Where else to start your travels around Central Bohemia than in the castle most symbolic of the Czech republic’s famous and vibrant past.
Its origins date back to 1348, during the reign of the Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who ordered its construction. In 1355 Charles IV stayed here for the first time, overseeing the construction and decoration work, especially in chapels. The construction was completed in 1365 when the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Great Tower was consecrated.
Karlstejn was built, among other things, to become the ‘safe’ for the rarest royal treasures – collections of holy relics and the Imperial crown jewels. And keep them safe it surely did! They were guarded conscientiously, with short breaks, for almost two hundred years – the Chapel of the Holy Cross was the place of safekeeping the imperial crown jewels.
Although the monarch’s builders took pride in their work, given the castle’s long history it had to be restored several times – among others, modified in late Gothic style and at the end of the 19th century, in the spirit of purism. The grandeur of the castle will amaze you from the outside and this impression will only be enhanced by exploring the interiors.
You will see sacral spaces of world importance, such as the Chapel of the Holy Cross, ornately decorated with precious stones, gold and board paintings (a unique original 14th-century wall decoration, a set of 129 paintings) from the workshops of Master Theodoricus, as well as the Chapel of St Catherine, also decorated with precious stones and murals. The castle is also famous as a set to a comedy play Night at Karlstejn Castle by Czech poet Jaroslav Vrchlicky.
Over the centuries the castle has always been in hands of the king or a state institution, never in private hands. Nowadays it is owned by the state.
For more information about the Central Bohemia Region where this place is located click here.