Karlstejn Castle, Prague

The trip from Prague to Karlstejn took 45 mins, and from the station to Karlstejn Castle another twenty minutes. It was a steep climb; thankfully we were armed with plenty of water. Centuries back, it took one whole day to reach the castle from Prague on horseback!

The entrance is through the castle courtyard. It is truly a grand and majestic entrance. We were on time for the guided tour (English). A young guide led us inside. Once inside he locked the doors. While we remained locked inside he explained the history associated with the castle and room. We then spent sometime looking around in the closed room, no photography was permitted. He then unlocked another door, led us in to that room and then locked the door again. The same process continued for the next five or six rooms he showed.

The castle perched on a hill looks like a fairy tale castle, has grand exteriors, but the interiors are a major disappointment. They were bare, simply bare, with some replicas and some paintings… the original stuffs stashed away elsewhere. The Karlštejn Castle was founded by Czech king and Holy Roman emperor Charles IV in 1348. The hill-top castle surrounded by forests was built to hold the royal treasures and coronation jewels of the Holy Roman Empire. It served as the king’s retreat. The Czech coronation jewels were also kept there for almost 200 years. Nothing of that sort is there now; we were shown where these stuffs were kept though. Many of the interesting rooms are opened for special guests.

The Czech Republic was a major European force in the middle ages and has hundreds of castles. Had time permitted we could have toured yet another castle.

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