Karlštejn Castle

Karlštejn Castle – Tour of the Private and Formal Rooms of Charles IV (4 hours)

Karlštejn Castle was founded in 1348 by Charles IV, King of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Emperor, as his private residence and a place of safekeeping for royal treasures, especially his collections of holy relics and the Imperial Crown Jewels. It was probably designed by French architect, Matthias of Arras. In 1355, Charles IV stayed here for the first time, overseeing the construction and decoration work, especially of the chapels. The construction was completed in 1365 when the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Great Tower was consecrated.

The Castle was an official residence of Charles IV and his son Wenceslas IV until 1419. As a fortress, Karlštejn Castle protected the Crown Jewels, holy relics, and royal archives until the 17th century. Over the centuries, the Castle has always been in the ownership of the King or a State institution, never in private hands. It is currently owned by the State.

After 1480, the Castle was rebuilt in the Late Gothic style and, in the last quarter of the 16th century, in the Renaissance style. During the last reconstruction that took place at the end of the 19th century (by architect Josef Mocker), the Castle gained its present appearance in the spirit of Purism.

From the car park at the entrance to the village, an uphill walk of some 2 km takes us to the Castle, which stands on a rocky hill north of the village, overlooking a side valley of the Berounka River. The guided tour includes the historical interiors of the 1st and 2nd floors of the Imperial Palace and the 1st floor of the Marian Tower with valuable furnishings from the 14th to 19th centuries (Courtiers’ Hall, Knights’ Hall with St. Nicholas Chapel, Marian Tower Courtyard, Karlštejn Castle Deanery, Emperor´s Bedchamber with St. Wenceslas Chapel, Audience Hall, Royal Hall of Ancestors and Banquet Hall, Karlštejn Castle Treasury and the former Castle prison on the ground floor of the Marian Tower). In the Castle Treasury, you can admire a copy of the St. Wenceslas Crown, the medieval crown of the Kings of Bohemia. The Well Tower (not guided, access from the Main Courtyard) is a 78-metre deep well with a unique medieval water wheel.