|1st Sightseeing Tour|
|Exposition:||Historical interiors of the Emperor’s Palace and the Mariánská tower|
|Duration of the tour:||50 – 55 minutes|
|Capacity:||maximum 55 people on a single visit|
|Booking:||Advanced booking is required for groups of visitors larger than 15 people.|
|2nd Sightseeing Tour|
|Exposition:||Historically the richest interiors of the Mariánská tower, the Great tower and the Chapel of St Cross.|
|Duration of the tour:||approx. 100 minutes
|Capacity:||maximum 16 people on a single visit|
|Booking:||Advanced booking is required for every visitor.|
|3rd Sightseeing Tour|
|Exposition:||View from The Great Tower without The Chapel of The Holy Cross|
|Duration of the tour:||30 – 40 minutes|
|Capacity:||maximum 20 people on a single visit|
|Booking:||reservation not necessary|
It used to be quite chilly in the chambers of the castle. The walls are up to seven meters wide (e.g. in the Great tower), so the summer is not strong enough to warm the inside of the castle. Wood was used as thermal insulation and its five hundred years old fragments are to be seen in Courtier hall (Dvořenínská síň) of the Emperor’s palace. The way how the panel wainscoting looked can be seen in the reconstructed Audience chamber. Local ceiling was decorated by golden buttons. To this chamber Charles IV invited business and personal visitors. He used to sit between the windows to be able to see his visitor’s faces, while they couldn’t guess his expression in the blinding light.
Charles IV had his ancestors painted on the walls in the main conference hall of the Emperor’s palace. The original fresco paintings were in the 17th and 18th century replaced by the paintings of Charles relatives on his mother’s side. At those times the Turks were conquering Europe and for local people they became a symbol of paganism. This myth also influenced a painter, who portrayed the legendary pagan rulers (for instance Praotec Čech or Přemysl Oráč) in Turkish clothing. By doing so he wanted to point out that these non-Christian rulers preferred amusement over reason. The furnishings of the Banqueting hall let us know that these large banquets weren’t forgotten with the arrival of Christianity. Side by side we can find gothic forks, bowls and so called “flute goblets” as well as kutrolfs. The gothic glasses were decorated with plastic ornaments, so they would not slip from nobles’ greasy hands.
In the bedroom of Charles IV we may find St Catherine bowing to the emperor, or to be more specific - her statue. This place of the house was emperor’s favorite. Rumor has it that it helped him win his first battle. For this he remained loyal to the God wherever his royal duties took him. He also always brought along instruments for a prayer on his journeys. One of these was an easily foldaway altar, which is these days exhibited in the forementioned chamber. To get a picture of the medieval hygiene we can visit the deanery of the castle. The small well niche is a prevet – a toiled in the olden days. The filth used to fall from the height straight under the castle onto its surroundings. So there is no doubt about the origin of the saying: “Keep further away, just further away from the castle!” ;)
Within the chambers of the Mariánská tower many treasures are hidden. Along with a replica of the St Wenceslas’ crown lie pieces of ancient armor used by St Wenceslas. The glass of the display case also shelters gemstones and a skull of a crocodile. In medieval times the skull was considered to be one of a dragon that had been killed by St George. However the worthiest of all for ordinary people were playing cards and a chessboard along with chess-men. All that is left of other half a millennium old board games can be seen in the deanery.
The Great tower with its seven meters wide walls is a dominant of Karlštejn. It is surrounded by separate fortifications, which leave us with no wonder why it has never been conquered. On the second floor lies the most beautiful part of the castle – the Chapel of St Cross. It is also the place where the crown jewels of the Holy Empire were placed as well as later the ones of the Crown Lands of Bohemia. The chronicler from the Carolinian era Beneš Krabice stated: “There is no castle or chapel of such precious art creation in the whole world”. The walls of the Chapel are decorated with a golden belt inset with burnished gemstones. The faces of vaults provide sanctuary to one hundred and twenty nine paintings. On these works of art Master Theodorik captured “The Whole Army of Heaven “, which was supposed to protect the treasure. The Portraits of the saints, popes, bishops, knights and the Christian mentors are illuminated by the artificial night sky. Over their heads on the golden vaults glitter stars made of Venice glass.
Tour 3 includes the 3rd, 4th and 5th floor of the Great Tower without the Chapel of the Holy Cross
Open from 1st May 2013till 30th September 2013
Max. 20 visitors in group, reservation not necessary
Exteriors of the Upper castle behind the Third Gate
Walk around the fortification system of the castle with beautiful view to the landscape and possibility of taking pictures which are not possible in the interiors.