The surroundings of Prague are over-flowing with castles, among them Křivoklát Castle stands out. This 12th century royal castle guarded the trade route that went to Pilsen and to Bavaria and was used last by the Premyslids for short stays during hunts. Charles IV occasionally stayed here with his mother and later accommodated his first wife Blanca of Valois here.
After 1424, during the Hussite Wars, the caste was quite heavily damaged. It was repaired under the rule of Vladislav Jagellon. Rudolf II changed the castle into a highly secure prison that would withstand anything. Among the prison´s clientele was the famous alchemist and charlatan Edward Kelley. When taking your tour of the castle , don´t miss out on the jewel of Czech Gothic – the hradní kaple (the royal chapel). Valuable exhibits can be viewed in the obrazová galerie (Picture Gallery) here. Special care has been given to the collection of old musical instruments, the sound of which you can appreciate during the castle´ s summer concert.
This trip can easily be combined with a small detour to Lány. The first Czechoslovak President T. G. Masaryk chose Lány as a summer seat of the Head of state because of the beautiful countryside where the excellent horse-back rider could go for daily excursions.
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