The royal castle of Bezděz, founded in 1264 by the “Iron & Gold king” Přemysl Otakar II, is one of our most important Gothic monuments. In the medieval period it became famous as a prison for the penultimate Přemyslid king, Wenceslas II. In the Baroque period, when the castle was used as a Benedictine monastery, it was a destination for many devout pilgrims and finally in the 19th century the abandoned Bezděz became an attraction for romantic souls, among them the famous Czech poet and writer Karel Hynek Mácha. Today’s visitors can view the royal palace and chapel with many architectural details of the High Gothic, as well as the Burgrave’s palace and other parts of the castle, including the Great Tower with its Knight’s Hall on the top floor, offering a unique panoramic view of the surroundings – not only the nearby Mácha Lake and Ještěd hill, but in good visibility also the peaks of the Krkonoše (Giant) Mountains and sometimes even the spire of St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle (with a pair of binoculars). In peak season tours at the castle are enlivened by fencing displays.