Karlštejn is a Gothic royal castle that personifies Czech statehood. It is located in thirty kilometers from Prague on a high limestone mountain above the river Berounka surrounded by forests. During the tour, you can enjoy the view of the majestic facade of the building and then go inside and listen to a fascinating tour about the emperor Charles the Fourth, the royal relics and ghosts that live here.
In the middle of the 14th century, the Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV began the construction of the Karlštejn castle. He entrusted construction management to the famous architect Mathieu of Arras - the first architect of the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle. According to the royal plan, the Karlštejn castle had to become a treasury and keep holy relics and royal jewels, including the crown of the Roman Empire.
Place for the construction of the castle was not chosen by chance. Karlstejn Castle stands on a rocky hill surrounded by forests and high hills so that it is not easy to see it from a far. And the walls are so impregnable that during its centuries-old history the Karlštejn castle has never been conquered.
Originally, the castle was built in the Gothic style, and in the 16th century it was restored in the Renaissance style. The Karlstejn castle acquired its modern look in the 19th century during the reconstruction under the guidance of the famous architect Josef Motsker.
The castle, unlike many Czech castles, is open all year round, with the exception of official holidays. In Karlštejn, church mass passes three times a year which even the Pope of Rome attends. What is more, classical concerts are held in the large knightly hall.
Karlštejn consists of two locks: Upper and Lower. The Upper Castle includes the Great Tower, the Imperial Palace, the Mariana Tower with the Church of Our Lady. Lower - Lower Castle with a large courtyard, Purkrabství and the gate, which the road leads to. At the lowest point of the castle is located a tower with a well 80 meters deep.
The fortress ensemble includes several masterpieces of architecture of the 14th century: in the Catherine Chapel you can see polychrome Gothic stained glass windows and precious veneer made of agate, jasper and carnelian; in the church of the Virgin Mary there are paintings and in the chapel of the Holy Cross there are images of saints and the prophets by Theodoric.
The heart of the fortress is the chapel of the Holy Cross decorated with 130 paintings of magnificent royal era. The unique Gothic collection has been successfully preserved to this day. The vault and all the walls of the chapel are impressive with gilded plaster and semiprecious stones and glass bubbles. The dome resembles the firmament with the stars, the month and the sun.
The castle is very successful in gathering stories and legends. They even claim that the number of ghosts in British castles do not stand nearby. We will tell you two stories about two Catherine.
The first kind and terrible but from the category of legends, of St. Catherine. Clever and beautiful Catherine refused to Emperor Maximilian in love. The emperor did not tolerate insults and tortured her to death. And since then, St. Catherine is the patroness of knowledge.
It was in the chapel of St. Catherine that Charles the Fourth retreated for a long time. And no one dared to disturb the king.
The second story is scary and real about the burgrave's wife. Katerina the second did not differ in virtue, in a quiet courtyard she tortured to death as many as fourteen people. She didn’t hide from the sword of justice and was tortured by starvation. Legend tells that now a woman in white is wandering around the castle and scares visitors.