This year, the Czech Republic celebrates the 20th anniversary of the incorporation of its first monuments on the UNESCO List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Come and discover 12 true “jewels of the world”.
There is a reason why Prague is often called one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with an unequalled charm. And how could it not be, as it is interwoven with a plethora of myths, legends and stories passed on over centuries. Here you will find exceptional monuments of all architectural styles. The Old New Synagogue, St. Agnes Convent and Prague Castle, including the St. Vitus Cathedral, are all worth seeing. During the summer tourist season, you will surely be charmed by Prague Castle’s freely accessible gardens. Nor should you forget to visit one of the taverns of Old Prague to quench your thirst with a pint of excellent Czech beer.
Following extensive renovations, as from this February the Tugendhat Villa – a gem of international functionalist architecture – is once again one of the main tourist attractions in the city of Brno. In addition to the main living quarters, you also will be able to tour the truly unique technical floor featuring the air conditioning engine room, a moth-free room for fur cloaks, and servants’ apartments. The outlying garden also underwent a complete revitalisation, offering an attractive view of the city and its many other tourist attractions.
For church tourism enthusiasts in particular, we recommend a visit to Olomouc, where, among other sites, you can see the Holy Trinity Column. It is an exceptional piece in the context of European baroque architectural and sculptural works – unique for its height, decorations and combination of materials. Some sculptural decorations are from stone, while others from gilded copper. A small chapel is hidden inside the column. When you are standing in front of this monument and admire its majesty with your own eyes, it will surely take your breath away.
Fairy-tale Český Krumlov
In this small town in South Bohemia, you will feel as if you have entered a fairy tale. The extensive chateau complex and unique medieval town houses will invite you to wander through streets filled with romantic nooks where many galleries and taverns can be found. In the chateau park, you will discover a theatrical rarity – a revolving auditorium. Or perhaps you may be tempted by a raft ride along the Vltava River winding below the city walls and offering an entirely different view of the town.
Whosoever has some connection with the countryside must include the village of Holašovice on their visit to the Czech Republic. Located in the picturesque landscape of South Bohemia 18 kilometres from the city of České Budějovice, its spacious rectangular central square features 23 protected heritage medieval farmhouses with a total of 120 buildings connected by enclosing walls with gates and arched entrances. Together they represent the most important monument of the so-called “rustic baroque”. If you come here between 20 and 22 July, you can even attend traditional rural festivities whose atmosphere will take you back several hundreds of years.
This town, referred to as the Athens of Haná, offers many interesting sites in a small area. The largest attraction is the Archiepiscopal Chateau with its outlying Flower Garden. The unparalleled beauty created by the combinations of colours will persuade you that gardening is not only a beautiful craft, but can also be an important art form. During 3–6 May, the chateau will hold the traditional Days of the Estates, when tours of the historic halls will be enlivened by firefighters, gamekeepers and soldiers who will tell you share with you information you would not otherwise know about the chateau of Kroměříž!
Silver Kutná Hora
With its history of silver mining and coin minting, this city has since long ago been called the silver treasury of the Kingdom of Bohemia. The city is dominated by a church dedicated to the patron of miners, St. Barbara, constructed over the course of more than 500 years. A visit to the Czech Silver Museum will provide you a wealth of interesting information, and for a time you can even experience life as a mining gnome.
Romantic Lednice–Valtice Cultural Landscape
This landscape area has been connected with the house of Lichtenstein for centuries, as they invested a fortune into the formation of this cultural landscape. At the Valtice and Lednice chateaus you can tour luxurious interiors and wander through extensive parks. You also will certainly be enticed by a romantic cycling trip to its slightly less grand structures, such as the Temple of the Three Graces, Jan’s Castle and the Obelisk. Valtice to this day hides a treasure in its cellars – the Wine Salon, with some of the best wines from the Czech Republic. Likewise, Lednice holds the international competition of ice and straw wines.
The city’s dominant feature is the Renaissance chateau with over eight hundred sgraffiti. When you see this jewel, you will surely be tempted to stroll the historic streets ending in the Cloister Gardens. There, you can have a rest and remember the local-born Czech composer, Bedřich Smetana, in whose memory a musical festival is held here every year.
You will surely fall in love with this town as soon as you take a tour through the downtown. The burghers’ houses were constructed according to an integrated plan, so their arcades and facades form a resplendent unified whole. Moreover, a tour of the Renaissance chateau with the nearby park offers you an unforgettable experience. Telč is located in the south-western tip of Moravia, halfway between Prague and Vienna, and it should definitely not escape your attention during your visit of the Czech Republic.
In Třebíč, a unique former Jewish ghetto has been preserved that is among the important centres of Jewish culture in Moravia. You can best come to know the city’s atmosphere by taking a walk through the crooked alleys with their mysterious passages and nooks. Another precious monument in this city is the three-nave St. Procopius’ Basilica which is a distinctive example of the Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles.
Santini’s Žďár nad Sázavou
The pilgrimage St. John of Nepomuk’s church on Green Mountain is among the true jewels of the city and entire Czech Republic. It was built by one of the greatest architects of the Czech baroque, Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel. This edifice especially stands out when seen from a bird’s eye view. The walls around the church area trace the shape of a ten-pointed star, while the church itself was built in the shape of a five-pointed star. You can admire additional historic buildings as well as modern buildings of contemporary architecture if you follow the Santini bike trail through the beautiful landscape of the Bohemian–Moravian Highlands.