This exceptionally well-preserved medieval castle was the seat of the powerful lords of Pernštejn. The original simple layout of the castle has been lost in a maze of the renovated buildings. The Late Gothic and Early Renaissance form of the castle, however, has not been affected by furher rebuilding and is a unique example of the transformation of a medieval fortress into a luxurious Renaissance seat. In the palace part visitors can trace the history and development of the building from a simple castle through to a Late Gothic fort, Renaissance palace, and then Baroque, Rococo and Neo-Classical residence, up to the Romanticism of the 19th century.
The castle was founded by the lords of Medlov (who subsequently called themselves Pernštejn) between 1270 and 1285. The oldest core of the castle clung to the summit of an elongated rocky crag, whose perimeter was defined by a chemise wall, behind which a round tower (bergfried) with a sharp edge, today called Barborka, was tucked. The three-storey palace was situated in the southern corner of the layout and the entrance was from the south side. Further building work followed on from the first building phase fauly fluidly. In the first half of the 14th century a second towered palace was built in the northeast corner of the core, outer ward battlements appeared around the core, definic the inner (third) bailey.
The construction of the ‘chemise’, or building the walls and buildings in the core from the outer side started in the first quarter of the 15th century under Vilém (I) of Pernštejn. The inner battlements in the northwest corner, through which led the only entrance to the inner castle, were strengthened by the rectangular ‘Four Seasons Tower’ with a dungeon and armoury, and the northeast corner layout secured by a round ‘clock tower’ with a sharp edge. The inner castle and new northwest foreground – central (second) bailey – was surrounded by a walled moat. The third gate and a strong barbican secured the entrance to this bailey. An inner (first) bailey then appeared on the saddle of land in the foreground of the castle. Pernštejn was a foothold of the Hussites during the Hussite wars and the reign of George of Poděbrady. Before 1460 it was damaged by a big fire, then extensive Late Gothic building activity took place under Jan (I) of Pernštejn (in certain places also beforehand). The fourth gate was
erected by 1470 (by the ‘Four Seasons Tower’) as well as a tower in the southern corner of the promontory. Around the mid-15th century the north side of the core of the inner castle was built up and in part also on the other sides, often with the use of oriel or bay windows. Additions in the courtyard of the core were made (south of the cylindrical tower). A new palace was built east outside the core, above the passage of the Black Gate. The ‘Four Seasons Tower’ was raised at the end of the 15th century and equipped with oriel windows, which became the characteristic elements for all the Late Gothic stages in the castle’s evolution. In the second half of the 15th century further advance fortification grew up on the first bailey. Intensive building aktivity continued until the mid-16th century, when they also built in the courtyard around the castle core and in the core itself. From the 1510s to 1522 a Knights’ Hall was addend on the upper floor of the old palace, accessible via a huge reception room, and an entrance on the ground level, which the Pernštejn builders vaulted with remarkable diamid vaults. A fourth floor was built onto the inner castle, which however was never finished. With this development the castle was essentially completed, and its appearance is thus mostly Late Gothic. Funds for further building activity were not forthcoming under the last of the Pernštejns and in 1596 Jan of Pernštejn sold the castle. Many rooms have preserved their Gothic, Late Gothic or Renaissance appearance. In the
mid-16th century the walls of several rooms were covered with inscriptions and coarse drawings, quotes from the bible or antique literature, various records or jokes, and vulgar slogans in Czech, German and Latin. Later only minor alterations took place, for example after the unsuccessful Swedish siege in 1645. It seems the bastion underneath the southern round tower appeared in this period too. In 1655 Pernštejn was declared a Moravian land fortress. At the beginning of the 18th century Giacomo Corbellini produced stuccowork for the earlier cross vaults of the Knights Hall, into which are set canvases with landscapes, vedutae and portraits. A new chapel appeared in this period, which was painted by Franz Gregor Eckstein with scenes from the life of the Prophet Elijah. Rococo decoration with ornament, vedutae and galante scenes was added in the second half of the 18th century to the interior of the Renaissance bedroom with an original tiled stove preserved. The Schröfl von
Mannsperg family acquired the castle from Stockhammers in 1798, and they had several galleries lowered and new roofs built, replacing the existing steep roof structures and galleries. Some of the property passed to Josepha Schröfl at her marriage in 1818 with Wilhelm Mitrovský, who eventually purchased the remaining part in 1828. The Gothic ‘Conspirator’s Hall’ on the second floor of the rectangular tower was decorated with coats-of-arms and Romantic furniture in the 19th century. Some rooms were altered in Romantic style. The Mitrovskýs created a valuace library at the castle, to which they added book collections
bought from disestablished monasteries, and collections of engravings and drawings. After a fire in 1886 the ‘Four Seasons Tower’ was altered. In 1888 August Prokop Publisher his designs for a Romantic reconstruction of the castle, which luckily did not happen. In 2005 the granary (depositary) in the third courtyard caught fire, and was reconstructed by 2009. Pernštejn, built with the use of white Nedvědice marble, ranks among the best preserved castles in the Czech Republic. Sometime in the 18th century, under the Stockhammer family, a terraced garden was built on the southern slope of the castle’s promontory. It is bordered on
the eastern side by a landscape park, which was founded by the Schröfl von Mannspergs at the cusp of the 18th and 19th centuries; they also reconstructed the existing garden. An obelisk dedicated to Ignaz Schröfl and the cenotaph of Franz Schröfl of 1807 have been preserved in the park. This connects to a flat area below, established before 1720 in French style and connecting to the terrace axis. A pool and Chinese Pavilion have been preserved here, the originál parterre has been replaced by an orchard.