OVERLOOKING THE TOWN FROM THE TOWER OF THE CASTLE
When we arrive at the town of Cesky Krumlov, there is no doubt the first thing that will catch our attention will be the castle dominating the village from the top of a hill. The historic castle of the small town of Cesky Krumlov, belonged to the Rossenberg family for years, lineage that played an important role in the Middle Ages history of present Chekia. In fact, the members of this family were seen as important and powerful landlords of Bohemia for centuries.
The castle started to be built in 1240 by the Rossenberg family, after it passed to be property of other outstanding families as the Eggenberg in the XVII century, who were responsible for the baroque extension. The Schwarzenberg received the duchy of Krumlov and the castle, residing in it from 1717 till 1947, the date when it became a state competition. This castle is unusually big for a town the size of Cesky Krumlov, as nowadays it has not even 14,000 inhabitants. To get an idea of its dimensions, the complex of the castle has forty buildings and palaces, five towers, rocky gardens and a huge bridge.
We are talking of the second biggest castle of the Czech Republic, only overpassed by the castle of Hradcany in Prague. This powerful castle was raised on top of a rocky promontory, with the Moldava River flowing in one of its sides and the currents of the Polecnice at the other. It is a real jewel of the Middle Ages, renaissance and baroque architecture. We can enjoy walking through the complex for free, knowing its patios and exteriors, as the city looms at his feet. To know the castle and its views is something we cannot pass up on, but if we really want to have an outstanding panorama of 360 degrees, we remind you to climb the main tower which is 28 meters high.A fee of 40 czk must be paid to enter the tower, which is about 1.5 euros.
The climb is only six floors through a spiral staircase, and the views will dazzle you. From there we can have a perfect view of the meander of the river Moldova, closing in whimsically as if it was a tear on to the town, with its houses with orange roofs and the mountains in the background.
Zámek 59, 381 01 Ceský Krumlov, Chekia
MORE ROLLED UP THAN A TRDELNIK!
The fact that man is a creature of habit is something that is said to define a conduct. We are used to some flavours, aromas and textures. We are reluctant to try what we do not know, and from Czech gastronomy, there is little or nothing we know. Europamundo encourages you to be brave, let yourself be guided by your curiosity and don´t stop trying, there are flavours as the one of the trdelnikyou will not forget. Walking through the Cesky Krumlov´s cobbled streets, it will be complicated not to be guided by this delicious sweet aroma impregnating every corner.
Let yourself be guided and follow the trail of this sweet taste that will take you to any of the multiple trdelnik stands you will find at the historic center. Although certainly many die to go to the same local shop named Kájovská in the Latran street either because it is on our way or because they make them delicious, the marvelous sweet aroma of recently made trdelnik entangles so much that you end up biting without redemption.
Although the famous trdelnik dates back to the XVII century, we can find it in a Hungarian quarter with an unpronounceable nameJózser Gvadányi who settled in Skalika (Slovakia) decided to contact a cook native of Transylvania. This cook exported the receipt of the sweet roll from his land and, changing some ingredients, started to sell it in Skalika, a location near the Czech border. The sweet became so popular that it crossed borders becoming nowadays an outstanding part of Czech gastronomy. We can taste it in hundreds of different ways, and all of them are delicious.
Being a roll, its interior can be filled, either with chocolate, or with different flavours such as marmalade, nuts, banana, or even a ball of ice cream. Although tasting it with any flavour is possible, we have the opinion that less is more, and therefore, the best way and the least sticky way is to taste it with sugar and cinnamon. Ummmmm, delicious.
Kájovská, Latrán 12, 301 01 Ceský Krumlov, Czechia
To understand the title " more woooood!”it seems fair to say that Czechia has a landscape formed by plains and wavy plateaus, most of them with plenty of forests where fir predominates, making up a third of the country´s woods. Also, we find a large quantity of oaks and spruce, but linden is the most symbolic tree in the country. With this technical information given, you will understand that they have wood in abundance.
And knowing minimally the creative Czechs´ characteristics, it has led them to dominate throughout the centuries the treatment of this material, creating endless, delicate and beautiful products, mainly craft toys, mostly in wood, that you will find everywhere throughout the country. Cesky Krumlov is south of Bohemia, literally surrounded by forests. So, the great production of wooden items in this town is not surprising From the moment you take the first step on the town, you will find artisan or souvenir shops almost in every corner where you will see exposed in their windows all kinds of finely carved wooden articles.
These are from elegantly painted, medieval style shields and swords for children, trains, old fashioned cars, hanging animals on springs, cartoon characters, magnets, colorful pencils, wooden horses or matrioskas. The latter, not originally from Czechia, are very popular and you can find them in any traditional shop of the town. Matrioskas are typical dolls from Russia, hollow inside, but with tiny replicas of them, richly painted by hand.
They are made on linden wood, and all the dolls from the main matrioska must be made of the same kind of wood, so they all have the same process of dilation and contraction. If there is a wooden article that stands out above all others, because of its delicacy and work, it would be the puppets. Here you will find them carved by hand, many of them thought for demanding adults who like high quality and don´t care about their somewhat rigid price. Sizes and topics are very varied, going from witches and devils to princesses, there are even puppets of Messi, and the most typical one, the good soldier Svejk.
This is a good present for children and adults. The inhabitants of Cesky Krumlov say that you don´t choose the puppet, but the puppet chooses you. So, if you arrive with no idea about what you want, just see where your gaze is directed to.
Na Ostrove street, Town Hall square and Latran neighborhood, are areas where you will find endless shops of wooden articles and toys. So, as the great Groucho Marx would say: MORE WOOOOD!!!!
FROM THE SEMINÁRNÍ ZAHRADA TERRACE
Cesky Krumlov is a city that marvels for its small details, but a city we fall in love with at first sight with its incredible panoramic views. We have already talked about the awe-inspiring perspective we can get from the roof of the castle and the view from its tower, but there is another lookout from where the picture will be unrepeatable. It is from Seminární Zahrada terrace, a balcony which looks out over the best of the city, so it´s worth going there any time of the day, as your photo will be unbeatable. Without losing anything, you will find it in front of the Ruze hotel, which was an ancient monastery and Jesuit school.
The perspective from this terrace is more beautiful than from the castle, because from this point we capture the beauty of the whole of it, so simple! It´s like being in Paris wanting to have a good panorama. It will always be better to do it from the "Tour Montparnasse" and let the Eiffel Tower come out, than on the contrary of doing it from the Eiffel Tower and take out the skyscraper of Montparnasse. In this case, the commutative property does not apply, the order of factors alters the product of the picture.
Any time of the day or moment of the year, your snapshot from here will be outstanding, either at dawn, in the middle of the day or at dusk. And if in summer with a huge blue sky, the view is overwhelming from this terrace, and we enjoy the orange roofs, marking the landscape of the town. In winter, we are thrilled to see the same landscape upholstered in white. The essence of the place and therefore of the picture is that Cesky Krumlov is considered the most beautiful town of Czechia, aside from Prague, of course.
The city was declared World Heritage for Humanity by UNESCO in 1992, by its historic center and the monumental castle complex. From here you will perfectly see the roofs and its smoky chimneys, the small and winding alleys that adapt till total perfection to the vagaries of geography, where this perfect Moldova meander converts the historic center into a peninsula with the shape of a tear. And of course, you will capture in your camera, the promontory and the fortress watching the town from the heights, as a symbol of power.
To get to this lookout from the Town Hall square, you have to climb the gentle slope of Horní street, leaving San Vito Church at your right, and in less than five minutes, you will get to number 152 where you will find the most complete panoramic view of the city.
Horní 152, 3810q Cesky Krumlov, Czechia
ZÁMECKÝ PARK OR WALK AMONG ROSES
If there is a place difficult to get anybody to show you, there is no doubt it will be the gardens of the castle of Cesky Krumlov, and it is not because they don´t deserve a visit, but because they have the peculiarity of being on the highest point of the land. This is why from the castle we will have the opportunity to enjoy the typical Versailles view, with the gardens getting lost in infinity. Known as Zá meck á zahrada, it will be easy to find nobody, and it is a good place to take a pleasant walk, especially if the weather is good. We will find a real explosion of colourful roses and different flowers, sculptural ensembles and its marvelous fountain.
Originally landscaped in 1550, the gardens offer an eclectic mixture of French baroque styles with Italian neoclassical influence and architectural elements from the Austrian Habsburg. The design of this outstanding landscape was finished in 1752, with the construction of a fountain of four levels flanked by two large staircases. Together with this spectacular fountain of four levels in a waterfall shape, that we can consider to be the central piece of the gardens, we will find some stone sculptures where Neptune and his water gods are represented. During the second half of the XX century, the high contamination of the air, deteriorated drastically many sculptural elements and the water supply system stopped working.
This was in 1998 when intense works of recuperation of the waterfall fountain and its sculptures were done. The sculptural deterioration of the gardens of Cesky Krumlov, helped to raise the awareness of the dangers of contamination in the preservation of the historic monument. Throughout the ride within these precious gardens, we will find lookouts over the historic part of the city where you will be hypnotized with the views. But aside from the visual surprise of this place, the greatest pleasure to come from these gardens are their peace, stillness and tranquility.
Sit down on a bench, set your cell phone in silence, breathe fresh air and enjoy these gardens that serve as a visual collage of history. And as such, they are one of the biggest and most valuable examples of castle gardens of the Czech Republic and all Central Europe.
Dulní, 381 01 Ceský Krumlov, Czechia
LET´S EAT VEGETARIAN IN CESKY KRUMLOV
Whenever we go to any town in the world, certainly we will always find an Italian, Chinese or Mexican restaurant, but rarely Czech. It is true that it is not a gastronomy which is widely renown, maybe it is the great unknown. It´s a country, where, due to its geographic and climatic conditions, the base of its diet is based on meat, such as pork, chicken and bovine accompanied normally with potatoes and cabbage. Even so, with this absence of fruit, vegetables and fish, Czechs have a gastronomy which is more than dignified and delicious.
Some of the most popular dishes are the soups such as the garlic soup, or the onion soup, or the famous goulashserved in a bread loaf. Meats vary from the marvelous steak tartare (which leaves nothing to envy against the French one), the snitchel (breaded pork or chicken), to the roasted knuckle. The hermelin would be the cheese or fried olomouc. It’s a delicious food with little vegetables in their dishes so, due to this reason, we recommend you to eat in a vegetarian in Cesky Krumlov, which would be as almost as strange as asking for a salad in McDonalds.
Do you dare? There are not many vegetarian restaurants in the town, so we would like to advise you about one: The place is called Laibon, and its location in unbeatable, as it is on the banks of the Moldova River, with a big terrace and impressive views of the castle that watches us from the heights. This would be the first reason why we recommend this place. The second reason but not less important is that here, everything is very natural, such as the wooden tables, and if you are cold, they have blankets and above all, food is delicious. We can taste from guacamole to lentils, going through a variety of good salad, a great hummus or rice and beans.
The best part of all of this is that the price is frankly optimal to be coming from a touristic town as Cesky Krumlov. The only handicap we find is they don´t accept credit cards. The third and last reason why we recommend Laibon, is the owner and waiter David. He will make us feel as if we were in our own home. The permanent smile on his face is tremendously appreciated.
DO YOU DARE?LET´S GO VEGETARIAN!
Parkan 105, 381 01 Cesky Krumlov
THE BEAR PIT OF THE CASTLE
As it happens in some important European cities such as Berlin, Madrid or Bern, Cesky Krumlov has also the bear as a symbol.And in this town, it seems to be so because the Rosemberg family had a long association with bears. Following the legend, the Rosenberg were related with the noble Italian Orsini family, whose name comes from the word "orsa", meaning female bear in the transalpine language. This aspect takes the bears as a symbol of power and strength, at the coat of arms of both noble families. One of the most interesting aspects of this Castle of Cesky Krumlov is the bear pit between the first and the second patios for protection.
As a place where you will find the famous bears, this has been a tradition that has been kept alive by the successive owners of the castle to the present. We will have nothing to lose, as it is the first point that we will find once we climb to the castle from the historic Letrán neighborhood. The first record of the bears in the castle´s pit goes back to 1707, the day when four plantigrades were taken to this place where they stayed for a good part of the XVIII century. The animals disappeared and were replaced by two lagoons from the end of the XIX century till 1907, the time when the bears came back to the pit, and since then, these animals inhabit it permanently.
They make the delights and fill curiosity for both adults and children. We could watch them sleeping, taking a bath or playing. But while seeing them from above, please respect the signs indicating they should not be fed. Don´t forget that the only bears who become crazy with the cream sandwiches are Yogi bear and his faithful friend, Bubu. Ey, ey, ey,ey, ey!
Every year there is a precious tradition during Christmas, in which, coinciding with the birthday of the animals, the castle workers organize the "festival of the bears" in which the habitat of the animals is decked out profusely and festively. Also, many presents and food is brought to the honored bears, making this festivity very popular among the children of the place.
Zámek 59, 381 01, Ceský Krumlov
PUT ON SNEAKERS!
We already have clarified that Cesky Krumlov is a small town, not reaching 14,000 inhabitants. Does the title of World Heritage by UNESCO justify the beautifulness of the place? More than clearly, this is why it is considered as the second most beautiful Czech town after Prague. Equally, what was not so clear for us, is that its historic center was closed to transit, making it ideal to walk. But yes, its streets are cobblestone, so prepare comfortable footwear. The recommended route will be from the Hradníroad that we will find beside the Polecknice creek in the Jelení zahrada park.
This place is outside of the historic area and in this way, crossing under the Plastovy most bridge and entering the historic area, the visual impact and the surprise factor will be bigger, coming squarely with the force of the power of water running through the Moldova meander. Take your time and stop at the beautiful wooden bridge Lávka pod Zamkem, as from this bridge, we will have a view over the river, from where we will have a marvelous sight of the castle and its tower. It will be impossible not to take hundreds of pictures.
Always following straight on the Siroká street, take a walk on the city between precious and colorful renaissance, gothic and baroque palaces that alternate along the street. We will pass by craft shops, beautiful coffee shops, the museum Egon Schiele, and arriving to the modest wax museum of the town. Turn left to climb the gentle slope of the Town Hall square. In the Town Hall square, we could take a break and see life pass byfrom the feet of the column of the Virgin, while we enjoy the elegant atmosphere of the square with its Town Hall and its colorful palaces. Head towards the historic neighbourhood of Latránthrough Radnicní street.
It will be complicated not to stop at any of its multiple places of business, before arriving again to the river that we will cross by the Lazebnikí most bridge. It will be almost impossible not to stop here to capture some snapshots. It is worth continuing as we will find the Budejovice gate, the only one remaining from the nine ancient entrances to the city, built in the year 1600. If the force accompanies you, dare to go up to the castle.
There, you will find the bear pit, the tower, the baroque theater, and a set of forty palaces.The climb is worth it, even if it is only for the view of the town.
ENJOY CESKY KRUMLOV!
AT THE FEET OF THE VIRGIN ON THE TOWN HALL SQUARE
If there is a place enriching the spirit and the soul, it will surely be this square, an epicenter of the life and activity of Cesky Krumlov, and so, a must for locals and tourists. We could sit in one of the many terraces of the hotels and pivovares (Czech breweries) of the square, pleasant places to enjoy the "dolce far niente" as the Italians say. But of course, you will have to consume something in one of these places of business. If your body doesn´t feel like it or you don´t want to, do not stop enjoying sitting down in this square and do as the local people do: sit down in the stairs of the column of the Virgin.This baroque column will be the first point to call your attention in the square, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, but also known as the pest column.
It was raised in this place to thank the end of a deadly pest that ended the lives of thousands of people in Bohemia. These types of monuments are very frequent in all Central Europe. The square is a real delight to see, small and elegant and cozy at the same time, full of colourful renaissance buildings. Just the most outstanding building in the square is the only white one with arcades, the old Town Hall with a facade where we can appreciate the Scharzenbergfamily emblem shield, with a head and a crow by its eyes.
This macabre image makes reference to the battle of Gyor against the Ottomans when, as the history recalls, the Turkish leader was defeated and beheaded by an ancestor of the Schwarzenberg, as a crow which appeared from nowhere, ate the eyes of the Ottoman leader. This grim story should be a preamble of what we will find under the shield, as within this place is the torture museum, where different medieval punishment and execution methods are represented which are frankly cruel, violent and sadistic.
This Town Hall square or Svornosti nam, is a crowded place all year long, but especially beautiful and agreeable during the Christmas holidays. Decorated in a soft and pleasant way, an ice bear presides over the square that will be there during all the holidays. These dates are an ideal moment to approach some of the Christmas market stalls in the square, and buy precious decorated candles, crafts, or have a hot wine to prevent us from freezing to death.
Nam Svornosti, 381 01 Ceský Krumlov, Czechia
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