This 800 year old castle is located in the mountains north of Prague. In the Czech Republic it is refered to as the Gates of Hell due to its haunting reputation.
It is said that the giant pit this castle was built on top of is the gateway to hell. The castle was constructed to seal away the evil. The structure of the castle itself is designed to keep people in rather than keep people out.
There are tales about half human - half beast like creatures emerging from the bottomless pit and strange moaning can be heard throughout the castle. There is one story about a duke who would pardon any criminal if they would be lowered into the pit using a rope and report back what they saw. One criminal was lowered into the pit and started to scream in terror. When they pulled him up they saw that his hair had turned all white and the man had gone mad.
Houska castle (built in 13th century), and most specifically the chapel, has been constructed over a large hole in the ground that is supposedly ‘The Gateway to Hell’, which was said to be so deep no one could see the bottom of it. Half-animal-half-man creatures were reported to have crawled out of it, and dark winged creatures flew in its vicinity. Legend has it that when construction began in the castle, all the inmates that were sentenced to death were offered a pardon if they consented to be lowered by rope into the hole, and report back on what they saw. When the first person was lowered, he began screaming after a few seconds, and when pulled back to the surface he looked as if he had aged 30 years in just a few seconds. He had grown wrinkles and his hair had turned white, as old folklore tales state.
Houska castle was built with no fortifications, no water, no kitchen, near no trade routes, and with no occupants at its time of completion. The castle was not built as a residence or as a protective sanctuary, but was instead built because the hole was thought to be a gateway to hell. Thus, by constructing the Gothic building, they were able to keep the demons trapped in the lower level thickest walls closest to the hole of the castle.