Magical Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic
If you take just one tour from Prague I hope it is to Cesky Krumlov! You won’t be disappointed! Our tour was booked through our hotel in Prague, more on that when I talk about our stay there! In order to see the castle and theater in Krumlov, you must be with a guide. The castle’s theatre is fabulous! I have seen many theaters, but the artwork on the walls of this theater are my favorite of all of them! Europe once had several hundred baroque theaters, using candles for light and fireworks for special effects. Most of them burned down. Today only two survive in good shape and are open to tourists; one at Stockholm’s Drottingholm Palace and one here. Sitting on wooden benches in the theater, we study the hundreds of happy villagers, who are painted on the walls. Everywhere you look, in every nook and cranny, there is a small tabloid! Later we visit under the stage to see the wood-and-rope contraptions that allowed the scenes to be moved about in seconds, while the audience was blinded by smoke or fireworks. Sadly, no pictures are allowed inside, but trust me when I say you will love it!
Cesky Krumlov is a magical village situated on the twisty Vltava River which makes a perfect S through town. Above the Old Town is the Castle Town. The one main street winds through town and over a bridge before snaking through the Castle Town, the Castle Complex of courtyards, and up to the Castle Gardens above the town. The castle is complete with moat, drawbridge and bear pits which still house two brown bears. Tip: If you go with a tour group from Prague, the bus drops you off at the parking lot above town at the castle gardens, and you walk down hill rather than trudging up! Later that day the bus picked us up in town, to take us back to Prague. So easy! We’re starting at the Castle Gardens at the top of town! Let’s go!
The castle wall bricks are not really bricks! These look-a-likes are painted on! Very impressive! They look real! There were a lot of walls to paint!
The town and castle construction began in the late 13th century at the ford in the Vltava River, which was important to trade routes in Bohemia. In 1302 the town and castle were owned by the House of Rosenberg. Due to heavy gambling debts, the town and castle were sold out of the family in 1602 to Emperor Rudolf II, who placed his mad son, Julius d’Austria, in the castle at Krumlov, because he was causing so much terror at home. For an extremely good read about this mad prince and the Castle Krumlov read, The Bloodletter’s Daughter ( A Novel of Old Bohemia), by Linda Lafferty. Bloodletting at that time seemed to be the answer to all woes, draining the bad spirits from the body to make it better. The poor bloodletter’s daughter soon found herself as the caretaker for the mad prince. Intriguing read!
The colorful Round Tower marks the location of the first castle, built here to guard the river crossing. With the 16th century paint scheme carefully restored, it looks exotic, featuring astrological decor, terra-cotta symbols of the zodiac, and a fine arcade.
River rafts or a hard plastic canoe can be rented for a quick 30-minute spin around the village. Or you can go on a 3-hour float and paddle through the bohemian forests and villages of the nearby countryside. Check out the Pujcovna Lodi Malecek Boat Rental. What fun this is!
Eating in Krumlof was a treat at Krema v Satlavske, an old prison with an open fire, and big wooden tables under an open medieval vault, serving grilled meats and beer! We had a great time and great food!
I hope you enjoyed our day out in Cesky Krumlov! Krumlov hosts a number of festivals including the Five-Petalled Rose Festival, (the name derived from the Rosenberg family crest of the five petal red rose) celebrated on the weekend of the summer solstice in June. The International Music Festival, Cesky Krumlov is another festival with international music from varied genres. The festival begins in July and ends in August. What a great way to celebrate summer!