Let us introduce you the best sights of Czech republic
The capital of the Czech Republic is our most valuable urban conservation area. In 1992 the historical core of the city covering 866 hectares was listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Register. Prague was also one of the nine cities awarded by the European Community the title of European City of Culture for the year 2000. Golden Prague, Magical Prague, Prague, the city of hundred spires, Poetic Prague - these are just a few of the many attributes that Prague has merited. While the Czech Republic lies in the heart of Europe, Prague is its soul.
Since the very beginning, Prague has always played an important role in the history of the nation, country and Europe. Since the Middle Ages, Prague has been known as one of the most beautiful cities of the world, and has been attributed adjectives such as "golden", "city of hundred spires", "the crown of the world", "a stone dream". Throughout centuries, prominent personalities paid homage to it. W. A. Mozart, L. van Beethoven, F. M. Dostoyevsky, A. Rodin, G. Apollinaire, P. I. Tchaikovsky, O. Kokoschka as well as the British Queen Elizabeth II and Pope John Paul II professed their beguilement by its attractiveness and architectural beauty. Writers and poets, such as Jan Neruda, Jaroslav Hasek, Jaroslav Seifert, Franz Kafka, Max Brod and Egon Erwin Kisch featured their home town in their works.
Prague is an amazing blend of many architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau, as well as Cubism and modern architecture. They all merge into a surprisingly harmonious mixture. Prague's Baroque and Cubist buildings are quite unique.
The greatest attraction amongst these architectural and artistic treasures is the majestic compound of Prague Castle with St.Vitus' Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, St.George's Basilica and Convent, and the Golden Lane. In the vicinity of the castle is the Loreto Church and Treasury containing a priceless collection of church monstrances, jewelled goblets and golden robes. The nearby Strahov Monastery offers a tour of one of the most impressive historic libraries in Europe. Its valuable collection of more than 130,000 old books and manuscripts dating back as far as the 10th century is displayed in lavishly designed rooms.
For many tourists, a walk along the King's Way has become one of the most unforgettable memories. The Way once connected Prague Castle with the Old Town (Stare Mesto), passing through the architectural gems of the Lesser Town (Mala Strana) and across the famous Charles Bridge decorated with 30 statues. The most remarkable sights of the Old Town are the picturesque Old Town Square with the Old Town Hall and its astronomical clock, the Tyn Church, the Powder Tower and the Bethlehem Chapel.
Another unique place is the former Jewish Ghetto, commemorating the life and work of Prague's Jewish Community throughout the centuries. The most famous sights are the Old Jewish Cemetery and the so-called Old-New Synagogue which is the oldest synagogue in Middle Europe. Prague also has its modern faces. Its Congress Centre hosted the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund in the year 2000; many of its hotels are a part of world-wide hotel chains (the total capacity in all types of accommodation facilities is 70 000 beds), and there is a wealth of luxury restaurants and shops, exhibition halls, galleries, theatres, museums and concert halls.
Prague, and only Prague, with its unforgettable atmosphere is the town, which can exceed all your expectations.
Cesky Krumlov – Historic Center
The first written record of Cesky Krumlov dates back to 1213 when Austrian and Styrian duke Otakar mentioned it at a residence of the Vitkovci family. In 1302 Krumlov became a property of Rozmberks and under Jindrich and Pert of Rozmberk it was granted the town status. The latter helped the town to acquire various privileges, construct several churches, monasteries and other buildings, while trades, business, cultural activities and general standards of education thrived. This period is viewed as the most prosperous one in the history of Cesky Krumlov. However, the prodigal life of the last Rozmberk, Petr Vok, made him to sell the domination to Emperor Rudolf II who passed it in 1622 to the Eggenbergs, later replaced by Schwarzenbergs. But the glorious days of Cesky Krumlov were gone and it gradually became rather a provincial town. Following the Munich Treaty it suffered from German occupation and after the Second World War Cesky Krumlov became a nearly forgotten town in the boarder zone, doomed to isolation. The historical buildings in the center suffered enormously from neglect. Although proclaimed a national heritage reservation in 1963, Cesky Krumlov could not escape its fate of disinterest in the reconstruction and development along the country’s boarder with the west.
Fortunately, the situation has changed with the new regime, and particularly since 1992, whet Cesky Krumlov was included into the UNESCO list of cultural and natural heritage. The unique complex of tree hundred historical houses and buildings and the country’s second largest (after Prague) castle complex attract to the town million visitors a year. They are able to witness rebirth of the "pearl of the Renaissance era", a nick name given to the town by history experts.
South Bohemian Folk architecture which can be admired in many villages in this charming fishpond country is probably best represented by the surviving brick houses, the finest examples of which are to be found in the picturesque village of Holasovice, 15 km west of Ceske Budejovice. Holasovice is a typical South Bohemian village with large village common and an uninterrupted row of brick farmsteads.
Folk architecture which in this particular place had been influenced by the Baroque and Empire styles has been known as the South Bohemian folk Baroque.
The atmosphere of the period is evoked by the large farmsteads which usually have two richly decorated gables connected by a vaulted gate with a small door. The gables have an undulated outline and many different stucco ornaments. Most of the houses have an oblong ground plan with the shorter side facing the village common. Holasovice was founded approximately in the 13 century. The village common, lined by 22 houses of a similar pattern and dating from the first two thirds of the 19th century, is one of the best preserved examples of folk architecture. The fishpond in the middle of village common, like most of the fishponds across this rich fishpond country, had been used for fish farming. The village with a long-standing folklore tradition had been selected as the location for the film version of Bedrich Smetana’s opera The Bartered Bride. It is a living example of the skills and feeling for beauty which had prevailed throughout the difficult times that Bohemian villages had to go through in the past century.
Kromeriz – Gardens and Chateau
The early medieval market village of Kromeriz which had since the start of the 12th century been the property of the Olomouc based bishops was elevated to the rank of town around the year 1260. The bishops set up their summer residence and the administration property belonging to the Olomouc diocese there. Added to the stately residence later were three churches, a chapter, and a several schools.
On a site where a farmstead has stood before a Gothic castle was built which later evolved into Renaissance strong hold. In the second half of the 17th century, after the Thirty Years’ War, the educated and wealthy bishop Karl Lichtenstein of Castelkorn managed to raise the town from ruins and built and Early Baroque residence there where he placed a collection of works by leading European painters and established a large library full of rare books. A mint was built outside the chateau where special coins and medals were minted.
Flower garden in baroque style was founded outside the town walls, and was landscaped by both Italian and local masters. In the middle of the garden, criss-crossed by path leading past flowerbeds, natural mazes, alleys of decorative shrubs and trees, and past fountains, an octagonal rotunda was erected, richly decorated with paintings and sculptures. One part of the garden terminates with a colonnade lined with statues. The Podzamecka garden, which had existed here from Renaissance times, was it the course of centuries rebuilt in the Romantic and Classical styles, and garden structures, waterways and rare trees were added to it. The chateau, rebuilt in its current appearance after a fire in 1752, was in late 1848 and early 1849 the venue of a parliament sessions which approved the first democratic Constitution in central Europe. Thought not implemented at its time it was an inspiring example for future. The chateau, its historical interiors, the picture gallery, library, sala terrena, Assembly and Vassal halls, together with the two gardens comprise a unique whole whose inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List only confirms the significance of Kromeriz’s major landmarks as part of the world’s cultural heritage.
Kutna Hora – Historic Center with St.Barnara’s Churc and Church of Our Lady in Sedlec
The old historical town of Kutna Hora was founded in the second half of the 13th century on an earlier mining settlement. In the Middle Ages the town was renowned for its silver mines whose wealth backed the power of Czech kings. Apart from wealth, silver mining brought to the town the status of the country’s second most important town after Prague.
In 1300 King Wenceslas II founded the mint Vlassky dvur which produced silver "Prague groschen" coins and granted to the town the right of mining – "Ius regale montanorum". In the 15th century Kutna Hora even became a residential town of Czech kings.
The population increased and the town prospered. The church of St. James was built in the first half of the 14th century and construction works on St. Barbora’s Church started after 1380. In the late Gothic period numerous rich patricians in the town built their representative residences.
Subsequent pronounced changes in Kutna Hora occurred only in the Baroque period when numerous outstanding architects, contractor and artist worked in the town. Coinage in the local mint ended in 1727. The town badly suffered from attacks by Swedes in 1640s. Unfortunately, attempts at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries to reopen the mines and revive the old mining glory failed.
In 1961 the historical center of Kutna hora was declared a national reservation and in 1995 it was included into the UNESCO cultural heritage list. The well-preserved historical character of the town is sure to offer a unique experience to its visitors.
Litomysl, the cultural and historical center on the Loucna River, was founded along the important commercial route connecting Bohemia and Moravia. The place was settled as early as at the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries and later granted town privileges in 1259. A bishop’s office was established in Litomysl in 1344, soon after the beginning of Prague archbishopric.
In the 14th century Litomysl experienced construction boom on the monastery hillock and below it during which appeared here numerous burgess houses. In 1520s this part of the town was destroyed by the Hussites and the bishop’s office ceased to exist. Later Litomysl became an important center of the Czech Brethren Church. Following the uprising of the Czech aristocracy the church was expelled from the town.
The Piarist order settled in Litomysl in 1641 and built here a school, college and church. The local castle from 1568 – 1584 is a Renaissance edifice, unique on the northern side of the Alps, with more than eight thousand graffito’s. Its small baroque theatre and amphitheater in the castle park offer concerts of varied genres. The castle complex includes a castle brewery, known as a birth place of famous Czech composer Bedrich Smetana. The town’s panorama dominated by spires of the Gothic church "Povyseni Sv. Krize" from the second half of the the 14th century and the Piarist church Nalezeni Sv.Krize (1714 – 1726). The square in Litomysl is one of the largest in country, with a town-hall of Gothic origin and with Renaissance and Baroque houses, many of them with arcades and vaulted ground-floor rooms. Among the most remarkable and oldest we should mention the house U Rytiru (Knights House) with a remarkable façade, now hosting a gallery. The center of Litomysl was declared a historical reservation in 1965.
The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc
The largest Baroque sculptural complex in our country is work of Vaclav Render and his successors, Vaclav Ignac, Jan Rokytsky and Ignac Scholz. 35-metre-high sculptural group was consecrated under the presence of Empress Maria Teresa in 1754.
The baroque spire came into being between the years 1716 and 1754 and is a document of the apparent religiosity of the bishop’s city at that time. The motifs of church triumphalism and faith combine with architectonic-artistic creativity. Thanks to the inclusion of the baroque spire amongst the monuments of the UNESCO world cultural heritage, the historical Moravian town has become known to the world at large. Olomouc used to be the capital of Moravia, the residence of the bishop from the year 1063 and is, after Prague, the second largest monument reserve. It unquestionably deserves the attention of visitors.
The most significant church building is the cathedral of St Wenceslas from 1109, rebuilt between 1883 and 1890 in neo-gothic style. In 1306 the last Premysl King, Wenceslas III, was murdered. Other significant buildings are the Premysl Palace, Hradisko – the largest pre-Monstrance cloister in Europe - and the fortified church of St. Morris from the 15th and 16th with its renowned organ. In the small chapel on the square of St. Wenceslas there is a Madonna from 1483, one of the most valuable gothic sculptures in the Czech Republic.
Prague – Historic Center
The city of hundred spires built on the banks of the meandering river Vltava has for centuries been quickening the heartbeats of poets, painters, and photographers. It is a cult, administrative, cultural, business and industrial center of the Czech Republic, which has been the capital of the kingdom and the later republic, and the residence of the rulers and archbishops, for an uninterrupted period of thousand years. The history of Prague in many way ways resembles the history of the Czech state. First a settlement around Prague castle and, later, Vysehrad Castle, it became a town with all its privileges in the 1230s, and developed into a self confident agglomeration of Prague towns; under Emperor Charles IV in the 14th century, it was one of the capitals of the Christian world, the seat of the first trans-Alpine university and huge building works, and 250 years later, during the region Rudolf II, a mysterious metropolis full of artists, scientist and learned rabbis. The Baroque entered Prague and the domes of its churches, the palace courtyards and gardens have since adorned the historic part of the town.
He who first referred to Prague as a symphony in stone has exactly captured its nature, a peculiar rhythmic beauty literally pervading the city, In some towns, art and beauty are haphazard additions, in Prague they are source vital to the city’s life. Prague has an unusual concentration of the theatres, concert and exhibition halls, museums and galleries; it is a city where the creation and reception of art have a long-standing tradition. Present-day Prague is also a city of trade fairs and a hub business. Known for centuries for its hospitality, Prague offers innumerable attractions and has as many faces as one can imagine from which visitors are certain to choose that which pleases them most.
Telc – Historic Center
"Moravian Venice", "pearl of uplands", lake rose", or poem in stone" – all these parables have been rightfully used for Telc, the town of irresistible beauty situated at the Czech Moravian frontier.
Telc appeared approximately in the middle of the 13th century at an intersection of two country’s routes. Although its founding date is unknown, the oldest historical monument in Telc, the late Romanesque tower Sv.Ducha, comes from the early 13th century. In 1339 the domination of Telc passed from the Royal family to the lords of Hradec who turned it into a medieval water stronghold, protected by ponds, moats, town walls and gates.
Telc acquired its Renaissance appearance thanks to Zacharias of Hradec, the most significant personality in the town’s history. During his reign the originally Gothic castle was rebuilt into a grand Renaissance residence with lavishly decorated interiors and beautiful arcades in the courtyard, all of which has been preserved up to now. Many Italian artists were invited then to Telc to remodel originally Gothic houses in the Renaissance style.
Baroque buildings appeared in Telc when it was held by the Slavata and Lichtenstein Kastelkorn families. In the 17th and 18th centuries the town hosted the Jesuitical order which also contributed to the look of Telc as we know it today while construction activities in the 19th century went on only outside the town’s center. In the 20th century Telc has been a growing and lively center of cultural and economic activities. Still, inside the center between the ponds and behind its gates, it has retained its grace from Zacharias’s times. For this reason the historical center of Telc has been included into the UNESCO list of world’s cultural heritage.
Lednicko – Valticky Complex
When in the middle of 13th century, the Liechtenstein family acquired their first land in Lednice, they suddenly owned as yet unused meadows and swamps, annually flooded by the Dyje river. By the time when, seven hundreds years later, the Liechtenstein’s were leaving the estate, the swamps had been reclaimed and singular complex of structures large and small had been erected between Lednice and the neighboring Valtice, like gems fitted in a huge mosaic of rivers canals and parks. The Lednice Park which seamlessly merged with surrounding landscape has been nicking named "Garden of Europe" and "Garden of Paradise". The Lednice-Valtice complex is a perfect example of a "cultural landscape", or landscape which has been changed by humans into an original work of art. When possible, visitors are advised to take bikes with them because the Lednice-Valtice complex is so large that it can hardly be visited in one day, even on bike.
In 1666 – 1669, Karl Eusebius of Liechtenstein had an Early Baroque residence constructed in Lednice, having moved here from Valtice. He also had the Orangerie built and the park landscaped, with scores of Romantic structures added later and popping up into view here and there, among them the Hardtmuth minaret of 1792 – 1802, and the artificial ruins of John’s castle of 1807. The appeal of the complex is further enhanced by the Lednice fishponds which have become an ideal nesting place for water-fowl and have been included on the list of international ornithological reserves. The last major changes at the chateau were made in the 19th century, when the garden wing was rebuilt in the French Empire style and a tropical glasshouse was added at the eastern side of the chateau. The interiors were adapted in the neo-Gothic style. The Lednice Chateau is one of the finest examples of High Romanticism in this country.
Trebic - the Jewish quarter and St Procopius' basilica
The ensemble of the Jewish Quarter, the old Jewish cemetery and the Basilica of St Procopius in Třebíč are reminders of the co-existence of Jewish and Christian cultures from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.
The Jewish Quarter bears an outstanding testimony to the different aspects of the life of this community. List on 3rd July 2003, is a unique document of Jewish culture in Moravia and the only Jewish monument outside Israel specifically placed on the UNESCO List. The area still exhibits its historical layout and structure that has developed in the limited area between the Jihlava River and the hill of Hradek. The Quarter exhibits a mysterious atmosphere with its tortuous streets, dark nooks, vaulted passages and other typical features. Unforgettable view of the romantic Jewish Quarter roofs can be enjoyed from Hradek Hill.Today, no original population is available in the former Jewish Quarter. Therefore, many buildings, such as the town hall, rabbi´s office, hospital, poorhouse or school, do not serve their original purpose any more.
St Procopius Basilica, built as part of the Benedictine monastery in the early 13th century, is an exceptional witness to the influence of Western-European architectural heritage in this region. The rich monastery was an important religious, cultural and economic centre and, last but not least, an important military stronghold. It could keep its position until the Hussite Wars. Its decline culminated in 1468 when it was stormed by the Hungarian Army. Then, the Church lost the property, which was later, starting from the 16th century, rebuilt into an aristocratic palace. It was possessed by the Valdstejn House from the early 17th century until its confiscation in 1945.
The ensemble of the Jewish Quarter, the old Jewish cemetery and the Basilica of St Procopius in Třebíč are reminders of the co-existence of Jewish and Christian cultures from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.
The Tugendhat Villa in Brno is the first masterpiece of modern architecture in the Czech Republic and the fourth in the world to be honoured with this prestigious acknowledgement. The Villa was built between 1929 and 1930. The Tugendhat Villa has been named after the owner of a Brno textile mill, Fritz Tugendhat, who had this jewel of the interwar functionalistic architecture built for his family. The glazed villa on a hillside above Brno was designed in 1928 by famous German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who used top quality materials and modern technologies of the early 20th century.
The steel skeleton of the Villa with windows reaching from the ceiling to the floor and slender chromium plated columns carrying the individual storeys made it possible to combine the hall and the garden into one optical whole. The building was equipped with furniture designed by the architect and was heated and cooled by an air-conditioning system.
Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk on Zelena Hora in Zdar nad Sazavou
The St. John’s of Nepomuk Pilgrimage Church at Zelena hora hill at Zdar nad Sazavou evokes the admiration of visitors from all over the world by the originality of the Czech baroque Gothic with a masterful composition of the whole area. That is why Zelena hora hill has been included in the world’s cultural heritage of UNESCO list.
The abbot of the cloister in Zdar had the pilgrimage church in a forested region on the border between Moravia and Bohemia built in 1720 in honour of the Czech martyr and Saint Jan Nepomucky. It is a unique document of the mastery of the genius of the Prague builder Giovanni Blasio Santini, who chose for his work the symbolic five-tipped star. This was because, according to legend, a crown with five stars appeared above the body of the drowned martyr. A five-tipped star is characteristic of the composition in constructions featuring the so-called baroque-gothic style (the ground plan is in the form of a star, the church has five exits, on the main alter there are five stars and five angels). The main altar represents the martyr who was raised into heaven by angels. The side of the altar is sanctified by four evangelists. The figures are situated in a special vortex of flames, and it seems that they are deeply moved. The top of the cupola is decorated with a monumental tongue of the saint (the symbol of Jan Nepomucky) in a circle of fire. The work of Giovanni Blasio Santini conveys the originality of the idea and the brilliance of the technique in which both baroque and gothic elements are here combined in the splendor of the Czech baroque-gothic.