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4e The Second Descent into the Gates of Hell- Welcome to Spielberg
(For a visual tour, go to http://www.Špilberk.cz/?pg=zobraz&co=Špilberk-castle)
Spielberg here is not the name of a famous director—it is the German equivalent of the Czech Špilberk.
A tourist visiting Brno, the second largest city of the Czech Republic, will go to the City Museum, housed in Castle Špilberk(Spielberg). He or she will see an imposing white building, dating back to Moravian kings in the 13th century and later rebuilt as a baroque fortress that withstood foreign armies during the Thirty Years War. At that time that it was first put to use as a holding tank for prisoners, first Protestant heretics, then sympathizers of the French Revolution, fighters for Italian freedom from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Polish dissidents in the mid-1800’s.It became the subject of a book by Italian poet and prisoner, Silvio Pellico, “Le Mieie Prigioni”( My Prison) and it earned the nickname “dungeon of the nations”. By the middle of the 19th century, Kaiser Franz Josef I shut down the prison; one century later, the German conquerors would reestablish it as a prison for Czech patriots who had tried to resist the Nazis ( they would then be sent on to concentration camps such a Terezin-Theresienstadt) .