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Thanks to it’s architectonic level, cultural tradition and area, the state castle and palace in Český Krumlov to the most important sights in central Europe. For it’s uniqueness, the grounds of the palace were in 1989 proclaimed national cultural sight and in 1992 the whole historical complex became part of World’s cultural and natural heritage UNESCO. This originally gothic castle, founded before 1250, is after the Prague castle the second biggest castle complex in Czech Republic. During a single season, the palace exposition, which is open from April to October, is visited by more than 300 000 visitors.
The castle and palace complex is built on a elongated rocky promontory with Vltava river flowing around from the south and Polečnice brook from the north..
Both castle and palace are proudly towering above small renaissance ad baroque town architecture of adjacent town.
The tour of the palace grounds introduces to a imposing architecture from the times around 16. – 18. century. Individual buildings are decorated by rare renaissance and baroque frescoes. The impressive stroll across the entire castle and palace leads through the courtyard.
The current I. courtyard (in the picture above) went through distinct construstion development. To the end of 16. century the space of original barbican shifted into a bulit-up and busy farming courtyard. The entrance from the town section to the I. Courtyard is in Latrán street (in the adjacent picture). The name originally belonged to a settlement around the Český Krumlov castle, which was later merged into one big town complex with inner town.
The most extensive part of Český Krumlov palace area is made up by palace garden with summer riding hall, prince flower garden, cascade fountain or summer residence Bellaria. The main garden road leads through two square groves to a palace pond.
Inside the palace you can see historical interiors from 16. – 19. century, palace tower with a dungeon and a stone collection with an exposition of baroque sculptures. World famous palace baroque theatre is a gem of theatre history and it i sone of the most well-preserved european theatre stages of 18. century. This theatre is proud to own almost complete collection of decorations, costumes, props and stage machinery. During summer, the rich selection of palace exteriors and interiors from individual historical period sis almost every day used to concert, theatre, gastronomical and other events.
The history of bear breeding in Český Krumlov extends all the way to 16. century, to the era when the last Rožmberks ruled. Bears are bred on their current place, the Bear moat, sice 1707.
While the palace tower symbolizes temporal reign and its area of influence, the church tower is a symbol church power. This power is ever since medieval times not just a necessary opposite to temporal power but also it’s addition. Roman Catholic church of st. Vít is next to the palace the second most prominent structure of the town. After 1400, this church was bulit thanks to krumlov priest Hostislav of Bílska. In the west part of church, there was bult a big musical stand around 1500. More important adjustments followed in the baroque period. Among these adjustments was for example building new sacristy alongside southern side of the church and bulding a chapel of st. Jan Nepomucký. In thich chapel are since since 1726 deposited hearts of some members of the Swarzenberg family. Walls on the sides of entrance to the chapel are fitted with tombstones from the grave of Vilém from Rožmberk and his third wife Anna Marie Badénská. Next to the chapel of st. Jan Nepomucký is a way to the chapel of Resurrection which was originally medieval and in 18. baroquely adjusted.
Architectonic and artistic development of this historic sight ended with neo-gothic adjustments at the end of 19. century. The interior of the temple is made up by nave and two aisles, which is typical for developer and late gothic style. The main altar from 1683 is early baroque and the side altars from years 1897 – 1898 are neo-gothic. The rococo pulpit was bulit in the mid of 18. century. Above the entrance to the church is small baroque organ from 1716. The main organ was bulit in 1908 in romantic neo-gothic style.
According to some experts, the church of st. Vít is also the place of origin of the famous Krumlov Madonna, important art piece of international gothic style. Today, the Krumlov Madonna is in posession of art-historic museum in Vienna.
Presently, the church of st. Vít is used for religious ceremonies ans occasionaly for concerts of classical music.
The gallery behind the church offers beautiful view on a river with a lake and on the southern part of town. On the way from the church you can notice a corner house with noticeable five-sided oriel. This house, which is Named Kaplanka (picture on the right) is originally late neo-gothic but simultaneously one of the first buildings in Český Krumlov on which renaissance building elements were used.
The synagogue in Český Krumlov i sone of a few buildings of this type, which wasn’t affected by world wars or totalitarian regime. The object was bulit in 1909 on a request of local Jewish community based on plans by architect Kafka.
The synagogue, which is decorated by eight-sided tower and modest use of neo-roman elements, served its purpose only until the claim of Sudets in 1938. After that was its fate very dramatic. In fall of 1938 was its interior destroyed by the Nazis, during which the building itself was preserved. During the war, the synagogue served as plane workshop. After World War II, the synagogue briefly served as a prayer room for american soldiers, afterwards it was used by evangelic churches and then it became warehouse. In the post-war period, the object became property of the town of Český Krumlov and in 1990 it was returned to the Jewish community.
First salvage repairs were implemented in late 90s and the building has been completely repaired since 2012. The remains of original mural painting and Czech and English writings, which serve as a reminder of church services after World War II were preserved in the interior. Right now, short term exhibitions happening in the newly repaired synagogue and in the winter prayer room you cen find permanent exposition „World of the Český Krumlov Jews“. Part of the exposition is also made up by religious objets made in Izrael.
The Revolving theatre Český Krumlov belong to on of the main european outdoor theatre stages. It hase been important and in world scale also unique representative of natural open air theatre with original use of stage space. Its uniqueness proves also the fact that Český Krumlov has been part of the list of cultural and natural heritage UNESCO since 1992.
The principle of revolving theatres has been known for several centuries, it first appeared in czech enviroment thanks to the stage designer Joan Brehems. First performance happened in front of wooden revolving stage with capacity of 60 visitors which was driven by manpower. This stage in the middle of countryside allowed turning to both sides around its axis and so the spectator could percieve the plot panoramically. Next year the revolving stage was rebuild for 400 visitors and a year later it could hold even 550 visitors. In 1994 the existing stage was replaced by a newer, technologically more advanced stage powered by electric motor with capacity of 664 visitor, which stayed to this day.
The principle of revolving theatre is set in palace forest park, which has been forming for centuries, with small rococo palace Bellaria. It forms unique combination, that even very famous open air scenes like lake stage in Bregenz, arena in Verona or mediterranean greek amfitheaters can’t offer. The play space – stage has area of about one hectare and is made up by expansive space of surrounding palace park with centurie sold trees and beautiful scenery. In case of musical production, opera or ballet performances, is the combination of music, dance and surrounding nature is extraordinarily emotional experience.
The performances happen regularly every year, from June to September. In this period, around eighty performances is played with about 55 000 visitor from not just Czech Republic but also foreign countries. All four artistic companies of South bohemian theatre – drama, opera, ballet and puppet play, take part in the theatre production. The most popular shows among foreign visitors are always productions of opera and ballet titles with world famous guests and choeographers. Among the performers were for example soloists of Metropolitan opera in New York, San Francisco Opera, Toronto Opera Company, Natinal theatre in Prague and Bratislava, movie director and owner of Oscar Jiří Menzel, musical director MET John Keenan and more top-class artists.
Regional museum is located in early baroque building in Český Krumlov, which was bulit at the end of Horní street immidiately next to the bridge next to Horní gate. This baroque building with decorative west frontage, now District national history and geography museum, was bulit in the place of six older town houses in 1650 - 1652.
Together with a dormitory (collegiumú and a theatre, this building was a dominant complex of buildings of Jesuit order, called to Český Krumlov by Vilém of Rožmberk in 1582. In 1732, the object was expanded by seminar chapel of st. Josef, removed during reconstruction after 1970.
After the end of Jesuit order aktivity, the building served as german main school, later girl’s school and german grammar school all the way until 1945. After World War II, in 1946 the former seminar museum and archive obtained this building. First museum exposititon was open for public in 1952. The current look of the building is result of complete reconstruction from 1970 – 1980 after which the workplace and exposition rooms of Regional museum were made acessible.
Today the visitor can see rich archeologic, artistic, hand-crafted, etnographic and art-industrial collectins documenting the history of Český Krumlov. There can be found gothic sculptures, etnographic displays or interior of baroque Jesuit pharmacy, ceramic model of the town and another 34 000 collection items.
Big lure is unique ceramic model of Český Krumlov, which shows well-presrved state of historical centre of the town. This model in a scale 1:2000, originated in 1977-1984 from colored clay. The model covers an area of 56 hectares of town conservation area, 800 building objects, bends of the Vltava river, even now nonexistent town fortifications, ramparts and gates. In its complete form, the model was first introduced to visitor public at the beginning of 1985 and to this day it belongs to one of the rightfully valued and admired museum exhibits.
Among the other exbits belongs Historical image of Českokrumlovsko from prehistoric times to the ond of 19. century,w hich shows the visitors rich historical development of the region and the town or Baroque Jesuit pharmacy with uniquely well-preserved collection of furnishings of baroque apothecary work room.
The monastery, originally minorite, today serves Knightly order of the Crusaders, was founded in 1350 from iniciative of krumlov ruler Petr I. of Rožmberk and his wife Kateřina as a united monastery of minorites and klariskas with shared church. Until the end of 14. century, there was also a house for lay community for pius women, so-called beguines. The monastery grounds were later used for temporal purpose. In 1995 the order of the Crusaders with red star became new owners.
The grounds of both monasteries in in the northeast part of Latrán, east of the palace, with which it is connected by sheltered corridor. The buildings are grouped around three unequally large courtyard, the center of the grounds is made up by a church with right-angle presbytery.
From Klášterní street, the monastery grounds can be entered by a baroque gate with an emblem of the order of the Crusaders, behind which is located small park called Tramín. From there all parts of the main grounds – church of God’s body, bigger convention of minorites, smaller so-called convention of beguines and a monastery garden, delimited by enclosing wall from Pivovarská street, followed by renaissance part of a brewery and another wall all the way to the chancel of the church.
In the building of the church can be found former library and monastery kitchen. The building is dominated by a tower with a belfry on top. In adjacent garden can be seen baroque gazebo with an attic roof.
Today, the Church of Knihtly order of the Crusaders with red star resides here. The church serves religious purpose and occasionally there are concerts organized there. The remaining part of the grounds cannot be asued at all, due to its state of direpair.
Former church of st. Klára is located in northern part of Latrán. The convention of klariskas itself connects to the complex of buildings of former minorite monastery. Courtyard of the convention (former elysian courtyard) serves as a yard of a block of flats. Remains of upper lordly garden are today used as private gardens and the lower part of the garden serves as a parking lot.
There is very little information from 14. – 18. century about the life of Jews in the region of our town. It seems they were taying there only in small and temporary communities. Only after 1848, when the restrictions of movement and stay, the Jews started to move to bigger cities, where there was an option of business. The main share on development of the jewish community had the Spiro family, which owned a paper mill. In 1891, a very important sign if the communitys existence was fulfulled: as a municipal cemetery, a jewish burial site was made.
The jewish cemetera is located in the eastern part of Česný Krumlov, in close neighborhood of the town cemetery in Hřbitovní street. The cemetery was founded in 1891, to which Ignaz Spiro significantly contributed. He was also the author of the thought of making synagogue Spiro’s family has a tomb in the cemetery and Ignaz himself has a plaque of thanks in the ceremonial hall.
In the interior of the hall, only a reading desk, remains of black funeral stretcher and original tile floor ware presrved. The room is lit up by six tall windows with typical upper arch. Inside there are lists of nazism victims, death record of some of them, newspaper clippings with jewish theme or copis of diary records of Jiří Orten about prohibitions concerning the jewish community during the protectorate. On the southern side of the hall is memorial plaque to MD Julius Lorio.
The area of the cemetery is 2 546 m2 and is bordered by almost 3 metres tall well preserved brick wall. The only gateway with Star of David in the northern part of the cemetery is regularly locked, but you can arrange a tour via the town infocentre. The tombs are located mainly in the southwest part of the cemetery, while its big part in the southwest of the cemetery is unused with only a few trees and bushes. There have been regular funerals until 1938 and the last urn (with the ashes of Peter Ignaz Spiro) was deposited there in 1967. After World War II the cemetery became desolate, there was hay stored in the cemetery building, there were even horses in the grounds. Not until ten years later after the change of political régime was the cemetery reconstructed – there were gardening works, repairment of the cemetery walls and movement of the tombstones.
In total there is 141 people buried in 114 graves, who originated not just from Krumlov but also from at least fifteen more surrounding villages and towns. The last person buried there was Dr. MSc František Herbert Žalud in 1993. The cemetery is now managed by the Jewish community in Prague.
Cesky Krumlov belonge to the most visited sights citys in Czech Republic. Every year it welcomes more than a million visitors from all over the world. And you can be among them!
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