- Language: Czech
- Area total:22.16 km².
- Latitude/ Longitude:
48°48' 39" N, 14°18' 55" E
- City Calling code: 420
- Time Zone:
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Introduction to Český Krumlov:
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Český Krumlov is famous for its Old Town, with 300 protected medieval buildings, and its castle complex, the second largest in the Czech Republic.
Surrounded by rolling hills and the Vltava River, Český Krumlov's cobblestone streets wind past centuries old townhomes, inns, shops, and cafes. Located in the southwest part of the Czech Republic, this picturesque city is home to about 14,000 residents.
Trivia & Quick Points:
The town was created around the castle, which was founded by the Lords of Krumlov (the Vítkovci family) around 1253.
The architecture of the Castle and the town is a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque.
The name of the city comes from the German term "krumme aue" (crooked meadow). This evolved to Krumlov. In the 15th century, the adjective "Český" (Czech) was added to distinguish it from the Moravian city, Moravský Krumlov.
The average temperature in July is 61 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature in January is 27 degrees Fahrenheit.
The town experienced a period of decay from the end of World War II until 1989, when restoration efforts began in earnest, leading to its inscription into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992.
Facts & Information:
The original Gothic castle, upon which the town of Český Krumlov was based, was founded by the Lords of Krumlov (one of the branches of the Vítkovci family. around 1253. The Vítkovci family was a branch of the powerful Witigonen family, which has the five-petalled rose in its coat-of-arms. In 1302, the last Witigonen died, and the Witigonens' relatives, the Rosenbergs (Rožmberk), inherited the castle. The Rosenbergs maintained their seat there until 1602. During this time, the town experienced its greatest prosperity, with rapid economic development, construction of new buildings, and the expansion of trade with other cities in the region.
In 1602, the Emperor Rudolf II von Habsbursg bought the Krumlov dominion. In 1622, it was transferred to the Eggenberg family. In the 1680's, under the rule of Johann Christian I. von Eggenberg, farming, construction, and the arts flourished, helping Český Krumlov rise out of a period of stagnation that resulted from the Thirty Years' War.
At the end of 17th century, the Castle Baroque Theatre was built; and the Castle Gardens were renovated. In 1719, a new dynasty, the Schwarzenbergs, inherited Český Krumlov. In the second generation of their rule, Joseph Adam zu Schwarzenberg began extensive reconstruction of the castle. During this time, the castle was developed with a Baroque character.
Towards the end of the 18th century, and in the 19th century, the economy and the arts stagnated. By the middle of the 19th century, the Český Krumlov Castle was no longer the main residence of the Krumlov-Hluboká Schwarzenberg family. In the 20th century, the World Wars caused further stagnation though Krumlov was spared damage from battles or from bombings. At the end of the war, the German population was expelled.
In 1989, the Velvet Revolution brought renewal to Český Krumlov, eventually leading to its inscription into the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1992.
Český Krumlov is a cultural center with a dozen museums and galleries, a medieval castle complex with beautiful gardens, historic and modern theaters, including the Castle Baroque theater built in the 1600's, and the revolving auditorium, built in the 20th Century, and hundreds of cultural events each year.
This small, picturesque town is a frequent host for conferences in the arts and sciences. It also boasts several retreats for artists, writers, and musicians.
Travel & Tourism:
Český Krumlov offers visitors guided tours year-round in several languages, including English. These tours provide visitors with an in-depth view of the history, legends, architechture, and culture of Český Krumlov. One tour focuses on the 400 year old Eggenberg Brewery and gives visitors a chance to sample the local brew.
The tourist season begins in May, and summer offerings include music and art festivals, theater performances, concerts, film festivals, and children's events throughout the season.
Highlights & Features of the City and Surroundings:
Situated in a valley with the Blansko Forest to the north and the foothills of Šumava to the south and west, opportunities for nature hikes, biking, and cross-country skiing abound.
The Vltava river, which surrounds the town, can be enjoyed by wooden raft, canoe, or kayak.
The castle complex, with its tower situated on a rocky promontory, offers spectacular views of the Old Town below.
Strolling through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Old Town, visitors will find an enchanted atmosphere, surrounded by more than 300 well-preserved historical buildings, including St. Vitus' Church, built in the early 1400's.
What to Do & See
No trip to Český Krumlov is complete without a visit to the castle complex. This complex consists of forty buildings and palaces, as well as gardens, courtyards, and a moat with resident bears. One of the more modern additions is a revolving outdoor auditorium where visitors can watch plays throughout the summer. Entry to the castle complex is free, and guided tours may be purchased for a few dollars.
One of the highlights of the castle is the well-preserved Baroque Theater, which dates back to the 1400's. In the 18th century, the theater was equipped with unique machinery for changing scenes and adorned with wall and ceiling murals preserved to this day.
For just a couple dollars, one can venture up the 180-foot tall tower. With a gallery of wall murals dating back to the late 16th century, four bells built from the early 1400's to the mid-1700's, and the expansive view of the Old Town below, the castle tower is a highlight of any visit to Český Krumlov.
Take a relaxing cruise on the Vltava River on an old-fashioned wooden raft, or rent a canoe or kayak and explore the river and the edge of town. The adventurous will enjoy the adrenaline rush of white-water rafting on the upper part of the river and the region near the Lipno Dam on the outskirts of the town. For those who wish to spend more than one day rafting, campgrounds, pensions, and hotels are available around the river outside Český Krumlov.
The Old Town has several noteworthy museums and galleries. The Regional Museum houses a permanent collection of about 34,000 objects including Bohemian antiques and archeological finds from the region as well as a detailed model of Český Krumlov at the turn of the 19th century.
The Museum of Architecture and Craft, located on the first floor of the historic house, Dlouhá 92, in the centre of Český Krumlov, displays the architectural details of the burgher houses of Český Krumlov from the Middle Ages to today. The museum exhibits timber ceilings, portals, doors and windows, framing and facades, as well as colourful interior decorations.
The 5-Petalled Rose Celebrations, a three-day festival in mid-June, transform Český Krumlov into a Renaissance town once again. The festival harkens back to the time of the greatest development in Český Krumlov, when Vilém and Petr Vok from the House of Rosenberg reigned. Day and night, visitors are treated to concerts; dances; daredevil performances; duels; theatrical performances; arts and crafts; processions of noble ladies and gentlemen, knights, and jugglers; a Medieval Fest; and much more.
Getting There & Away
Fly into the Prague Ruzyne Airport (108 mi away) or the Linz-Horsching Airport in Austria (42 mi away). Český Krumlov can be reached from the Prague airport by bus or private shuttle.
Trains from Prague go through České Budějovice. The trip from Prague to Český Krumlov is 4-5 hours. The part from České Budějovice to Český Krumlov is approximately 45 minutes.
Buses are available from České Budějovice at regular intervals and from Prague several times a day.
The historical town center is a car-free zone. Buses and taxis are available from the train station and areas outside of the Old Town.
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