Audi, vide et tace
si ves vivere in pace
In South Bohemia, on the banks of the double bends of the Vltava River, there is a picturesque little town, which well deserves to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This small charming town is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Czech Republic. With its narrow little streets, cosy restaurants, delicious cuisine and charming little shops, the historic downtown attracts tourists from all over the world.
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The second largest castle in the Czech Republic with its five courtyards, forty buildings and even a seven-hectare castle park is located in a valley, surrounded by hills, above the Vltava River.
The castle tower with its surrounding buildings is a significant sight of the city. The originally Gothic 13th century castle was continuously built and expanded from the 14th to the 19th century. It acquired its Renaissance character during its major rebuilding in the early 16th century. The castle consists of four main parts, upper and lower castles, the Baroque theatre part and the castle park. The castle trench between the upper castle and the Baroque theatre is filled by a multi-level vaulted bridge. Alongside the castle halls, the Baroque castle garden or Baroque theatre are very important symbols; some of the world’s most remarkable historical treasures in very good condition. The Baroque castle theatre was built in 1776, with a moving scene technique – that was quite modern at that time. It still works well and there are only a few of them in the world. A lot of original costumes also survived. The Baroque theatre hosts several performances each year, when we can hear and see Baroque operas with artificial lighting imitating candlelight.
In the lapidary, located in the first courtyard, there are original Baroque statues which were exhibited in the past.
The 54-meter-high and six-story Gothic and Renaissance castle tower is a symbol of Cesky Krumlov. From the top of the tower, there is a wonderful view of the city and the surrounding hills.
The bears in the castle date back to the reign of the last Rosenberg lords, as besides rose, bear was their symbol. The Rosenbergs considered themselves to be related to the Italian noble Orsini family, whose name means female bear. The Rosenbergs wanted to emphasize their ancient noble origins, therefore, bears also played an important role. Bears were kept in the castle from the 16th century, at first in cages in the courtyard, and from the 18th century onwards, they were kept in trenches. Above the trenches where they lived children and adults both like to stop and wander.
Besides the castle, the old town is also rich in sights.
St. Vitus Church is another symbolic building in Krumlov. Its Gothic fresco remains are from the 15th century. Vilmos Rosenberg and his wife’s renaissance mausoleum is also in the main ship in the three-nave church.
The town hall on the main square of the town was built in 1580 by joining two older Gothic houses. On its facade, there are the coat of arms of the Czech Republic, Cesky Krumlov, the Rosenbergs and Schwarzenbergs with the following Latin text: Audi vide et tace si ves vivere in pace, that is hear, see, be silent, if you wish to live in peace.
The town houses the Egon Schiele Art Centre, where the permanent Schielle Exhibition is located, as well as the works of young contemporary artists. Furthermore, visitors are attracted by several other things as well, for example, the Regional Wax Museum, Marionette, Puppet and Torture Museums, which also offer rich attractions.
If you get the time during your walk, you may want to visit the Synagogue, the Old Jesuit College, the Jesuit Garden, where you can enjoy the most beautiful views of the castle, the Prelat House, the Old Latin School, the Krein Renaissance House, the Old City Brewery, Renaissance Italian House, Barber House, Old Hospital and Orphanage, and Minorita Monastery.
If Cesky Krumlov is added to your bucket list, it is worth organizing your trip there in June, as each year, it is the time for the Five-Petalled Rose Celebrations. With a series of high-standard events, including theatre performances, renaissance concerts, knight tournaments and torchlight parades, this large-scale series evokes the Renaissance era, the “golden age” of the city.
This article is brought to you thanks to the Czech Tourism.