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© Libor Sváček, archiv CzechTourism

North Bohemia

Charles’s Castle

Charles’s Castle

The Bezděz castle, nicknamed the “King of Czech Castles” has been preserved in a unique Gothic style. From the towers and battlements, one may admire the peaks of České středohoří, Lužice Mountains and the majestic mountain of Ještěd. The castle was founded by the Czech King Ottokar II and was a favourite place of Emperor Charles IV.

Bezděz can be rightly called “Charles’s Castle”, as Emperor Charles IV spent a lot of time here. Perhaps he was reflecting on the fate of his royal grandfather Wenceslas II., who was imprisoned here as a child. He certainly gave a lot of thought to developing the surrounding area: In 1366 he founded the nearby “Big Pond”, today known as Mácha’s Lake, a perfect place to relax and enjoy water sports, delicious cuisine and nightlife. Later, the Czech military leader Albrecht of Wallenstein had the castle converted into a Benedictine monastery which became a pilgrimage site devoted to the Virgin Mary. For centuries, the stories about treasures hidden at the castle have attracted romantic souls, such as the poet K. H. Mácha. The world-known composer Bedřich Smetana composed his opera “Tajemství” (The Mystery) according to a libretto inspired by the myths about Bezděz.

You should also visit the nearby town of Doksy, today a tourist centre that was once granted a wide range of rights and privileges by Charles IV. In the surroundings of the town of Turnov, the heart of the unique region called Bohemian Paradise, you can visit several romantic ruins of ancient castles from the times of Charles IV. You certainly should not miss the castle of Trosky, situated on a rock of volcanic origin, consisting of two towers called “Panna” (Maiden) and “Baba” (Old Woman). Set off for a journey through the countryside around the monumental Bezděz castle, the location of many legends, and enjoy its unique atmosphere, reminiscent of the famous era of the Holy Roman Emperor and Bohemian King.

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