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1-12-2020, 12:36 UTC
Photo Tour of Czech Republic - Castles

Featuring the most popular castle outside Prague, the village of Karlstejn is 28 km to the southwest of the city along the Berounka River. The towering Gothic castle dominates the village from the heights on which it was built by Matthias of Arras for King Charles IV from 1348 to 1357. The part of the village that lies directly below the castle was originally known as Budnany, but was later incoporated into the larger village along the river.

Charles IV one of the most popular Czech historical figures, thanks to his huge contribution to the Czech Lands and especially to Prague. He had the castle built as a summer retreat from the city he made great, and as a vast safe for the crown jewels, from both the Czech Kingdom and the Holy Roman Empire (since Charles was Emperor), kept behind 19 different locks. King Sigismund removed the Imperial jewels to Hungary in 1420 because of the threat of Hussite attack and the Czech crown jewels were moved to St. Vitus' Cathedral in Prague in 1619. The castle's highest tower is the site of its greatest treasure, the Chapel of the Holy Rood, which has six-meter thick walls inlaid with semi-precious stones, and features 128 paintings of saints by the great Czech painter from the 14th century, Master Theodoric. Only the Emperor, the Archbishop and the electoral princes of the Empire were allowed to enter this chamber. Other important sections of the castle include the Church of Our Lady in the smaller tower, which has a number of Gothic paintings, as well as the adjoining Chapel of St. Catherine (sv. Katerina), where Charles was known to withdraw from the affairs of state and which is also lavishly decorated with semi-precious stones and paintings. When Charles IV was king, women were absolutely barred from entering the castle, though the story of his wife Anna sneaking into the castle disguised as a man is a favorite in Czech folklore. The castle has been a popular tourist destination since the early 19th century, and it underwent somewhat heavy-handed renovation in the years 1887-1899.