The Museum of Nativity Scenes is located at Karlštejn Square. The ground floor houses a fine collection of Czech historical wood-carved nativity scenes, accompanied by nativity scenes made of rare materials such as wax, sugar or bread. For children, there are several mechanical nativity scenes they can start themselves.
The attic hides the most spectacular item – the Karlštejn Royal Crèche. It is the most extensive puppet nativity scene in the Czech Republic, covering 80 sq m. Altogether, there are 46 wooden puppets dressed in period costumes set against the several-metre high backdrop of Karlštejn Castle. Ten of the most important Czech monarchs bring gifts to the Christ Child, headed by Charles IV, presenting him with Karlštejn Castle as a gift.
The lowest section of the house comprises two floors of Baroque cellars, housing a permanent exhibition on the history of winemaking at Karlštejn and the Cellar Exhibition Hall. Children’s attention in the cellars is most attracted by the mysterious figure of the White Lady, whose somewhat morbid story relates to the history of Karlštejn Castle (see the section What you might not know …).
The aroma of gingerbread has been inseparable from the Karlštejn surroundings for years. Visitors can usually admire freshly baked gingerbread nativity scenes from the beginning of Advent until the Epiphany in our museum. If some last longer, visitors can still see them later in the year. Before Christmas, they can look forward to new ones. The gingerbread artist Julie Chadimová, who has been cooperating with the museum since the beginning, has also organised two very successful exhibitions at the museum over the years.
Visitors to the museum’s outdoor area can enjoy a surprising moving alchemist’s workshop from the reign of Emperor Rudolph II. Several alchemists demonstrate their experiments to the monarch in the darkened interior, and visitors can peek over their shoulders as they work.
Although the official date of the museum’s foundation is August 1995, the history of the collection that gave rise to the museum is much longer. The museum was founded by Ladislav Trešl, a significant folk art enthusiast. His passion for folk art has made it possible to furnish the three floors of the Baroque house not only with the exhibited nativity scenes but also with period furniture, wood carvings, paintings, reverse glass paintings, and folk pottery.
We look forward to your visit and hope you will enjoy your stay.