Karlštejn is a majestic Gothic castle, strategically placed on a hill overlooking some of the beautiful forests. It has an exceptional position among Czech castles. It was founded 1348 by the Czech king and Roman Emperor Charles IV. as a private residence and a safe place for the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire. In a Chapel of the Holy Cross can be found a world unique paint collection of Master Theodoric, the court painter of Charles IV.
Nowadays, it is the most visited castle in the Czech Republic, for its beauty, fairy tale look, and rich history. It can be also easily reached from Prague by train in only 40 minutes.
As a visitor you may choose from 3 different guided tours:
- The private and representative rooms of Emperor Charles IV (Basic tour)
- The sacred rooms of the castle with the chapel of the Holy Cross (Exclusive tour)
- The Great Tower View
If you choose the 2nd option, you will have a chance to visit the spiritual heart of the castle: the chapel of the Holy Cross in the Great Tower. You might know the legend that women were not allowed to enter the castle, but it is not completely true. They were not allowed only to enter the floor of the Great Tower where the chapel is situated.
Some interesting facts from history
- Replica of St. Wenceslas crown of Czech kings is still at the castle
- The largest collection of panel paintings by Master Theodoric can be found in the Chapel of Holy Cross.
- Chapel of Holy Cross was locked by 9 locks and protected by four thick iron-plated doors.
- Castle Well is 78 m deep and didn’t have its own spring, water was led there from the Budňany stream.
- By car: The best way to get to Karlštejn from Prague is taking the D5 motorway (you need a motorway sticker) and leave it at Exit 10 – Loděnice. Castle is well marked from there. You will pass Bubovice and Hlásná Třebáň on the way.
- By train: There is a train leaving from Prague every half an hour. You can get on the train at Prague Main Station(Praha Hlavní nádraží, Metro red line C) or at Praha-Smíchov (Smíchovské Nádraží, Yellow Metro line B). The journey takes 40 minutes and bicycle transport is supported at these trains.
Not only the castle but also the surrounding area is worth visiting. There are beautiful quarries called Velká and Malá Amerika, which can be reached by a nice walk from Karlštejn. The area is also beautiful for cycling and big bike fans can take a cycling path from Prague by Vltava and later Berounka river.
You can read more about Karlštejn Castle here.