A3 - Nižbor Glassworks & Karlštejn Castle

Trip Length: Half-day (5.5 - 6 h)  

Central Bohemia: Glassworks & Medieval Castle and Its Frescoes

Description: The history of Rückl Glassworks began in the mid-19th century. In the Rückl family, the craft of glassmaking has been passed down from generation to generation since the 17th century, when the family arrived in Bohemia from Switzerland. Jiří Rückl, one of the family members, proposed a successful privatization project in 1992 and bought off the glassworks. Today, the company produces a wide variety of lead crystal products, such as stemware, vases, carafes, candy dishes and perfume bottles. The tour begins at the glass smelting kilns, where master glassmakers show their art. The shapeless ball of molten glass is hand-blown, transformed into elegant shapes, and made into products intended for export around the world. Then, we can truly admire the craft of the crystal glass cutters. Using nothing but a rough network of outlines, they can engrave the most amazingly complex patterns. After the tour, enjoy a visit to the factory store where we can buy some of this delicate beauty at discounted prices.

The Karlštejn Castle is hidden among rolling green hills and fields near Prague. Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, founded it in the 14th century at a time when the Czech Kingdom was undergoing great societal development. Despite its Neo-Gothic reconstruction, the castle remains a majestic witness to its times. As the name “Karlstein” (Charles’ Stone) suggests, this castle was meant to be special - its three-tier construction is the expression of the Medieval symbolic understanding of the universe. Valuable frescoes remain in most of the castle. Charles IV executed his daring dream, building the Holy Cross chapel as a safe for the crown jewels of the Czech Kingdom and Roman Empire, and for the holy relics that Charles IV eagerly collected. The Holy Cross chapel in the upper part of the keep is an exceptionally beautiful example of Medieval art – paintings representing ‘the army or holy patrons’, created by Charles’ court painter Theodoric of Prague, continue to astonish viewers with their originality, even six centuries later. The semi-precious stones and gold used for wall decorations in this exceptional space contribute to Karlštejn’s powerful impression.

The Karlštejn Castle offers two different tours:
  • Tour 1 – Duration: 60 minutes. The typical tour offered by most travel agencies, covers the historic interiors of the Imperial Palace and St. Mary’s Tower, all equipped with furniture and artifacts from 14th-19th century. The tour is available May through November daily except Mondays,and on some off-seasonweekends. In July and August Mondays are included.Entry fee: 270 / 180 CZK.
  • Tour 2 – duration: 100 minutes. The tour covers the east wing of the Imperial Palace with the most impressive interiors of St. Mary’s Tower and the keep, decorated with medieval frescoes. The pinnacle of the tour is the visit to the Holy Cross chapel. This is an exceptional tour that is always organized in small groups and based on prior reservation. You will enter the sacred spaces formerly accessible only to the Emperor and the Archbishop. The chapel itself is one of the most beautiful examples of Central European medieval art. The tour is available March through November, daily except Mondays. In July and August Mondays are included. Entry fee: 300 / 200 CZK.

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Thank you Jana for the excellent tour of Prague Castle and Jewish Quarter! You are the best! I enjoyed all the history you have shared. I also appreciate your flexibility during the lunch break. Thank you for being so gracious and hospitable! (Joseph D. Tariman; USA) * Thank you, Jana, for your wonderful history lessons. I wish I could remember all that you told us. You were a great guide. Best wishes. (Joan Welsh; Great Britain) * My wife and I made a a tailor made trip to Central Europe last Year that Prague Arts organized for Us. It was a wonderful experience. Everthing was excellent, more than expected. JANA was was either with Us or in close touch with Us to make sure everthing was going on as planned. (Jaime Benítez and Elvia, México) * On behalf of the Nursing Students of DePaul University, Chicago, we would like to thank-you for our wonderful guided tour through Prague Castle, Strahov Monastery, and the Jewish Quarter. You are so knowledgeable regarding so many areas: art, architecture, history, literature, and more-we learned so much! Likewise, we appreciated your advice on area restaurants and other exhibits, as well. We are most grateful for your expertise and can highly recommend you for other groups desiring a most competent and knowledgeable English-speaking guide.(Linda A. Graf, USA) * We also have just returned from a magical trip to Prague and having the use of Prague Arts Tour. Jana was an exceptional tour guide who made our trip to Prague all that more interesting and informative. After the tour we felt quite at home and we were able to explore the city with a firm understanding of the history of the city that we received from Jana. Prague Arts Tour and Jana are spot on. Thanks again Jana. (Margo and Guy from Canada) * Last September we toured the main cities of Central Europe with a bilingual group from Canada. During two weeks, Jana guided us through the different cities and buildings sharing with us her vast knowledge of art, history and daily life in her part of the world. We found her to be very professional at all times and eager to make sure everyone questions and worries were answered. She was flexible to the demands of the group and always tried to please everyone. She communicated clearly the daily activities in both languages and made us feel safe at all times. Jana's greatest asset is her love for her job and as a result she paints for you a picture of the beauty, opulence and the grandeur of these imperial cities. Her passion and professionalism made it all worthwhile. Thank you Jana. (Lise and Frank Loiocano; Canada)