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Castle in Kynšperk nad Ohří 

The locality is freely accessible. The site is landscaped as a park with a well-kept lawn and tall trees. It is easily accessible from the centre of the town. However, you will appreciate its dominant position even more by crossing the roofed bridge over the Ohře River and following the marked tourist path climbing up to the summit.

The town of Kynšperk nad Ohří (Kynšperk upon Ohře) boasts as foundation deed dating to 1232. The deed is the oldest legal deed documenting the existence of a town in the territory of Bohemia. It constitutes a privilege awarded by King Václav I (also denoted as Wenceslas I of Bohemia) to the Convent of the Order of the Prémontré in Doksany. Nonetheless, experts doubt that the town was actually founded then.

The town is situated on a marked hill on the right bank of the Ohře River. The west side of the hill was occupied by a castle, the remains of which can still be found today in the form of a central motte separated from the surrounding terrain by an inner moat. Massive moats and ramparts, which originally protected the entire town, have been partially preserved in the immediate vicinity of the castle (on the site of the later Jewish cemetery).

The older presumption claiming that Kynšperk Castle (German: Königsberg, literally meaning "Kingsburg") had been founded on the site of a Slavic hill fort was not confirmed by archaeological research carried out by the Cheb Museum (Pavel Šebesta) between 1972 and 1974. Nonetheless, the foundation of the castle can be dated back beyond any doubt to the turn of the 12th and 13th century, as supported by findings from the lowermost cultural layer at a depth of 260 centimetres. Based on the documented progress of colonization of Egerland (the German name for the area of Cheb) towards the east, we can associate the beginning of the castle with the names of two German ministeriales, in particular Berthold who is first mentioned in 1187 and Uschalk who is denoted in written documents in 1194. Knight Uschalk of Kynšperk was probably a vassal of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa and presumably he built the castle in the late 12th century, i.e. at a time when the historical area of Loket was governed by Friedrich Barbarossa. The castle was later owned by a number of noble families, where the more prominent ones included the Šliks, Štampachs, Gutštejns, Nostics, and the Metternichs. The last remains of the castle were removed from Zámecký vrch (Manor Hill) in 1813 and the material was used for the construction of other buildings in the surroundings.

The report on the findings of the archaeological research implies that the central motte has a square ground plan with dimensions of 28 x 28 metres and its three sides are enclosed with a wide and deep moat. In the course of further research seasons, the overall layout was partially unearthed in the foundations of the preserved structure formed by four walls up to 145 centimetres thick and jointed with lime mortar. The excavated stone building had a pentagonal floor plan. This finding corresponds to the description of the castle following its reconstruction carried out by the Šlik family after acquiring the castle in 1525. According to the description, a three-storey palace and a summerhouse stood in the bailey surrounded by a strong double curtain.

The castle gate was allegedly located on the side facing the town and the castle possibly had four corner towers, the remnants of which were described in the early 19th century. The research, however, did not involve the remains of the presumed towers that were so typical of structures reconstructed or newly built by the Šlik family.