Karlstejn Castle in Bohemia used to be a royal residence in the past, and today it is a cultural and architectural monument of national importance. According to residents, the castle embodies the Czech statehood.
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Good to know! The tourist attraction is 30 km from Prague, on a hill rising above the Berounka River. A dense forest surrounds the castle, and it is not surprising that you can take photos in the observation deck, similar to footage from a fairy tale movie.

For a long time, the castle has been the second most visited tourist destination in the Czech Republic. There are still many mysteries in the history of the royal residence. According to one of the legends, a noblewoman lived in the castle, who killed fourteen innocent maids. Subsequently, she was condemned to a painful death from hunger. Historical facts confirm that during the Hussite Wars, the palace walls were besieged by the supporters of Jan Hus, who destroyed the fortress. There is also a legend telling that women were forbidden to enter the palace, but the fourth wife of Charles IV lifted this ban.
And another legend tells about a blind musician who played the flute in the castle and was accompanied by his devoted dog. Once the prince listened to music and wanted to treat him to a wine glass, the dog did not allow the musician to drink the drink because he smelled poison. The dog drank the wine and died a few minutes later, and after a while, the musician died of longing for his faithful friend.
Divine services are held three times a year in a small town. The Pope is present at them. Classical music sounds in the knight's hall. If you are lucky enough to reach the castle complex in early autumn, you will be taken to the annual harvest festival celebrating the local vineyards. During the events, guests are invited to taste young wine and traditional national dishes, admire theatrical performances stylized as the Middle Ages, and see knightly tournaments.

History and construction
The year 1348 is marked in the history of the Czech Republic as one of the most significant. At this time, the reigning monarch, Charles IV, founded the New Town in Prague and began constructing the Karlštejn Palace. According to the king's idea, the castle should have kept relics, treasures that belonged to the monarch's family.
Interesting facts about the palace:

  • construction was carried out at the height of 72 meters above sea level;
  • the project of the attraction belongs to the French architect Matvey Arasky;
  • Archbishop Arnost of Pardubice was entrusted with the right to lay the first stone of the castle;
  • it took nine years to build, but the king settled in the castle two years earlier.

The palace had a stepped architecture. Each subsequent floor towered over the previous one. At the lowest level, there were outbuildings and housing for servants, the palace chambers occupied the upper steps, and the highest building was the Big Tower - 25 m high, the walls 4 m thick.
Interesting fact! Theree was a good towe on the lower stepsr, but there was no water in it since it was impossible to find it on the castle's territory. Then it was decided to extend the well to the river.
The period of prosperity of the castle lasted until 1421. However, at the beginning of the 15th century, King Sigmund I took the royal treasures out so that they would not go to the enemy troops - the Hussites and Swedes. However, the fears were in vain, the conquerors did not get inside the castle, but the chapel of the Holy Cross was significantly damaged.
In the second half of the 15th century, the Karlstejn Palace in Bohemia was restored, decorated in a Gothic style with Renaissance elements. Nevertheless, the attraction gradually fell into decay, which led to the fact that at the end of the 17th century, some buildings on the territory of the castle were on the verge of destruction, and some buildings were used as storage facilities and for storing grain.
The revival of the castle began at the beginning of the 18th century when representatives of art showed interest. The complete reconstruction was completed in 1899 due to which Karlstein's appearance was greatly changed.

Architecture and what to see on the territory
The attraction consists of two thematic parts:

  • Upper Castle;
  • Lower Castle;

 Lower courtyard of Karlštejn Castle Lower courtyard of Karlštejn Castle
On the territory of the Upper Palace Complex, you can see:

  • The Bolshoi and Mariinsky towers;
  • imperial castle;
  • Church of the Virgin Mary.

On the territory of the Lower Castle, there is a large courtyard, as well as a burgrave, and at the lowest point, there is a good tower, inside which there is a well in which there has never been water.
The castle complex has preserved several unique architectural masterpieces of the 14th century - stained-glass windows in the Gothic style, facing precious minerals and paintings in the Holy Cross's chapel. By the way, it is the chapel that is the heart of the palace complex, the vault, the walls are decorated with gilded plaster, precious minerals, and the dome resembles a starry sky with the Sun and the Moon.
Tours are also held inside the Imperial Palace. Unfortunately, not all premises are open, only:
Hall of Nobility, where fragments of ancient wooden panels used to insulate the walls are presented;
the audience hall, in which the royal chair is located between the windows so that the monarch can see the faces of people, and the guests cannot see his faces because of the blinding sun;
Imperial CrownImperial Crown of Saint Wenceslas
the meeting room is decorated with ancient frescoes depicting relatives of the monarch Charles IV;
cutlery of the Gothic era is exhibited in the refectory; it is noteworthy that the entire pattern on the cups and bowls is embossed - this is done on purpose so that the dishes do not slip in greasy hands;
the bedroom is the king's favourite chambers; the figure of St. Catherine is leaning over his bed, thanks to whose patronage the monarch won his first battle.
The Mariinsky Tower displays a copy of the crown of St. Wenceslas, weapons, old chess, cards and precious stones.
Interesting fact! Among the exhibits, there is a crocodile skull; in King Charles IV, the animal was mistaken for a dragon.

How to get from Prague to Karlstejn on your own
Considering the small distance between the capital of the Czech Republic and the attraction, many are interested in the question - how to get from Prague to Karlstejn on your own?
By train
The fastest and cheapest route is by train. Comfortable double-decker trains run between settlements. The distance between Prague and Karlštejn is only 30 km, so the journey takes 40 minutes. Trains in the direction of Prague-Beroun leave from the central railway station every half an hour. The station is next to Wenceslas Square and the Hlavni nadrazi metro station. To move from the metro station to the railway platform, you do not need to go outside since the station is underground and the above-ground building is closed. Prague Railway Station, The cost of a Prague-Karlštejn ticket is 90 CZK. If you buy tickets in both directions, the price will be slightly lower.
Good to know! The time, train number, seat number is not shown on the ticket. The document is valid for 24 hours from the date of purchase. Be sure to present a public transport ticket valid for 1 or 3 days at the ticket office, in which case it will be cheaper to get from Prague to Karlstejn. Also, must show the travel card along with the ticket to the controller in the carriage. The carriages have tables, clean toilets, comfortable footrests, warmth in any weather. Experienced tourists recommend choosing places on the second floor to enjoy the surrounding landscapes during the trip. The train arrives in Karlstejn, and you need to walk about two kilometres to the castle, walk or take a taxi. It is difficult to get lost in a small town, as there are signs from the station to the palace. After exiting the train, go across the river and turn right.
By bike
Active travellers asked how to get from Prague to Karlstejn? They boldly answer - on a bicycle. A fascinating journey along a picturesque route awaits you. By the way, there are particular roads for cyclists in the Czech Republic, where you can reach speeds of up to 25 km / h.
By taxi or with a guided tour
A convenient and expensive way to visit Karlstejn Castle is to join an excursion group.
How to get from Prague to Karlstejn Castle quickly and comfortably? Call a taxi using the Uber app. The trip will cost about 400 CZK.
Important! Karlstejn is a pedestrian town. The main parking lot is in the Lower Karlstejn, a few kilometres from the castle. There is a parking lot in the Upper Karlstejn, but the transport of newlyweds and disabled people stops.

Last Updated: 25 May, 2021
Information sources: © kuku.travel