The first written record documenting the existence of Nejdek (German: Neudek) dates back to 1340. It is said, however, that Nejdek was founded as a colony of tin miners as early as in the 1250’s. The name of the town is derived from the German "neue Decke" (new roof) – according to the new roof of the castle tower.
Historically, Nejdek and all neighbouring municipalities were founded in connection with tin mining in from 14th until the 16th century. The boom of ore mining in the area of Nejdek came during the rule of Counts Šlik of Loket. The held the Nejdek demesne for almost 160 years, namely between 1446 and 1602. Mining of iron ore began under their rule and iron works and hammer mills were built in Nejdek and its surroundings. In 1602, the Nejdek demesne was acquired by Friedrich Colonna of Fels from Štěpán Šlik by means of purchase negotiated among relatives. The Colonna family held the demesne until 1632. A significant event happened during their rule, in particular the forced re-catholicisation of Nejdek and its surroundings. As a result, many families went into exile in neighbouring Saxony and their departure manifested itself in the further decline of mining.
The decline of mining led to the development of various domestic handicrafts and trades, of which bobbin lace work was most significant for Nejdek and its surroundings. The earning ability of the inhabitants of Nejdek improved after 1843 with the opening of a worsted spinning mill. Nejdek ironworks were established in 1813 and modernised in 1836 – their owner, Heinrich Kleist, introduced plate rolling. A railway track leading from Chodov via Nová Role to Nejdek was built in 1881 and the railway line from Karlovy Vary to Potůčky and Johanngeorgenstadt in Germany was completed in 1899. The railway line was of major importance for the area of Nejdek and the western part of the Ore Mountains. Economic stabilisation and the communication connection between Nejdek and Saxony caused a boom of year-round tourism, which became quite fashionable then. It manifested itself, among other things, in the construction of look-out towers and restaurants on the Klínovec Mountain (1884), Plešivec Mountain(1895) and on Tisovský vrch (Tisovský Hill) or Pajndl above Nejdek in 1897.
In the years 1945 and 1946, the property of German inhabitants in the area of the Ore Mountains was confiscated based on the Potsdam Agreement and the Decrees of President E. Beneš and they were subsequently displaced from their homes and sent to Germany destroyed by war. Concurrently with the displacement of the German inhabitants, the slow process of re-settlement of the region by Czech inhabitants began. Not many people were interested in settling in the abandoned German houses in mountain areas. The deserted houses were dilapidating and hundreds of them were torn down in the 1950’s.
For the region of the Rolava River and the western part of the Ore Mountains, the year 1989 also meant the beginning of a new promising era of free enterprise and tourism. After 1989, many churches, chapels, and cemeteries were repaired in many villages of the Rolava River area. These renovations were considerably supported from funds collected among the displaced German natives.
Details about the foundation of the castle are not very clear, nonetheless, latest hypotheses based on the tower layout suggest that the castle was built originally as a watch castle of the overlord in the 13th century. The first recorded owner of the castle was probably Konrad Plick from 1300 until 1341. The Plick family accepted Nejdek as a royal feoff in 1340 and it had remained in their possession up to 1410. The owners had changed until 1446 when the castle was purchased by the Šliks. The castle was shortly pledged to Heinrich of Reger in 1568. In 1602, Štěpán Šlik sold Nejdek to Friedrich Colonna of Fels. As Protestants, the Colonna family was forced to leave during the Thirty Years War and Nejdek was acquired by Heřman Černín of Chudenice. The castle was probably destroyed then and in the mid 17th century, it was disassembled, with the exception of the Black Tower, and used for the construction of a new chateau. The Black Tower was later reconstructed to serve as a belfry. In the 18th century, a new entry was built on the ground floor and the tower was lowered and received a new roof 1831. The demesne was in the possession of the Hartig family between 1734 and 1794 who were succeeded by the Kleist family in the 19th century.
The small castle standing on a granite cliff over the bend of the Rolava River was secured by a narrow moat at the front. The Black Tower rises beyond the next moat, behind which modest remains of castle structures are still visible, namely the circumferential fortification formed by a hewn rock with openings. Immediately behind the tower, you may find a transverse wall built of massive stone blocks with a loophole and a younger opening. The tower is of an irregular trapezoid floor plan and it was constructed in several phases. In the first phase, the tower was built up to the present second floor. The rectangular entrance at the level of the 2nd floor and the loophole on the 1st floor belong to this construction phase. The tower was severely damaged during an unknown event and its condition deteriorated for some time. At some time within the 15th century, the tower was repaired and fitted with the remaining medieval openings. The present-day uppermost floor was built in the early 16th century. One more floor was added on consoles, but it was removed in 1831.
Interesting tidbit: On the Foundation of Nejdek