
After Smil’s death (1355), Ronov was held by his sons Čeněk (1357-1379) and Zdeněk of Ronov (1357 to 1375). From 1357 they were also the owners of Letovice Castle and the small town of Borové. Soon after, Smil’s sons added the town and castle of Přibyslav to the Ronov castle. When their father’s property was divided before 1360, Zdeněk of Ronov received the castles of Ronov and Přibyslav with the Borovo goods and his brother Čeněk Letovice in Moravia.
After Zdeněk’s death († around 1315), his daughter Anna ceded the Ronov manor to her uncle Čeňek of Ronov and Letovice. He founded the Chapel of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary at Ronov Castle in 1381 and donated the village of Čachotín for the maintenance of the castle chaplaincy. After Čeněk’s death (around 1390), Ronov belonged to his eldest son, Sigismund of Ronov and Letovice, until 1397, when his younger brother Smil inherited the combined manor of Ronov and Pribyslav. After Smil’s death in 1405, Ronov and Přibyslav were taken over by Smil’s youngest brother Čeněk of Ronov and Letovice.
However, the sympathy of Čeněk and his brother Hynek of Letovice with the enemies of the Hussites and their direct participation in the Kutná Hora campaign against the town of Chotěbor in 1421 meant the end of Ronov Castle, which was captured by the Hussite army during the siege of Přibyslav on 7 October 1424. Even though the castle was damaged, it could still be inhabited; nevertheless, the lords of Ronov sold it to Hynek Ptáček of Pirkenštejn before 1444. From this time until 1515, when the castle was annexed to the Polen manor, it was still in good condition. However, by 1538 it was already deserted and later it fell into increasing disrepair until it finally became a ruin.
Ruins of Ronov Castle Ronov Castle was built on a rocky, almost 115 m long promontory, surrounded on three sides by the Losenice stream. On the northern side, the castle is separated from the neck by a huge moat 23 metres deep and 38 metres wide. On the other sides the castle was surrounded by a pond, which fed the artificial moat and thus allowed to close the access to Ronov in case of danger. The castle was approached from the south along the dam of the pond and then across the moat, where a drawbridge stood. Nearby, a wooden log cabin on the pond embankment protected the access to the castle.
The gate led to the lower walls, where there are still remains of the so-called „holomč’s rooms“. Above these lower walls, the castle itself stood on a steep hill. It was approached between two walls by a long path leading to the gate and the castle courtyard. Here stood a long rectangular palace with deep cellars, at the corner of which at the confluence was a square two-storey tower separating the lower small courtyard from the upper. There used to be a small gate on the ground floor. There were always two rooms on each floor of the tower; the first floor gave access to the palace. The rest of the surviving masonry of the palace still shows that the building was narrow and had one floor. Most of the palace walls are now collapsed and overgrown with trees.
A long wooden drawbridge led from the castle courtyard from the gate to the opposite hillside, where there was a forecourt measuring about 30 x 23 metres. Traces of ramparts and ditches still remain on this former forecourt, but without any remains of masonry. Apparently only wooden buildings stood on this site.