Český Krumlov – Medieval Maintained

Preserved by Peace

A view into historic town centre from the chateau.
A view into historic town centre from the chateau.

Nestled in a tight bend of the Vltava river, Český Krumlov has survived remarkably unscathed by the rigors of history and the wars that often tore through the Czech lands that surround it.

In fact, around 500 years of being left undisturbed to develop naturally has allowed the town to keep its original layout intact from the medieval period. In addition, many of the buildings have only required minimal restoration and conservation efforts over the years. This rare level of preservation and the architectural authenticity that goes with it were the primary reasons for the town being inscribed on the UNESCO list in 1992.

Looking toward the chateau from the town centre.
Looking toward the chateau from the town centre.

It was not simply peace that allowed the town to carry so much historical authenticity into the present. Under ownership of the noble and influential Rosenberg family for approximately 300 years through the 14th to 16th centuries; the town flourished and gained considerable wealth and prestige as a craft and trade centre, accumulating many privileges in the process.

Ownership of the town was assumed by another noble and influential clan in the 18th century, the Schwarzenbergs. Under their ownership, the town maintained its importance into the 19th century.

Such influential owners attracted very highly skilled craftsmen to the town to build residences for the burghers who called it home. As a result, many of the buildings are of a very high quality of construction that has allowed them to weather the centuries very well indeed.

A Feel for the Town

Down at street level, walking around the town with other tourists.
Down at street level, walking around the town with other tourists.

Česk Krumlov is very popular as a tourist attraction and promoted strongly abroad; as such, it does have a permanently touristy feel to it. This is certainly not to detract from it, the Czechs are proud of this place and rightly they should be. If you had a place like this in your country, you’d want people to see it too.

Getting beyond the tourists, the centre of the town has a unique atmosphere created by the narrow streets and period architecture. It’s all very walkable and quite enjoyable to take in with shops of all sorts lining the streets as well as restaurants and cafes to suit a variety of tastes.

A trip to the large chateau that overlooks the town will reward you with not just a great view of the town centre, but also the beautiful countryside that surrounds the town. The chateau and its adjoining gardens are quite large, so allow plenty of time on your itinerary to see them.

Visiting Český Krumlov

A moment on a quiet street, looking toward the town square.
A moment on a quiet street, looking toward the town square.

Česky Krumlov can make a wonderful weekend getaway or serves well as a simple day trip if you are in the vicinity already. There are several hotels in the town and it is well connected to both Prague and České Budějovice by rail and bus

The town’s multilingual website provides a wealth of information for visitors:

http://www.ckrumlov.info/php/turista/?lang=en

This page, maintained by a British expatriate who has made the area around Český Krumlov their home, is a true wealth of information on the town and surrounding region:

http://www.ceskykrumlovholiday.co.uk/

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