The town of Brno with its spectacular Špilberk castle and the hill Petrov undoubtedly ranks among memorable historic sights of the Czech Republic. Especially to these buildings the special mini-series issued by Czech Mint entitled Brno Sights is dedicated.
Both designs were created by M. A. Jan Hásek, excellent Czech medallist. Gold ducat Špilberk is another example of his masterful approach to a historic subject. On the obverse side he depicted the monumental building and a number of names of the most significant people who had the biggest impact on its seven-hundred-years old history. The reverse side of the ducat highlights the best what the Brno architecture has to offer.
The castle was built in the centre of Brno on the impulse of Czech King Ottokar II (in Czech Přemysl Otakar II.); later on, Blanche of Valois (first wife of Charles IV) spent some time here as well. Špilberk began to be used as a residence from mid 14th century by John Henry (in Czech Jan Jindřich; brother of Charles IV) and his son Jost. After the latter’s death, during the reign of King Sigismund and his son-in-law Albert of Austria, the castle served more for military purposes. The castle’s new designation became evident during the Hussite wars and, in particular during fights between Czech King George of Poděbrady and Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus. At that time George’s son Victor, Duke of Münsterberg, an imperial count, resided at Špilberk. From mid 18th century Špilberk became the most monumental and most significant Baroque fortress in Moravia. In 1783, Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, changed the fortified jail at Špilberk into a civilian jail for felons; in particular the underground casemates served this purpose. In 1855, the jail was abolished by Emperor Franz Joseph I and for the following one hundred years turned into barracks. However, between the two world wars Špilberk was again used as a prison, during WW2 it was gradually transformed by the Nazis into model military building in the spirit of the German Third Reich ideology. Since 1959, the monument has served as a representative seat of the Museum of the town of Brno.
The investment medal Špilberk comes in a leather case in a new design; its mintage is limited to 1,000 pieces.