Karlštejn, Central Bohemia, Aug 24 (CTK) – An extensive reconstruction of the medieval Karlštejn Castle near Prague for more than 150 million crowns started today, with PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) and Culture Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) present.
Within the project, the Imperial Palace and the Castle Burgrave’s Residence will be reconstructed. Besides, new display rooms and a modern visitors’ centre will be built at Karlštejn.
The castle should remain open to the public during the reconstruction, but some parts may be temporarily closed.
The originally 14th-century Karlštejn is one of the most visited heritage sites in the Czech Republic, Zaoralek said today. He added that he expected the castle to be an even more accommodating and pleasant site for visitors after the reconstruction.
Babiš noted that the castle founder, Charles IV, the King of Bohemia and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was the greatest Czech whom no one would ever overcome, in his opinion.
National Heritage Institute (NPU) director Nada Goryczkova said Karlštejn was an iconic heritage site, but it had been “exploited” in the past years. Now time has come to return to the castle what it is giving to its visitors, she added.
The castle suffers from hidden problems as well as a high number of visitors.
The aim of the reconstruction project is the renewal of the premises that are in the state of dilapidation, such as the ground-floor, basement and cellar of the Imperial Place, the arcade annex, a cellar in the rock and the eastern part of the burgrave’s seat where the visitors’ centre will be built.
Moreover, the vegetable garden in the southern area between two defensive walls and the engineering networks must be renovated.
The reconstruction is partially paid from European funds.
The Gothic Karlštejn Castle, founded by Charles IV in 1348 and completed in 1365, was to serve as a shrine for holy relics and the imperial coronation jewels.
It is one of the most popular heritage sites in the country. Last year, it welcomed some 215,000 visitors.
A total of 268,000 people visited Karlštejn within the celebrations of the 700th birth anniversary of Charles IV in 2016.