Back in medieval times, when the site in the valley of the Vltava River which Cesky Krumlov occupies today was nothing more than a deep forest, bandits occupied the rocky cliff above the town from where they used to attack travellers and merchants. This went on until the brave knight named Vitek discovered the den of crime, burnt it and had the magnificent castle of Krumlov built in its place. He named the street under the castle after the bandits – Latran. Whether this legend is true or not we shall never know. But what we know for certain is that Cesky Krumlov today is among the most beautiful towns in the Czech Republic and features on the prestigious UNESCO list of World and Cultural Heritage.
A unique place
The castle and chateau complex of Cesky Krumlov is the second largest in the Czech Republic after Prague Castle and it ranks among the most significant sights in central Europe. Two visitor routes are available inside the castle. The castle tower with its dungeon and the castle lapidarium, with an exhibition of baroque statues, are also accessible for visitors. The real gem in terms of theatre heritage is the castle´s baroque theatre which boasts one of the best preserved European theatre scenes of the 18th century. It contains all of the original features including decorations, costumes, props and stage equipment. The most precious item in the castle´s collection is the golden carriage made of gilded walnut wood which clearly illustrates the skills of the period craftsmen. The highest point of the castle complex is the castle tower which offers a stunning view of the whole town. Don´t forget to pay a visit to the castle cellars located in the fourth courtyard which are the lowest accessible part of the complex.
Uncover the mystery of the mythical treasure
The vast baroque gardens in French and English style, the cascade fountain and castle lake will tempt you to take some lovely walks. The lake is reputed to be magical and the fairies like to come here for a dance in the moonlight. The legend says that there is a treasure hidden on the island in the middle of the lake which the fairies guard along with the dwarves. Should the fairies take a liking to a visitor they are said to give him or her a share. The only hitch is that they need to know the magic word. Many people have attempted to take the treasure in the past but no one has succeeded so far. If you too are unsuccessful you can cheer up by attending some of the world class performances taking place at the unique revolving auditorium nearby.
Krumlov is renowned for its festivals and galleries
Every year Cesky Krumlov offers its visitors from all over the world a wonderful selection of festivals. The most famous is the International Music Festival (www.festivalkrumlov.cz) which features a fantastic selection of concerts throughout the summer. As in previous years its 21st staging will see a number of the world´s leading artists and musicians taking part. Should you happen to visit Krumlov in the autumn you might be interested in the international festival of films and video programmes called Ekofilm (www.ekofilm.cz). If you are an art lover then visit the Egon Schiele Art Centre located in the former brewery. The permanent exposition is dedicated to the life and works of Egon Schiele. The gallery also hosts exhibitions dedicated to 20th Century art (www.schieleartcentrum.cz). Fans of photography will enjoy a visit to the museum and atelier Seidl (www.seidl.cz) where they can admire photographs of Krumlov and the Sumava mountains from the beginning of the 20th Century as well as early cameras and original furnishings of the atelier and the photographer’s household.
Boat trips and South Bohemian gastronomy
You can enjoy a different view of the town from a white water raft or canoe sailing down the Vltava River. Romantic candle lit trips on an ancient wooden raft at dusk are also available. You don´t need to be worried about getting soaked as experienced rafters guarantee an unforgettable experience as well as a smooth ride without getting your feet wet. A number of welcoming restaurants will be waiting for you as you disembark offering some of the delights of South Bohemian cuisine such as “kulajda” soup with mushrooms, roast duck or pancakes with blueberries. It is worth making a trip to Krumlov in September as that is when the St Wenceslas Celebrations are held and there is even more local food on offer than usual. You can also sample top quality wine and beer from the local Eggenberg brewery.
Walking and cycling trails in the surroundings
If you get tired of the picturesque bustling streets of the historic town centre, you can take a stroll in the countryside. One of the walking routes will take you to the baroque chapel of Virgin Mary from where there is a beautiful view of the town. Another walk invites you to climb to the top of Klet Mountain and enjoy the facilities including a mountain chalet with restaurant and observatory. Cyclists can take a trip to the Rozmberk Castle or enjoy a several day trip around the Lipno Lake.
Entertainment and enlightenment at the Schwarzenberk boat canal
This canal is among the leading technical sights of South Bohemia. Its route follows the state border between the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria and it connects the Vltava and Dunaj Rivers. Its construction commenced in 1789 and with various delays was not completed until 1822. The canal measures 44 kilometres with an average depth of 1 metre and it was used to supply Vienna with wood for building and heating. It is a well preserved example of hydro architecture.
CzechTourism is a state-funded agency of the Ministry for Regional Development. Its main activity is to promote the Czech Republic as an attractive tourist destination. More information is available at http://scandinavia.czechtourism.com.