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Karlstejn Castle

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

At the beginning of the Hussite wars, the Czech Crown Jewels were transported to Karlštejn for security reasons. The jewels remained there, with a short break, for nearly 200 years. The castle was reconstructed in the late Gothic style after 1480. In the last quarter of the 16th century it was rebuilt in the Renaissance style. During the last reconstruction that took place at the end of the 19th century (by architect Josef Mocker) in the spirit of purism, the castle gained its present appearance.

Very impressive is the preserved original stair-arrangement of individual castle buildings. The lower section with a small courtyard by the Well Tower and the Burgrave´s House continue through the majestic five-storey Imperial Palace and the Marian Tower. At the highest point, the construction of the castle culminates in a monumental, 60-meter-high Great Tower and its massive fortifications.

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