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“Great View of the city” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Spilberk Castle

Spilberk Castle
a/k/a Brno Castle, Brno, Czech Republic
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Ranked #8 of 94 things to do in Brno
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Owner description: This imposing 13th-century castle first served as a fortress and then as a prison for common criminals and opponents of the Hapsburg monarchy.
Vienna
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Great View of the city”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2011

The Castle is definitely worth the effort of climbing up to, and it has lots of pretty side paths which you can explore.

It has 4 floors of exhibits-an art gallery, history of the castle and restoration, history about the castle as a prison, and the bottom floor which is the cellars of the prison. If you are short on time, I would recommend starting at the bottom with the casements.

The history stuff, although interesting was not displayed in an interesting way. Perhaps, they are still working on it, but it involves a lot of reading. Reading materials are provided in each area in several languages.

Visited June 2011
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Serbia
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
191 helpful votes 191 helpful votes
“The prison of nations”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2010

Hrad Spilberk (= Town of Shpilberg) is an excellent old castle on top of a hill within the Brno city area. It served for centuries as a 'top-level' prison in that part of Europe. Besides that, during the various periods, inmates of different nationalities were imprisoned there so the compound got a nickname 'the prison of nations'. Today it is a well-preserved fortress that mainly serves as a permanent exhibition of old documents and various memorabilia from the past. In fact, Spilberk castle is a main part of the Brno's city museum. (You do not need to pay tickets for visiting the exhibitions because the entrance to the castle itself is free, but you will lack many interesting information if you skip the museum part of the castle.) Besides the permanent exhibitions, during the summer season the museum displays temporary exhibitions of modern art, photographs from the eighties, etc. Finally, there are various musical events in the summer evenings in a form of festivals, for those who have time and interest for that.

If you are accommodated somewhere near the city center in Brno, you do not need any type of public transportation to go there. The best way to reach Spilberk is from the area around the green market (Zelny Trh). From there you can follow the street signs for tourist visitors. When you enter the compound's inner area, you will probably hear melodies produced by the castle's bells. The bells are rather a modern combination of mechanics and electronics. They play interesting songs every hour on the hour.

Spilberk offer splendid views to the city of Brno and its surroundings. That means you should take your time and make some photos there. After a several-hour exploration of the castle, its underground casemates and museum expositions, a visitor might get hungry. I decided to check the service of an internal restaurant called Ogilvy. I ordered the 'Svratecky' goulash, which was served in a pot ('Svratecky gulash servirovany v kotliku', 170 CZK). The goulash was good. My negative remark related to restaurant Ogilvy was the fact that the young brunette waitress did not bring me the brand of beer I ordered, which should have been 'Starobrno cerne 10' lahvove' (a local dark beer in a bottle), but 'Kozel cerny' (a Plzen brewery made) instead – without any explanation. I got a feeling that she was a bit ignorant of the foreign visitors because it looked to me that she must have thought that an average tourist cannot recognize a difference between two brands of beer, which was not true in my case. (In addition, on the bill it appeared Starobrno cerne though I did not get that one, but I did not complain because both brands were at the same price tag of 25 CZK per bottle. Not to mention that the tip was added to the receipt, which I always dislike.) Therefore, my suggestion is to avoid that restaurant when you go to the Spilberk castle. Actually, the best option to visit the site is in the mornings, when it is not too hot (during the summertime), probably soon after your hotel breakfast. An alternative for a quick snack for you and family is to buy some fresh fruit on the green market and take it with you upstairs to the castle area. (In that case, take care of the environment.)

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Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Worth a Visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2009

Spilberk Castle is surrounded by a beautiful park, perfect for a daytime stroll. The castle was built is the middle of the 13th century and was never taken by force. Visiting the casemates is a must and you can buy some literature in the gift store that gives you some info about the history. If you were a prisoner here back in the day you slept shackled on a rug covered wood bunk and ate only bread and water. good times

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Chicago
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Fascinating castle”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2006

Spilberk Castle looms above Brno in a most impressive way. It has been a residence, fortress, prison and now tourist attraction. It has done all of these tasks well. The walk up to the castle entrance can be strenuous. The surrounding park is impressive and there are great views of the city from the castle.

We spent most of one day there in December 2005. Being the off season it was little attended and easy to get around. There was a major exhibition of city history there when we visited. All the rooms used were well fitted and information was available in many languages. We viewed a good bit of the castle during our visit and were impressed with how well it was maintained and the ease of access. We spoke to one guide who was very well informed and made the history of the casemates come alive. Known as the "dungeon of the nations" it must have been hell on earth for those imprisoned there.

The admission price in December 2005 was under 5 euro (110 Kc) and well worth it. One real gem in the castle is the Restaurant club Ogilvy. We stopped for a coffee and ordered what turned out to be a magnificent desert crepe. Fruit filled and topped with ice cream it was a really pleasant surprise.

Spilberk Castle is a major attraction listed in all the guide books. We found it well worth the walk to the top. It is a "must see" for history buffs.

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