Looking up from the Village
A fourty minute train ride from Prague is Castle Karlstejn. The lonely planet guide mentioned fairy tale, and it lived up to the description. Perching on the top of a hill, looming over a village, with flags rustling in the wind. I've never seen a castle as picturesque, though Warwick Castle England was very impressive.
The castle was built in the 14th century, and was home to Charles IV, and his 4 wives. For 200Kc (£4) a tour takes you around most of the castle, unfortunately for us, the Chapel of the Holy Rood is closed to visitors except in July - September. The guided tour around the inhabited part was impressive enough.
So things I remember:
Being a princess/queen was not all it that it is cut out to be. Lots of child bearing and dying young, no matter how beautiful they were. Three of Charles IV's wives died, one in child birth another falling from a horse, the third I've forgotten.
Defend the inner parts of your castle by having clockwise spiral staircases up to the further parts of the castle, with steep steps. The invading troops have heavy armour and have to fight left
The wooden bridge
The old saying about don't burn your bridges dosen't apply in this case.
The defences of this castle were obvious, probably due to restoration, the inhabitants in the event of seige could retreat to the main tower, with 3-7m thick walls, burning the wooden bridge once everyone is safe in the tower. Inside 6 months food and water were stored.
The castle withstood attacks several times including from the Swedish empire in the 16th century.
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