Rataje nad Sázavou (German: Rattay; Ratais an der Sasau) is a market town in the Central Bohemian Region, Czech Republic, 27 km southwest of Kutná Hora and 6 km southeast of Sázava. It has about 500 inhabitants. It lies on the Sázava River. The centre of the market town is historically significant and is protected by law as Urban monument zone.
The first written record of Rataje nad Sázavou dates back to 1156. It acknowledges that Rataje existed as a stronghold and market place. There are not any written reports about the exact date of its origin but it was probably about 946.
A castle, partly brick, partly wooden was founded on the place of the current castle in the middle of the 10th century. The castle was built as a border fortress of the Zlic region. This was proved by finding bronze and ceramic ornaments from 1890 when a road around the castle was built.
Rataje was rebuilt after a large fire in the middle of the 13th century. It was the property of the king at that time. John of Bohemia gave Rataje to Henry of Lipá. The lords of Lipa also built a lower castle called Pirkštejn. Hynce Ptáček of Pirkstein gained Rataje in 1420. He was the highest hofmeister and münzmeister of the Bohemian kingdom, an administrator of the royal towns including Kutna Hora and a guardian of the future king, George of Poděbrady. This is the most important holder of Rataje and is buried in the family tomb in the local church.
Many noble families owned Rataje later on. For example, Ladislav, Václav and Jan of Malešice started the reconstruction of the Renaissance part of the château in the era from 1531 to 1579. In 1656 William Francis of Talmberk started the reconstruction of the entire château and his son Frantisek Maxmilian Leopold finished it. Rataje was held by the Liechtenstein family from 1772 to 1919. The municipality of Rataje bought the château in 1933 and placed a municipal office, post office, police station and school there.
Although the municipality once had several hotels these are now largely closed as of 2016.
Pirkštejn Castle which is now closed was first mentioned in 1366. The castle is approachable by a brick bridge, a medieval tower is on the southeast and a palace converted into a rectory is on the west side.
Rataje Castle now comprises three parts: northern Gothic, southern Renaissance and western Baroque. There is a post office, municipal office and the Museum of Central Posázaví in the castle.
The church of St. Matthew was built in 1675–1691 according to the plans of Andrew de Guarde.
The chapel of St. Anthony near the road to Sázava
The chapel of St. Wenceslas
There are two railway tracks (014 and 212) and four railway stations: Rataje n. Sáz., Rataje n. Sáz. předměstí, Rataje n. Sáz. zastavka, Rataje n. Sáz. Ivaň.
In popular culture
A recreation of the town as it existed in 1403 is prominently featured in Czech role-playing game Kingdom Come: Deliverance.
John Francis Christopher of Talmberk (1644–1698), bishop of Hradec Králové
Antonín Vojtíšek (1771 – c. 1820), composer
Jan Peka (1894–1985), ice hockey player