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© Ladislav Renner, archiv CzechTourism

West Bohemia

Treasures of a mystical valley

Treasures of a mystical valley

In the valley of the river Ohře in north-west Bohemia, there is an unusual concentration of royal towns and castles whose fame is closely associated with Emperor Charles IV. Wander through the region between Litoměřice, Kadaň, Karlovy Vary and Cheb, Charles IV’s favourite route, and taste regional specialities including local wine and beer, or stop to have a rest in one of the spa towns established by Charles IV.

In medieval times, a busy commercial route ran through the valley of the river Ohře, frequently used by the Emperor during his travels between Prague and Nuremberg. He often stayed in the nearby royal towns and castles, enjoying the hospitality and care of his subjects. Follow in the footsteps of the Emperor leading through the river valley surrounded by the peaks of České středohoří, Doupovské vrchy, Krušné Mountains and Slavkovský les, allow yourself to be pampered in friendly hotels, guest houses and restaurants and live and feast like the beloved King.

Enjoy the grape harvests in the medieval scenery among ancient temples and houses of Litoměřice and Kadaň, or the beer festivals in Žatec and Louny.

The river Ohře will lead you up to the world-famous spa town of Karlovy Vary, founded around 1350 and promoted to a town around 1370 by Charles IV. Not very far away is the medieval town of Bečov nad Teplou and its castle with the mysterious reliquary of St. Maurus. The ancient monastery in Teplá offers peaceful refuge along with the opportunity to taste special local dishes.

Charles IV’s legacy is also present in Kynšperk nad Ohří which he promoted to a town in 1364. The final destination of our journey is the ancient royal town of Cheb, also frequently visited by the Emperor, with its captivating castle and Black Tower as well as the mysterious Romanesque Chapel of St. Erhard and Ursula. Also remarkable are the Gothic church of St. Nicolas, the church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the church of St. Bartholomew. In the streets of Cheb you may reflect on the life of Charles IV or the famous military leader Albrecht von Wallenstein, who was assassinated here in 1634. Due to the high concentration of medieval castles, the area along the river Ohře is sometimes compared with the German Rhineland. The picturesque Budyně near Litoměřice was once captured by John of Luxembourg, Charles IV’s father. In the surroundings of Kadaň there are several ruins of castles associated with Charles IV – Hasištejn, Egerberk, Perštejn, Horní Hrad and many others.

In the area of Cheb, you can admire the romantic ruins of the Kynžvart castle, which Charles IV had torn down in 1347 and you simply cannot miss the Ostroh castle and the village of Skalná (with the Wildstein castle), with expositions that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike.

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