The fairytale-like town of Charles IV
Travel to the medieval town of Loket situated in a meander of the river Ohře, with its uniquely preserved centre and monumental castle, visited many times by the Holy Roman Emperor and Bohemian King Charles IV. Its picturesque streets with original restaurants and cafés also enchanted the poet J. W. Goethe, the “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck and the American actor Richard Gere.
Loket will remind you of traditional fairytales. Its romantic castle with a rectangular tower above the river Ohře hosted many Bohemian Kings. In medieval times it was an impregnable fortress and was therefore nicknamed the “Key to the Bohemian Kingdom”. Charles IV knew the castle very well, because his father John of Luxembourg had him imprisoned there as a child. Despite this, Loket became one of his favourite residences. At the Loket castle you may admire a well-preserved cellar and knights’ chambers, unique porcelain from Karlovy Vary and the cells of a former state prison. Also on show is the largest preserved part of the meteorite called “Bewitched Burgrave”, whose fragments can moreover be seen in Prague, Vienna, New York, Berlin, Ottawa and Moscow.
During the Loket Cultural Summer, you can attend the amphitheatre to see a unique performance of Rusalka (Water Nymph), the world-famous opera by Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. Well worth attending are the series of organ concerts in St. Wenceslas Church and the grape harvest is also of interest. In the Black Tower you can see an exhibition of historical photographs of this lively town situated in the most important Czech spa region.
Loket is a fantastic place to relax – wander around the town walls and along the banks of the river Ohře, or take a hiking trip to the Svatošské Rocks, mentioned in many legends about elves, watermen and other mysterious creatures. Courageous visitors may try water sports. If you miss the busy city life, visit nearby Karlovy Vary, a world-famous spa town founded by Charles IV, who discovered its thermal mineral springs while hunting in the woods.