The Royal Crèche

  • A Karlštejn fairy tale combining history, legends, and fictional stories,
  • History brought to life through motion on an area of 80 sqm,
  • Puppets wearing Gothic-style costumes,
  • Saint Wenceslas, Master Theodoric, Charles IV, Rudolph II, Maria Theresa… – Rulers, saints, and famous personalities bring gifts to the Christ Child.

The most spectacular item, the Royal Crèche, is hidden in the attic space. It is the most extensive puppet nativity scene in the Czech Republic, covering 80 sqm. 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.

Visitors ascend a narrow staircase decorated with Gothic-style paintings to the attic with permanently installed moving Royal Crèche, separated from the surrounding area by a partition wall decorated in the Gothic style.

Spread over 80 square metres, there is a several-metre-long scenery of Karlštejn Castle and the adjacent surroundings with the local church of St. Palmatius, populated with half-metre-high puppets dressed in historical costumes. You can see the winemaker bringing a giant grape directly from the Karlštejn vineyards to the Christ Child, Bušek of Velhartice tasting the Karlštejn wine, which seems bitter at first, Master Theodoric painting the Madonna, a knightly duel fought in honour of the lady waving to the heroes from the castle window, or the White Lady walking along the castle walls, and other events.

Ten of the most famous Czech monarchs form part of the story, bringing gifts to the Christ Child characteristic of their personalities and times – Charles IV presents Karlštejn Castle, Rudolph II an astronomical instrument, and Maria Theresia jewellery. The line of monarchs ends by T.G. Masaryk, who offers a map of the then Czechoslovak Republic to the Christ Child. The storyline interweaves historical events, legends and fictional stories in a rare coincidence.

The impressive set is enhanced by the narration of the Karlštejn fairy tale and music from Smetana’s symphonic poem My Fatherland. Everything is in motion until the final bell ringing that concludes the entire show.