Czech Castles. Czech Republic
Shrouded in a veil of mystery and legends, the Czech castles draw people from all over the world with the promise of revealing their closely held secrets. Who can resist the temptation of exploring the structures with such an eventful past? Past that reflects in everything you lay your eyes on, ghost voices whispering about conspiracy, deception, treachery, life-changing moral and political decisions, dreams and hopes of people who once lived and died there.
Situated approximately 33 km (20.5 miles) southwest of Prague, the Karlstejn Castle is the most beautiful as well as visited castle in the country. Sightseers and photographers from all over the globe flock to the area in order to enjoy the fine view from the top of the castle’s tower. The unearthly beauty of the scenery leaves everyone stunned to the point where they cease listening to what the guide is telling and just stand soaking up the beauty and charm of the place. The castle once served as a royal residence as well as a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia and the Czech crown jewels. Rumor has it that they were kept in the intricately decorated Chapel of the Holy Cross.
The other castles in the country belonged to the aristocracy. Among the oldest is the castle of Cesky Sternberk, founded in the XIII century. The structure obtained its current appearance through numerous modifications, each owner adding new elements to the façade and the interior. The castle looks like a museum: vintage furniture, hunting trophies, rich ornaments. However, only a part of it is open to the public. The closed section is occupied by the castle’s current owner and his family members. Maybe, that is why the atmosphere of the place is somewhat homey. It feels like visiting old friends who are more than eager to share stories from their ancestors’ past.
Each Czech castle has its own appeal. Konopiste Castle, for example, is famous for its collection of weapons and hunting trophies. The place once served as the residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, whose assassination triggered World War I.
The Melnik Chateau is famous for its bewildering diversity of grape varieties and wines. The owners of the castle have been producing and exporting wines since the XIV century. The Ludmila wine, named after St. Ludmila, is well known all around the world.
The town of Ceske Budejovice has two main attractions – the Budweiser Budvar brewery and the Hluboká Castle. The castle with its intricately decorated façade and rich interior leaves everyone who sees it breathless. It’s hard to resist the temptation of taking a few photographs of the surrounding beauty: baroque furniture, awesome tapestries, sculptures, paintings and mirrors just beg to be captured. Rumor has it that there is a magic mirror in the castle. Anyone who looks in it will preserve his or her beauty till his or her dying day.
The Český Krumlov Castle was founded in the XIII century. The oldest sections of the castle are built in the neo-gothic style, while the rest of the structure belongs to the Renaissance. Thousands of tourists flock to the town in order to catch a glimpse of the castle’s spectacular Masquerade Hall and the Raincoat (Mantel) Bridge. The Masquerade Hall is famous for its murals. Stepping into the hall feels like entering a crowded ballroom where couples never cease dancing. The paintings look so real you can almost hear the people chatting, singing, laughing… Amazing feeling!