Wood-carved mechanical Hell

Not far from the gate of Hell at the Houska castle you can find a movable wooden Hell. Inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, it recalls the long tradition of Czech wood carvers and their original style. The unique piece of art shows eleven mobile scenes from Hell. Whether you are a literature enthusiast or plan to visit the castle with children, we offer the possibility to go through Hell without any inconvenience.

Opening hours

April - October
During the opening hours of the castle
web page of Houska castle
Admission 60 Kč
Your contribution will be used for maintenance and further improvement of the artwork.
Thank you

About the project

Everyone has their own idea of hell - some people catch hell from their partners, some work like hell, others go through hell at the dentist’s. We hope that our interpretation of Dante’s Inferno will be an exclusively pleasant experience for you.

  • 13 mobile sceneries represent scenes from Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell

  • 94 figures demonstrate the way of the sinners

  • 34 mechanical tools move the gates of Hell

  • 7623 earthly hours were passed carving the sins into wood

  • 2,4 m3 linden wood was used

  • The exposition is spread over an area of 16 m2

  • 12,5 min is the running time of the original soundtrack composed by Prof. Václav Mazáček

  • Our Hell is barrier-free

It is up to you how much time you decide to spend in Hell. Contrary to Dante’s story there is no guide but information boards at each scene make for easy orientation.

Belzebub

News

The 2020 season finished on October 11th
This season started in troubled times and had to end prematurely. Nevertheless, we can mark it as successful and we would like to thank our visitors dearly for their support. We look forward to seeing you next year.

About Us

One thousand Nativity scenes but not one from Hell. During long rides through the nature preserve of Kokořínsko one has time to contemplate their own sins. On one of those rides the idea emerged to build a mechanical scenery showing the journey sinners have to make through the terraces of Purgatory. The form of the artwork was inspired by the well-known traditional Czech Nativity scenes; the topic, however, is a rare one throughout Europe.

The creators:
Tomáš Štěpán
The father of the idea, ever since his youth he took pleasure in working with wood, his enchantment with Dante’s Inferno lead him to the making of this project

Jan Kopecký
The chief wood-carver, puppeteer and a man of the theatre, he is responsible for the appearance of the figures and their authentic look

Ing. Miroslav Konopásek
The warden of Houska castle and unholy guide through the underworld, he also conducts and repairs the infernal machines

No regional or European funding was used to support this project. It was therefore necessary to make a dent in our savings accounts and embrace the generous help from our friends. Many thanks for their trust and financial support. We would not be able to finish this piece of art without you!

Contact

Address: Hrad Houska 1
E-mail: info@peklem.cz
Telephone: +420 728 351 101

Opening hours

April - October
During the opening hours of the castle
web page of Houska castle
Admission 60 Kč