Imagine the only way some invaders think they can get into your castle is by flinging cartloads of human excrement and dead bodies over the walls? But yet, you carry on, defending the keep even though you're wading waste deep in crap. That's the stuff legends are made of. Legends of Karlstejn, that is.

My wife’s cousin recently came to visit, which meant we had to go along the tourist route around town again. No big deal, but this one included loads of shopping and yet another visit to Karlstejn (pronounced Karl-shtein), the massive, scenic fortress that sits about 45 minutes south of Prague and protected the treasures of kings and emperors.

a view from the castle

A bit of history

Karlstejn was built in the mid-14th century by the guy responsible for building most everything famous in Prague, Emperor Charles IV, King of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Empire. If there were other Holy Roman Emperors, that fact would be entirely irrelevant in the history of Prague, and I wonder if Czechs could even name other Holy Roman Emperors, since it seems that every building you point at had something to do with Charles IV and no one else. Seriously, did Rudolf or Frederick the Redbeard never build anything around here?

a bed fit for kings, but never used