The exposition of wax figurines under Karlstejn reminds us partly of the prestigious Madame Tussauds and partly of the horror House of wax figurines. Apart from well known rulers, generals, artists from Czech and foreign history we may also find an executioner, rat catcher and hants – Ladies in White.
|daily||10:00 – 16:00|
Note: Opening times are seasonally adjusted to the opening times of the castle. Up-to-date information on the phone number: +420 311 681 226.
|Adults||100 Kč / 4 EUR|
|Children, Students, Retired||70 Kč / 3 EUR|
|Family entrance fee (2 adults + maximum 2 children)||270 Kč / 11 EUR|
|School groups||40 Kč / 1,5 EUR|
Address: Karlštejn 173, 267 18
Phone, fax: +420 311 681 226
The museum tour begins with an “adult” kaleidoscope. A toy for children which uses a plastic tube opens the infinite world of fantasy. It then changes into a masterful show for anyone of any age. The imaginary ball, reflecting jewels of Czech rulers, architectural sights and fresh nature is over seventy meter high. It was constructed using back projection and a large number of mirrors.
Rat catcher – a medieval musician used to play to working craftsmen. It may have been carpenters, varlets, archers or potters. All dressed in medieval fashion and surrounded with wooden walls of their own workshops. Historical tools are hanging on the walls. No one would believe that they are made from wax. While the glassmaker breathes out in a prepared form of a glass vessel, the steelyard stamps with a single impact a double-sided coin. By the way, a steelyard from flesh-and-blood can be found every day in the courtyard of Karlstejn.
From the darkness of the corner you can see the executioner blinking at you, so you tremble unwittingly. Medieval punishments are beyond imagination for a modern democrat. The delinquents were denounced, slashed and strapped. They could also have their ears, tongue, legs and arms cut or even be burned with humiliating stigmas. The shortest way towards death was the gallows. The hant and the jailor watch over the suffering prisoners trapped here.
There is one person that cannot be absent in the Karlstejn museum – the founder of the castle. For the king would not get bored, a traditionally dressed fool is entertaining him. His funny pieces are also watched by all his four wives: Blanka of Valois, Anna Falcká, Anna Svídnická and Alžběta Pomořanská. The last of the mentioned is famous for her incredible strength. Rumor has it that she could bend iron rods with her bare hands. We can also estimate her great stamina from the fact that she gave birth to six healthy children.
Rudolph II silently gives a nod to his most talented artists. The astronomer Tycho de Brahe with an artificial nose creates a model of the solar system. In this one everything revolves around Earth. The Hebrew Jehuda Löw is working on a huge clay Golem. Edward Kelleym (represented at the exhibition by his mythical Sirael) is welding everything you can imagine to create gold. It is said that when he was burning plums he invented plum brandy.
Some time passes until we finally realize that the rough music of simple people has now changed into classical music. We can see Maria Theresa, Napoleon or Franc Joseph being almost about to leave the show cabinets decorated with heavy curtains and golden furniture. In the last hall of the exposition we may find an extraordinary congregation. President Beneš with a broken arm stands next to the presidents Masaryk and Havel. A gathering of artists stands nearby with most importantly Dvořák and Smetana. And all these are watched over by Mother Theresa. In a little armchair sits smiling Švejk and the last goodbye is given to us by waving Forefather Czech. It was the final ancestor who once stood on the hill Říp. There he found for us this “place rich with wood melick”, a place where we now live. This symbolically concludes the tour over the most important personalities not only of Czech history.