Castle was built to house the imperial coronation jewels, St. Wenceslas crown, holy relics and other royal treasures.
Order Tour Code: C SW1
This famous 14th century castle was built as a
place of safekeeping of the coronation jewels of
the Holy Roman Emperors, the royal treasures,
the holy relics, especially the spear of Destiny.
It is closed from the 2nd week of January and in February. The
Chapel of the Holy Cross is possible to see after a reservation in
advance from June until October. It is possible to add a 1-hour
supplement to the trip by visiting this Chapel.
4-5 HOUR ROUND TRIP
Karlstejn castle is regarded as the apex of collaboration between the famous architect Petr Parler and the Holy Roman Emperor and the Bohemian king Charles IV, though construction began under Matthew of Arras. It is known colloquially as the "Czech Montsalvat" , after the legendary castle of the Holy Grail, but it is named after Charles in the monarch´s honour. Karlstjen lies a top a steep , almost vertical rise, and is both imposing and majestic to see. It is one of the most esoterically interesting places in all of Bohemia, thanks to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which contains frescoes by the Czech Master Theodoric.
The spear of Destiny, a precious magical relic associated for centuries with many miracles in favor of its owners, was also in the possession of the Luxembourgs as imperial jewel number one.
When chronicles of that time made a list of imperial coronation jewels that were to be returned by the Bavarians after several years of withholding them, they always listed the spear as first.
Interestingly enough, the imperial crown, the cult of which was never that big in the Holy Roman Empire as e.g. in France or later on in Bohemia in the case of the St. Wenceslas Crown, was usually listed as fifth or sisxth.
For the most part, Charles IV kept the spear in a secret repository behind the alter of the Holy Cross Chapel at the castle Karlstejn.
Karlstejn castle, derived from the German name Karl and word stein (stone, or Czech tyn, tejn - fortress) , was
designed by the order of Charles IV as the castle of the Holy Grail, a stone that, like the Spear, bears the secret of the blood of Christ. Similarly to St. Wenceslas´s chapel at St. Vitus´s Cathedral in Prague, the Holy Cross Chapel, with its geometrical design and walls encristed with twelve types of precious stones from the Revelation of St. John, is a model of the Celestial Jerusalem.
Charles IV added a spike from the cross of Jesus Christ to the two original parts of Longinus´s spear, drawing them together with a golden sleeve with the inscription "LACEA ET CLAVUS DOMINI" (from Latin: The spear and spike of the Lord) . His subjects had an apportunity to see the spear, as well as other relics of holy men and those of the crucifixion of Christ at Golgotha, once a year in the wooden Church of the Holy Body in Prague (it doesn´t exist any more), a place which in the design of the city represented te Solomon Temple of the Celestial Jerusalem. In the second half of the 14th century, people from the entire empire would come to the church to see the coronation jewels each year during the week following Easter.
According to legends, Longinus´s spear, the Spear of Destiny, has a great magical power. He who owns it hlods the destiny of mankind in his hands. Charles IV added a spike from the cross of Jesus Christ to the two original parts of Longinus´s spear, drawing them together with a golden sleeve with the isncription "The Spear and Spike of the Lord". These relics are now in Hofburg, Vienna, however their authenticity is rather questionable.
A Gothic castle built by Emperor Charles IV in the years 1348 – 1357 to house relics and imperial, later also Czech coronation jewels.
In the interiors - the Chapel of the Virgin Mary and St. Catherine´s Chapel with precious frescos are preserved in their original appearance.
In the large tower the Chapel of the Holy Rood ,consecrated in 1365 , adorned with pictures of saints by Master Theodorik. A collection
of 127 panels with semi-figures of saints, female saints, angels and prophets is the most valuable part to see in the castle , but booking ahead is necessary .
The outer walls of the castle are six meters and the inner walls are two meters thick.
The panorama of the castle is impressive.
The castle is open to the public every day except Mondays.
It is closed from the 10th of January until the end of February.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross (Root) is possible to see only in from the 1st of June until the end of October after the reservation in advance.
SW from Prague, about 45 minutes
1)Karlstejn castle trip number CSW1 – 4-5 hour round trip