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History of the castle
Karlštejn castle has an unique position among Czech castles. It was founded in 1348 by the Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV as a place for safekeeping of royal treasures, especially Charles' collection of holy relics and the coronation jewels of the Roman Empire. The first documented stay of Charles IV. in the castle was in 1355 when he came to supervise the building works as well as the decoration of interiors, particularly of the castle chapels. The construction of the castle was finished in 1365 by the consecration of the Chapel of the Holy Cross situated in the Great tower.
The castle became a place for safekeeping of the Czech coronation jewels at the outbreak of the Hussite wars. They were kept there, with the exception of several short-time breaks, for nearly 200 years. Karlštejn was reconstructed in the Late Gothic style after 1480 and in Renaissance style in the last quarter of the 16th century. Its present appearance is the result of the last reconstruciton, which was carried out in the puristic Neo-Gothic style by architect Josef Mocker at the end of the 19th century. The orginal step-like order of building is very impressive - you walk up from the well tower and the Burgrave's palace located as the lowest up to the majestic five-floored Imperial palace and futher up toward the Marian tower. The monumental 60 m high and separately fortified Great tower stands at the top of the headland.
Very impressive is the original step-like order of buildings. From the Well tower and Burgrave's palace located as the lowest you walk up to the majestic five-floored Imperial palace and further up towards the Marian tower. And finally at the top of the headland stands the monumental 60m high and separately fortified Great tower.
Points of interest:
Entirely unique is the original decoration of wall paintings dating back to the 14th century, collection of 129 panel paintings by Master Theodoric in the Chapel of the Holy Cross (the world largest if its kind), the largest portrait gallery of Czech rulers in the country, exhibited replica of the crown of the Holy Roman Emperors and St. Wenceslas crown - the coronation crown of the Czech Kings as well as the unique castle water well.