Central Bohemian Region
Central Bohemia region – STŘEDOČESKÝ KRAJ
KUTNÁ HORA and the neighboring town of SEDLEC are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the most important buildings in the area are the Gothic, five-naved St. Barbara’s Church – CHRÁM SVATÉ BARBORY, and the Italian Court – VLAŠSKÝ DVŮR, formerly a royal residence and mint – MINCOVNA, which was built at the end of the 13th century. The Gothic Stone Haus – KAMENNÝ DŮM, which since 1902 has served as a museum, contains one of the richest archives in the country. The Gothic St. James’s Church, with its 282 ft tower, is another prominent building. Sedlec is the site of the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady – CHRÁM NANEBEVZETÍ PANNY MARIE and the famous Ossuary – KOSTNICE.
Karlstejn Castle – HRAD KARLŠTEJN is a large Gothic castle founded 1348 by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor – CÍSAŘ SVATÉ ŘÍŠE ŘÍMSKÉ and King of Bohemia – KRÁL ČESKÝ. The castle served as a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia – ŘÍŠSKÉ KORUNOVAČNÍ KLENOTY – as well as the Bohemian/Czech crown jewels – ČESKÉ KORUNOVAČNÍ KLENOTY, holy relics – SVATÉ RELIKVIE, and other royal treasures. Located about 30 km southwest of Prague above the village of the same name, it is one of the most famous and most frequently visited castles in the Czech Republic.
Near Karlštejn are the Koněprusy Caves – KONĚPRUSKÉ JESKYNĚ , a cave system in the heart of the limestone region known as Bohemian Karst – ČESKÝ KRAS and the Czech Grand Canyon – VELKÁ AMERIKA – a partly flooded, abandoned limestone quarry – VÁPENCOVÝ LOM.
Other beautiful castles worth mentioning are KŘIVOKLÁT near the town of BEROUN, where the Collections of hunting weapons, Gothic paintings and books are stored. KONOPIŠTĚ castle near city of BENEŠOV has become famous as the last residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria – ARCIVÉVODA FRANTIŠEK FERDINAND D´ESTE, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne – DĚDIC TRŮNU RAKOUSKO-UHERSKÉ ŘÍŠE, whose assassination in Sarajevo triggered World War I. The bullet that killed him is now an exhibit at the castle’s museum. Also the KOKOŘÍN castle near the city of MĚLNÍK, castle that is surrounded by nature preserve of KOKOŘÍNSKO.
Worth visiting are three pilgrimage sites in Central Bohemia.
The first one is the town of BRANDÝS NAD LABEM – STARÁ BOLESLAV. Its fame came from a major historical event: the murder of Prince Wenceslas – KNÍŽE VÁCLAV – by his brother Boleslav at the gate of St Cosmas and Damian Church on September 28, 935 (or 929). After his death, Wenceslas was proclaimed a saint by the church – PROHLÁŠEN CÍRKVÍ ZA SVATÉHO and became the patron saint of the Czech nation as well as a symbol of moral reinforcement during hard times. Not far from this city lies the City of MLADÁ BOLESLAV which is known for the Skoda automobile factory – AUTOMOBILKA ŠKODA AUTO.
The second pilgrimage site is the Baroque Holy Mountain Church – SVATÁ HORA – near the city of PŘÍBRAM. It is the best known St. Mary´s pilgramage site – MARIÁNSKÉ POUTNÍ MÍSTO – in the Czech republic. It is a baroque building of rectangular platform consisting of arcades – AMBITY – and four corner chapels – ROHOVÁ KAPLE.
And finaly the third pilgrimage site is the Říp Mountain – HORA ŘÍP is a 459 meters tall solitary hill where, according to legend, the first Czechs settled. On top of the hill there is the Romanic Rotunda of St. George and St. Vojtech – ROMÁNSKÁ ROTUNDA SV. JIŘÍ A SV. VOJTĚCHA.