Karlstejn, Czech Republic, Sept 2008

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Karlstejn Castle, near Prague, tower from below

Karlstejn Castle was founded in 1348, and has a unique position among Czech castles. It was built by Czech King and Roman Emperor Charles IV as a place for safekeeping of the royal treasures, especially Charles's collection of holy relics and the coronation jewels of the Roman Empire.

The castle was reconstructed in late Gothic style after 1480 and in Renaissance style in the last quarter of the 16th century. The present appearance of the castle comes from the last reconstruction, which was carried out in the purist neo-Gothic style by architect Josef Mocker at the end of the 19th century. Very impressive is the original step-like order of buildings. From the Well tower and Burgrave's palace located as the lowest you walk up to the majestic five-storied Imperial palace and further up towards the Marian tower. And finally at the top of the headland stands the monumental 60m high and separately fortified Great tower.

Karlstejn Castle also houses original wall paintings dating back to the 14th century, a collection of 129 panel paintings by Master Theodoric in the Chapel of the Holy Cross (the world largest if its kind), the largest portrait gallery of Czech rulers in the country, exhibited replica of St. Wenceslas crown - the coronation crown of the Czech Kings as well as the unique castle well.

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Walkway up to castle

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Courtyard of Castle

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Overview of castle

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Tour of Castle Museum

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Tour of castle

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Tour of castle

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Bell tower

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Overview of castle

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Castle looms over the town

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Castle looms over the town

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