Czech National Treasure: Karlštejn Castle
Karštejn Castle holds an exceptional position among the Czech castles. It is located about 30 km southwest of Prague above the village of the same name and thus it makes it one of the most favourite sights in the Czech Republic. Built in 1348 by the Czech king and Roman emperor Charles IV, its main purpose was to store crown jewels and holy relics. No wonder it represents the Golden age of Czech lands.
The Bohemian crown jewels were kept there for almost two centuries, with some short breaks. During the Thirty Years' War in 1619, the coronation jewels were moved to Prague. From 1648, when the owner and Holy Roman Emperor was defeated by Swedes, the castle fell in disrepair. A neo-Gothic reconstruction was carried out by Josef Mocker between 1887 and 1899, giving the castle its present look.
The castle is divided into three levels according to their importance: The lowest level offers a Burgrave's Palace with a well, the second elvel boasts with Imperial Palace where the bedrooms of the monarch can be seen and finally at the third level there is the Great Tower, where behind three iron doors the crown jewels were supposed to be kept.
There are many legends connected to Karlštejn. It is said that women were forbidden to enter the castle or that the place is haunted by White Ladies who were killed by cruel castle warden's wife. Despite the ghosts, Karlštejn is one of the most visited castles in the country.
During the castle tour, you get to admire histrocial premises of Charles IV, over 70 metres deep water well with unique system of gaining the water or the copy of the Czech crown. Last but not least, you get to admire the original wall decoration from the 14th century or the biggest gallery of Czech monarchs.
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