Josefov Fortress

  (Redirected from Fortress Josefov)
See other places named Josefov.

Josefov Fortress (Czech: Pevnost Josefov, German: Josefstadt or Josephstadt) is a large historic defence complex of 18th-century military architecture, built between 1780-1790, in Jaroměř, eastern Bohemia, Czech Republic.[1] Together with fortress Terezín, it was intended as protection against attacks from Prussia, but its military importance, like other such fortresses built across Europe, was minimal as decisive battles were often fought elsewhere. Since 1948 it is part of the city of Jaroměř.

Air photo of Fortress Josefov


After the coronation of Emperor Joseph II, new fortifications began to be built for the defence of the northern border of the Empire. The defence of Moravia was entrusted to Olomouc, which was fortified by powerful forts. When the work was completed, the fortification of Hradec Králové began in the years 1766-88.[2] The Emperor Joseph II himself had the Josefov fortress to be built around the area of Plesy, near the town of Jaroměř.

Designed by the French architect Louis Querlonde de Hamel and fortified by octagonal-shaped, bastion-like brick walls extending over 289 hectares, the fortress is an ingenious system of fortifications in the form of an amphitheatre with extensive three-storeys deep underground corridors formed in cretaceous rocks, and running for a labyrinth of 45 kilometers, like of which cannot be found anywhere else in Europe.[3] It had three distinct sections - the main fortress with its residential and public function, the lower Crown fortress with a fortified island, and a forward redoubt in the fortress Brdce.[4] The town had four gates. The dominant part of the whole Fortress Josefov is the Empire Church, which was built between 1805-10. It was designed by Heinrich Hatzinger, Julius D’Andreis and Franz Joseph Fohmann.[5] Before that, there stood a fountain, which was made by the Czech J. Malinský in the year 1817.

The Josefov fortress was originally named Ples, and only later, in 1793, was it renamed Josefov. In 1948 the fortress town was incorporated into Jaroměř and today, both fortress and town, are part of a national conservation area preserving 18th-century military building techniques and classicist urbanism.


Over the years, the fortress has been converted into a residential district. The biggest extreme metal music festival in Central Europe Brutal Assault takes place here each August, with the music stages built against the outer walls. Metalheads from all over Europe occupy the fortress for three days each year.



  1. ^ Lepage, Jean-Denis (2009). Vauban and the French military under Louis XIV: an illustrated history of Fortifications and Strategies. McFarland, p. 285. ISBN 0-7864-4401-0
  2. ^ Romaňák, Andrej (1994), Pevnost Terezín, FORTprint, p. 93. ISBN 80-901580-3-X
  3. ^ David, Petr, Vladimír Soukup, Lubomír Čech (2004), Wonders of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, Euromedia Group, pg. 41. ISBN 978-80-242-2455-8
  4. ^ Vošahlík, Aleš, Karel Kibic, Jaroslav Wagner, Jaroslav Svatoň, Vladimír Novotný, Josef Hobzek (1981), Paměť měst: městské památkové rezervace v českých zemích, Odeon, p. 129.
  5. ^

Coordinates: 50°20′21.4″N 15°55′48.8″E / 50.339278°N 15.930222°E / 50.339278; 15.930222