Karlstejn, Prague

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  • Closeup view of same rook and castle ramparts.
    Closeup view of same rook and castle...
    by hundwalder
  • Hrady Karlstejn church steeples framed by ramparts
    Hrady Karlstejn church steeples framed...
    by hundwalder
  • Karlstejn
    by DanDidriksen
  • hundwalder's Profile Photo

    Karlstejn and the central Bohemian countryside

    by hundwalder Updated May 18, 2008

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    Hrady Karlstejn and the surrounding countryside.
    1 more image

    The city of Karlstejn and its famous Gothic castle are located about 35 km. southwest of Prague. Karlstejn is a short, uncomplicated, scenic, and very inexpensive, train ride from Hlavni Nadrazi ( central or main ) train station of Prague. Many tour packages for hrady ( castle ) Karlstejn are available, but most leave much to be desired, and a few are outright hoaxes. My advice is to save your money by taking the public train. The red, white, and blue, flag of the new republic of Chechia, is shown flying proudly over the upper court of the castle.

    Shown in both photos are the tallest rook and part of the castle's ramparts, as well as the surrounding steep and heavily forested hills. Further in the distance are the villages that dot the river valley. You can see from the photos that attacking the castle was a very formidable task for all of the invaders who tried. The photos were taken in April when the Bohemian countryside is especially beautiful and captivating.

    more later !

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  • hundwalder's Profile Photo

    medieval fortress overlooking Karlstejn

    by hundwalder Updated Jun 19, 2008

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    Towers and ramparts of hrady Karlstejn.
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    The vast reaching hrad ( castle ) Karlstejn is spread out over the highest densely forested hilltops overlooking the well preserved Renaissance central Bohemian city of the same name. Construction of this mighty fortress commenced in 1348, by order of the ambitous, vain, and treasury pillaging King Karluv IV ( yes the same king under whose reign many of Prague's most popular tourist sites were built and given his name ). The king declared that the primary purpose of the fortress was to house the crown jewels, the other royal treasures, and the important and guarded documents. However, the completed fortress which rivaled a small city in size, served many more functions, including defense of the region.

    The castle was revamped in about 1550, from which it received its present appearance. The architectural style is very characteristic of Bohemian and Austro-Hungarian Renaissance.The semi pyramidal roofs of the towers and other buildings, as well as the half timbered great halls are common throughout the region in castles as well as free standing towers. Photo #2 is a closeup view of the great hall and primary tower. Photo #1 shows more detail of the sloping crenalated ramparts. Photo #3 shows the older buildings in the castle complex, indluding one of the medieval turrets with a coned roof. Photo #4 shows the steeples of the castle's church, protruding from behind the massive defense ramparts.

    There are excellent hiking trails through the woods surrounding the castle, which afford great views of all sides of the castle and of the surrounding river valley and countryside. Admission to the castle grounds and many of its structures is free of charge, and you can enjoy them as long as you wish. There are two guided tours offered of the castle interiors, although the long tour is only offered a few times a day. The tours are not very memorable and no photography of the interiors is allowed. It is hard to say why ! The best views of the castle are from a distance and from the courtyard, such as the ones shown in my photos.

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  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo

    Karlstejn Castle

    by mrclay2000 Written Dec 15, 2003

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    Karlstejn Castle

    This 14-century stronghold built by Charles IV to house the crown jewels now serves only partly in that capacity (the rest of the crown jewels are in Vienna). Even so, there is a police presence within the castle to prevent electronic devices from scouting the place, but otherwise the tour through the various royal apartments and the at-will exploration around the ramparts, towers and battlements is a wonderful diversion for the castle lover. Karlstejn is about 35 minutes by train northwest from Prague (leaves from Smichov station to Beroun every hour).

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  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo

    Karlstejn Castle

    by HORSCHECK Updated Dec 30, 2007

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    Karlstejn Castle
    2 more images

    Take a daytrip by train to the famous Gothic Castle of Karlstejn. The medieval castle was built between 1348 and 1355 to deposit the Empire coronation jewels and state documents.

    It is located on a hill and offers great views of the surrounding area. The way up the hill is packed with tourist stalls selling every kind of souvenirs.

    Karlstejn ist located about 35 km southwest of Prague. A return train ticket was 112 CZK in 2003 (less than 2 EURO).

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  • Krumlovgirl's Profile Photo

    Daytrip to Karlštejn Castle

    by Krumlovgirl Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This medieval castle was built in 1348 - 1368 by the King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV, as a place for safekeeping the coronation jewels. The heart of the castle is the Chapel of the Holy Rood (or Holy Cross), and features a famous gallery of 127 panel paintings by the Master Theodoricus. Reservations for touring the Chapel must be made ahead of time.
    Distance: approx. 21 miles (half-day trip)

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  • Raimix's Profile Photo

    Castle of Karlstejn

    by Raimix Written Oct 19, 2009

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    Karlstejn is one of the most famous travel destinations in Czech Republic. Main landmark in village of Karlstejn is castle.

    Gothic castle was built from 1348 till 1365 by Holy Roman emperor and King of Bohemia Charles IV. Actually the purpose of constructing this castle was safekeeping of royal treasures.

    Castle is about 30 kilometers from Prague. It is possible to reach it by train.

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  • DanDidriksen's Profile Photo

    Karlstein

    by DanDidriksen Written Jan 9, 2010

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    I have been at Karlstein a few times. It is always a pleasure, and always a new "wow"!
    If you are on holiday in Prague, more than a few days, I highly recommend going to Karlstein.
    You can take the train from the central station, and the trip takes no more than 20-25 minutes.
    When you are in Karlstein is no more than 10 mins walk to main street and then 10 minutes up to the castle.
    Before you go all the way up to the castle, I would recommend you to follow the yellow trail away from the castle (You will find the marks on the way to the castle). If you follow it, just a couple of 100 meters, you will have the perfect view of the castle.
    To go inside the castle is not worth it. There is really nothing in there.

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  • COHbKA's Profile Photo

    Karlstejn

    by COHbKA Updated Mar 3, 2003

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    One of the Karlstejn Castle towers

    If you are into hiking and have a free day on your hands, take a train to Karlstejn, see the beautiful castle, then follow one of the trails from there. We took a 15K trail to Berun - through a small village called Svyatogo Janu pod Skaloju. It was fairly level walk through woods and meadows - not extremelly challenging, but proved a good preparation for ascent to Triglav in Slovenia a few days later (see more about that in my Slovenia page :) )

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  • Get a taste of 14th century lifestyle!

    by wildstrawberries Written Aug 21, 2003

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    This castle rivals Ludwig's Neuschwanstein in terms of outstanding architecture!

    From Praha-Smichov station take a local CD (Cesky Drahy) train to Karlstejn station (30min). It costs 21 Kc per adult. If you travel with a baby pram, pay 6Kc additional.

    From the Karlstejn station, walk another 30min(leisurely) uphill to the castle. Be sure to check the timing for English tour near the ticket office.

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  • mbsimjam's Profile Photo

    Wish this was my summer home!

    by mbsimjam Written Aug 27, 2007

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    Karlstejn Castle is probably the most famous castle outside of Prague. Its proximity to Prague obviously helps that, but it is a very interesting castle in its own right. It is a great example of the Bohemian late gothic style architecture and has a very interesting structure to it.

    For me, to be honest, the tour itself was boring. It was more of a tour of the family artifacts than the castle itself(the castle was used as a place of safe-keeping for most of the royal's most important treasures, includin the crown jewels). You don't generally learn much about the castle itself. However, it is an interesting look into Charles IV's family life, etc.

    Karlstejn, as a town, has basically become a tourist junction between the train station and the castle. You can find everything and anything you would expect to be sold where tourists frequent...restaurants, accomodation, ice cream, useless trinkets, etc. But it still, strangely, holds its character, as it almost seems these shops are sort of like a circus that came into town for the week and will leave it exactly as they found it.

    it is a great day trip from Prague, especially if you want something that is close and important in the course of understanding the nation's history...not to mention great picturesque views!

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  • Lalique's Profile Photo

    Hrad Karlstejn

    by Lalique Updated Feb 5, 2003

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    Karlstejn

    It's the most known bohemian castle, it stands in the valley of river Berounka. The castle is about 30 kms south-west of Prague.
    The castle was build for Karl IV and posseses a lot of historical artifacts.
    Among other truly fascinating and interesitng things it has one of the 1st toilets, which was used only by the King. It sets on a tower wall, like a bay window and is seen from the far aproaches to the castle...

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  • BorneoGrrl's Profile Photo

    Excursion to Karlstein Castle

    by BorneoGrrl Updated Apr 18, 2006

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    25 km from Prague, Karlstein Castle sits on top of Knezni Mountain and when you first catch a glimspe of it, you will be pretty amazed. An excursion will take you to one side of the castle and you are expected to walk through the forest and up a steep hill for 20 mins or so before you reach the entrance. This royal castle was built in the 14th century as a residence of King Charles IV and to safeguard the crown jewels and some important documents. The Chapel of the Holy Rood was where the crown jewels were once kept, houses a unique set of 128 panel paintings by Master Theodoric, dating back to the 1360's. Part of the original furnishing and decorations can still be seen. You also won't see some parts of the castle or the crown jewels itself

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  • BorneoGrrl's Profile Photo

    Picturesque town

    by BorneoGrrl Written Apr 18, 2006

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    View from Karlstein Castle

    After visiting Karlstein Castle, you will be led down to your transport via the street along the lovely town. There are numerous shops selling souvenirs, crystals and other local handicraft. The walk itself is a great experience because the scenery is beautiful and people are friendly.

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  • NightStar's Profile Photo

    KARLŠTEJN - the castle cca 40...

    by NightStar Updated May 13, 2005

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    KARLŠTEJN - the castle cca 40 km from Prague.
    Lots of tourist, when are visiting Prague have many possibilities to visit this beautiful castle (taxis, buses) - this is a place where we have a King´s treasure of Czech Republic with regalia.
    There was live and founder was King Charles IV - one of worldfamous kings in 14 century.

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  • Waoife's Profile Photo

    Karlstejn Castle

    by Waoife Written Aug 26, 2002

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    Karlstejn Castle - OK being the most visited castle in the Czech Republic it's not exactly 'off the beaten path' but what a lot of people don't realise is that it's only a 35-minute train ride from Smichov station. Providing you have the whole day to spare & don't mind trying out sign language at the train station you can get a return ticket for under €5 - far cheaper than any of the expensive organised excursions. A word of warning though - the castle is about a 20 minute walk UPHILL from the train station.

    There are tours of the castle (I was there in November & even then there were plenty available in English) and although the inside is empty & not as impressive as the outside it's worth a look all the same.

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