Karlstejn is probably the most famous Czech castle. Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charles IV. founded it in 1348. The castle was built on a protected and strategic place that was safe for keeping Bohemian coronation jewels and relics in the Holy Rood Chapel (Kaple svateho krize). The chapel decorated by 127 pictures of saints by Master Theodoricus is a unique example of Czech Gothic. A picture on altar is a masterpiece of paintor Tomas of Modena. Walls of the chapel are covered with gems and Venetian glass adorns its ceiling. Virgin Mary Church and St. Catharine Chapel (Kaple svate Kateriny), a favourite saint of Charles IV., are situated in a lower tower. Burgrave’s House, reconstructed between years 1520 and 1530, belongs to the castle too. Karlstejn was never conquered. Architect J. Mocker reconstructed it in Neogothic style in the 19th century. Dense woods of hilly area around the castle can remember wild hunts of royal retinue. Nowadays it is very convenient for walks. It’s said about the castle that women were not allowed to enter the castle because a praying emperor could be distracted by them.
Konopiste was built as a castle in the first half of the 14th century. Then it was reconstructed in the 16th and the 17th century. A triumphal arch decorated by statues by M. Braun came into being thanks to earl Jan J. Vrba in the 18th century when the Baroque outlook of the palace was changed into Neogothic. Its owners were e.g. Albrecht of Valdstejn, a powerful noble and a member of Hapsburg dynasty who lived during the Thirty-year War, duke Frantisek Ferdinand d’Este. A vast park and gardens surround the palace and bears inhabit a moat.
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