Published: 21.4.2008
This Gothic Castle was founded by Bohemian King and Roman Emperor Chatles IV in 1348, originally from a reason, in order to Imperial Coronation Jewels and Saint Relics could be put there. Karlštejn belongs to most famous and most picturesque Bohemian Castles and it became rightly a symbol of Czech State.

Charles IV stayed in castle just since 1355 . He controlled the construction as well as decoration of interior halls. Building works were terminated in 1365, and in the same year, there was consecratea  St.Cross Chapel in Great Tower.

Within Hussite Wars, there were hidden (from security reasons) in Karlštejn Coronation Jewels, and remained here, with some pauses, nearly 200 years. After 1480, the castle was arranged in late Gothic style. At the end of 16th century, the Renaissance reconstruction was undergone, and finally, its last arrangement (today´s face) was given at the end of 19th century.

A unique highlight of Karlštejn castle, there is original wall-decoration of St.Cross Chapel of 14th century, consisted of 123 desk-pictures of Master Theodorikus, portrait galleries of Bohemian sovereigns, including copy of Coronatioon Jewel - St.Wenceslas Crown.

Karlštejn castle is situated in Preserved  Nature Area of Bohemian Karst, distant approx. 40 kms of Prague. It is placed in beautiful countryside on a hill ( as it is obvious in case of castles) in the community of the same name, along bank of Berounka-river.

Provided you decide to go here by car, quite large parking place is available, where you can leave your car for a fee of CZK 50,-. Now, you have to overcome 2 km long and quite steep hill, to reach castle entrance.  Do not worry, that you have to go upstairs borely. Along the road, you find a lot of stands and shops with souvenirs, ice-cream, refreshment or sitting in one of many restaurants. Provided, your wishes, regarding shops sightseeing do not be suited fully, you can rent, near to parking place, a carriage, drawn by pair of cool-blooded horses and let to be carried out nearly to the castle entrance.

In case of your interest, you can visit also wax-museum. It is open daily, and you can admire here 50 wax-figures of important persons of Charles IV era.

The other very interesting attraction, you can watch along your way to the castle, is a man, dressed in costume-era. On his hand, there is sitting a wild bird. You can receive a photo of your person with this penniferous animal, with a fee of CZK 30,-. However, woe to you,  provided you take a photo and do not pay, so you have to hear a couple of insultations!

After conquering of this upleasant hill, we finally reach main courtyard, you probably wish to order the sightseeing. After your ordering, you will have time enough for walking along fortification and enjoy marvellous view of castle dominanta and view around. There are coming plenty of tourists to Karlštejn every day, you will have to wait a little. An assumption, that you come to cash-desk, pay for entrance and start immediately your guided tour, is not valid.

Guided Tours

First guided tour:

This tour offers  the sightseeing of historical interiors of two storeys of Imperial Palace and lower floors of Mary Tower with valuable eqipment of 14th up to 19th century. (Courtier´s Hall, Knight´s Hall with St.Nicolas Chapel, King´s Hall of Ancestors, Banqueting and Audience Hall, Charles´ bedroom with St.Wenceslas Chapel, Renaissance interiors of Deanery, Castle´s Treasury Room, former castle jail placed in groundfloor of Mary Tower, castle galleries and outlook galleries of upper castle). Well-Tower with 80 m deep castle well is accessible free of charge.

This first guided tour is to be effected with guide only. It takes 50-60 minutes, for 55 persons max. Reservation for groups of more than 10 persons for tour is necessary.

Second guided tour:

Here, you will walk through  eastern wing of Emperor´s Palace, Mary- and Great Tower and have a look of most valuable spaces of Karlštejn castle.(small castle picture-gallery with graphic-art collection, Church if  Blessed Virgin Mary, St.Catarina Chapel, former sacristy, suspension-towewr-bridge, Castle collection of statues, Great Picture Gallery, Castle Library with the exposition of last castle reconstruction, Tower´s staircase with wall-decorations of 14th century, St.Cross Chapel, defensive and outlook galleries of upper castle).

This guided tour will be open for public since 1st June till 31st October 2008.

This second guided tour is to be effected with guide only. It takes 100-110 minutes, for 15 persons max. Reservation for any of possible visitors is necessary.

Opening Time of  the Castle:

January                     9h-15h

February                   closed

March                        9h-15h

April                           9h-16h

May                            9h-17h

June                           9h-17h

July                            9h-18h

August                       9h-18h

September                 9h-17h

October                     9h-16h

November                  9h-15h

December                  9h-15h

Text/photo: Štěpánka Svobodová


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