This Gothic castle, refashioned under the gaze of the romantic eyes of the 19th century, rises up above the nearby confluence of the Dyje and Želetavka.
A Přemyslid fortified settlement originally stood on the site and included the Chapel of Our Lady. The fort was rebuilt in the first half of the 13th century as an impregnable Gothic castle guarding the southern boundaries of the Přemyslid lands. In the 14th century a new inner ward was built along with Late Gothic fortifications. The Lords of Bítov became the new owners of the castle and based themselves here for four centuries. They carried out further improvements to the defensive capabilities of the castle.
Bítov finally underwent Baroque remodelling, and gained its present form at the beginning of the 19th century, when it passed into the hands of the Counts of Daun. The descendants of Marshal Daun, the famous military leader, rebuilt the castle in the spirit of the Romantic style. Between 1811 and 1845 the richly-decorated state rooms were created, on the basis of proposals of Anton Schuler.
The Dauns also established a large zoological collection, which was later extended by the final owner (up until 1945), the industrial magnate Baron Jiří Haas von Haasenfels. Most famous today is the collection of 50 stuffed dogs of all breeds, the largest such collection in the world. Visitors will also enjoy the castle kitchens, the dungeons and torture chamber, exhibitions, theatrical productions and fencing displays.
Children will be entertained by the scary exhibition in the former chateau brewery. They will see all the things they know from their fairytales here – fabulous monsters, dragons and basilisks. One of the largest private zoological gardens in Europe was located here during the First Republic. Apart from live animals, the owner of the castle, Baron Jiří Haas of Hasenfels, also loved stuffed ones, his collection of dogs currently being included in the Guinness Book of Records. Explore the extensive zoological collection of domestic and foreign animals and trophies.