Was Elizabeth Báthory a bloodthirsty monster, or a victim of the will of others? Bathory director Juraj Jakubisko posited the second possibility – and selected the Točník and Žebrák castles as locations for his blockbuster.
Though it may not look like it today, Točník – built by Wenceslas IV, the first-born son of Charles IV – was once a very opulent castle. It was just here that Báthory is seen walking with the painter Caravaggio. It was also the venue for a pig killing at which wandering monks, played by Bolek Polívka and Jiří Mádl, turned up. The scene where the pair set off on skis was also shot here. Incidentally, the wicked stepmother in F. A. Brabec’s Wild Flowers also lived at Točník.
Very close by stand the ruins of the castle Žebrák. There is a deep connection between the two historical landmarks and the crew on Bathory also filmed at Žebrák, using it as the location for a dramatic scene in which the maid Erika flees the castle.
While you can walk through Žebrák alone, a guide will show you around Točník. Both spots afford spectacular views of the landscape and the Brdy Hills. In addition you will find a bear enclosure, home to the pair Agáta and Martin, while the mysteriously romantic air of the twin castles is underscored by bats that return regularly.