Český Krumlov & surroundings
According to legend, the name Krumlov is derived from the German "Krumme Aue", which may be translated as "crooked meadow". The name comes from the natural topography of the town, specifically from the tightly crooked meander of the Vltava river. The word "Český" simply means Czech, or Bohemian (actually one and the same), as opposed to Moravian or Silesian. In Latin documents it was called Crumlovia or Crumlovium. The town was first mentioned in documents from 1253, where Krumlov was called Chrumbonowe.
The flow of the Vltava River has long been a natural transportation entrance to this region. The area\'s oldest settlement goes back to the Older Stone Age (70,000 - 50,000 B.C.). Mass settlement was noted in the Bronze Age (1,500 B.C.), Celtic settlements in the Younger Iron Age (approx. 400 B.C.) and Slavonic settlement has been dated as from the 6th century A.D.
According to the legend, the family of Witigonen has its origins in Ancient Rome. The family was related to the Roman Ursini family, who is said to have resided on the mountain "Mons Rosarum" near the city of Rome. After Rome was plundered by the hordes of the Visigoth leader Totila in 546, the family left Rome and one of its members named Vítek (in German, Witigon) travelled together with his wife and child up to the north, passed the Donau river and settled in Southern Bohemia. He started a new family there and gradually acquired extensive domains, which he gave to his five sons before his death. Each son received a coat-of-arms with a five-petalled rose, the color of which symbolized each particular dominion.
In 1251 the Bohemian King Přemysl Otakar II gained Austrian lands through marriage to Anna Maria of Bamberg. Přemysl Otakar II, with his well-thought out colonization policy, tried to populate the sporadically settled Šumava region in the Czech-Austrian borderland and this way integrate his domains in Bohemia with his newly gained territories in Austria. His efforts in this sphere, however, had its consequences in territories ruled by the sovereign family of Vítkovci, which resulted in particular centres of conflicts with the most powerful aristocratic family in the country. Conflicts had their origins for example in the foundation of the royal town České Budějovice or the Cistercian Monastery Zlatá Koruna (Golden crown), both founded by King Přemysl Otakar II in 1263. Zlatá Koruna was supposed to restrain the influence of the Rosenberg monastery in Vyšší Brod, founded by Peter Wok von Rosenberg in 1259. Frequent disagreements and armed clashes between Přemysl Otakar II and members of the particular branches of the Vítkovec family eventually weakened the power of the Bohemian King.
The town name was first mentioned in a letter of Duke Otokar Štýrský in 1253. The town was established essentially in two stages. The first part was built spontaneously below the Krumlov castle, called Latrán and settled mostly by people who had some administrative connection with the castle. The name and foundation of this part of town is shrouded in legend as well - the castle and town were allegedly built in a place where the Vítkovci overcame a nest of bandits that had been kidnapping and thieving. To the memory of the villain´s hiding place it was called Latrán (Tales and Legends of Český Krumlov). The reality is, however, more prosaic - latus in latin means lateral, side part and residences below the castle were given this name.
During the rule of the Rosenberg family, the town as well as the castle flourished. Crafts and trade developed, elaborate homes were built, and the town was endowed with various privileges such as the right to mill, brew beer, hold markets, etc. Meat shops and breweries were built, and twice a year there was a fair. In 1376 there were 96 houses in the town.
Peter I von Rosenberg was the sovereign responsible for giving the town its original 14th century appearance. He was brought up in the Cistercian Monastery in Vyšší Brod, and this upbringing had a strong influence on his personality. Under his rule the Rosenberg estates flourished. Peter became first man of the politics of the day and at the same time the richest aristocrat in the country. He founded the St. Vitus Church in Český Krumlov, the hospital by the church of St. Jošt (St. Jošt Church in Český Krumlov) in Latrán, he invited the orders of Claris and Franciscans and had the Chapel of St. George built in the castle. In 1334, on request from King Jan Lucemburský he invited the Jews to the town. Jews were given a special street in the town and in the functions of chamberlains they were especially responsible for the administration of Rosenbergs´ finances. Peter tried to gain a glory equal to the royal court, even marrying the widow of King Václav III (Wenceslas III), Viola Těšínská. Peter´s sons were engaged in royal services; his oldest son Jindřich died in 1346 at the side of Jan Lucemburský in the battle of the Hundred Years´ War at Kreščak.
Peter Wok von Rosenberg, the last member of the family, was forced by debts to sell Krumlov to Emperor Rudolf II of Habsburg in 1601, who placed his illegitimate son Don Julius there for a short period of time. Afterwards three generations of the Eggenbergs held Český Krumlov. Only the third-generation personality Johann Christian I. von Eggenberg influenced the town and castle´s appearance by grand construction works and rich cultural and social events. The family of Eggenbergs died out at the beginning of the 18th century and in 1719 their heirs the Schwarzenbergs came to Krumlov. Český Krumlov overcame the imaginary borders of parochialism for the third time, and with its high level of architecture and cultural and social events reached the level of the leading aristocratic residences in Central Europe. The aristocratic court and standard of living followed the example set by the Emperor´s residence in Vienna. In the 19th century Český Krumlov lost its character of an aristocratic residence; thanks to this it kept its Renaissance-Baroque character. Later constructions were not significant.
Böhmerwaldgau which was to become part of a newly constituted Austria. This movement was suppressed by the Czech army and on the 28th of November the region was occupied by Czech forces. By order of the Ministry of the Interior, from 30th April 1920 the town was renamed from Krumau to Český Krumlov, a name which had already been used in 1439. During World War II there were neither any significant battles in Český Krumlov nor bombing. Krumlov was liberated in 1945 by the American army and the German population was expelled.
Since the mid 1960's, special care has been devoted to the preservation of the historical merits of Český Krumlov; the town was included in 1992 onto UNESCO's List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
Cistercians from Heiligenkreuz, Austria’s principal abbey, were called for by Duke Přemysl Otakar II in 1263 to support his struggle with the Vítkovec dynasty, who were establishing a powerful domain in South Bohemia. Přemysl Otakar II donated to the monastery he founded here an alleged thorn from Christ’s crown, which he had been given by French King Louis IX the Holy. On Přemysl’s request, the monastery was named after the relic, Holy Crown of Thorns (Sancta Corona Spinea). The name was changed to Zlatá Koruna (Crown of Gold) in the early 14th century.
The monastery is situated on a promontory surrounded by the River Vltava on three sides. The convent church, a triple-nave basilica with a transept, is the architectural focus of the grounds. It is facing almost precisely north, with the convent and the cloister adjacent to the south. North of it is the Guardian Angel Chapel, adjoined by the Small Convent. The abbey complex with a brewery lie to the north. Gothic gatehouses used to provide access to its rear courtyard from the east and west.The two-storey Guardian Angel Chapel is the oldest extant building here, dating from around 1370.
The present-day castle stands on the site of a prehistoric fortified settlement.The name Dívčí Kámen (meaning Girls’ Rock) is probably of older origin than the castle built here. This is evidenced by a deed, dated 1349, in which Emperor Charles IV permitted the Rožmberks “to construct a castle in the Kingdom of Bohemia, named in the Czech language Dívčí Kámen.” After the fashion of the time, the Rožmberks teutonised the name to Maidštejn. There is no doubt that the castle was erected with great speed. The burgraviate is mentioned already eleven years later, in 1360. Although the castle was a modern and comfortable dwelling for its time, it was never made a permanent seat of the monarchs; its primary function was that of authority and administration. King Wenceslas IV was imprisoned here briefly in 1394.
The castle was mostly home to a permanent garrison, commanded by the burgrave, numbering ten men including himself. Petr of Rožmberk decided to stop maintaining the castle in 1509, moved its furnishings to Český Krumlov, and Dívčí Kámen is mentioned in written sources as a desolate castle as of 1541. Five hundred years after being abandoned by its founding dynasty, the castle became the property of the town of Křemže. The castle is nowadays a regular venue for concerts, historical, fencing and theatre performances, medieval markets, lectures, and exhibitions. Thanks to the combination of a rock formation, meandering streams, and human intervention, the site is very rich in terms of botany and zoology. That is why the castle area was declared a nature reserve, while being part of the Blanský Les Protected Landscape Area.
It would truly be a hard put to place more charm in a smaller place, than south-bohemian UNESCO-enlisted village Holašovice. Though, this hamlet offers an elegant and convincing answer to the first task, which makes it one of the most beautiful villages in the Czech Republic. Extremely preserved baroque town square, together with surrounding green farms, made the enlistment sure for Holašovice. On the other hand, the history of the village well exceeds historical frame of Baroque – town celebrated eight hundred years of existence not a long time ago. Still, however it may look like, Holašovice is no open-air museum and most of the buildings are permanently inhabited, always keeping colorful traditions of South Bohemia. In case this all would not be enough for you, it’s possible to recommend the “Holašovice Stonehenge”, which offers not only the mystic of ancient Celtic ceremonial site, but as well stuns its visitors with views of Holašovice, as well as majestic chateaux Hluboká nad Vltavou located nearby.
Holaschowitz - Holašovice is a small historic village located in the south of the Czech Republic, 15 kilometres west of České Budějovice. Village belongs to the municipality Jankov. To the south lies the protected landscape area of Blanský Forest. The village was deserted after the Second World War, allowing its medieval plan and vernacular buildings in the South Bohemian Folk or Rural Baroque style to remain intact. It was restored and repopulated from 1990, and it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Holašovice is first mentioned in 1263. In 1292, King Wenceslaus II gave the village and several others to the Cistercian monastery of Vyšší Brod. It remained the property of the monastery until 1848. Between 1520 and 1525, Holašovice was nearly wiped out by the bubonic plague. Only two of its inhabitants survived. A column erected over the plague grave at the north end of the village commemorates this event. The monastery gradually repopulated the village with settlers from Bavaria and Austria. By 1530, the population had risen to 17, according to the monastery's records, and it had become a mainly German-speaking enclave within the Czech language area. By 1895, there were 157 inhabitants of German ethnic origin and 19 of Czech ethic origin. After the displacement of German residents at the end of the Second World War, many farms in the village were deserted and fell into disrepair. Holašovice became a desolate and abandoned place under the Czech post-war Communist regime. From 1990, the village was lavishly restored and inhabited once more. It now has a population of around 140.
Hluboká nad Vltavou
Aan early Gothic castle was erected on a rocky promontory over the Vltava probably in the mid 13th century. It was probably founded by Czech King Wenceslas I. By establishing the castle, he intended to restrain the growing economic and political powers of the Lords of the Rose (the Vítkovec dynasty) in the south of the Kingdom of Bohemia. Throughout its history, the castle underwent several upgrades.
Around 1830, the then owners, the young couple Jan Adolf II and Eleonora of Schwarzenberg, began to consider a rebuilding of the Baroque Hluboká, no longer up to their growing needs, in the spirit of Romantism, which was gaining momentum at the time. They wanted to create a smart countryside residence after the English model, which would resemble as closely as possible the Tudor palaces with their many spires, battlements, and alcoves, which they became familiar with when visiting England.
An English-style park extends in the chateau’s vicinity. The original riding hall with an open roof truss now houses collections of the South Bohemian Aleš Art Gallery.
Slavonic tribes probably inhabited this area as early as the 6th century. There is evidence of a minor settlement on the right bank of the river, approximately 1 km north of the confluence, dating to the beginning of the 13th century. The settlement was called Budivojovice after its owners, who were an important noble family called Budivoj.
Establishment of České Budějovice - In 1265 King Přemysl Otakar II (probably 1233 - 1278) established a new royal town here as part of his efforts to strengthen his power in the southern part of Bohemia. As this happened almost “on the green meadow“, the architects could design the town centre and adjacent streets in a very magnanimous way. The large square and the right-angled network of wide streets are still a perfect example of a modern medieval town of the north-Italian type. A strategically convenient place, protected from two sides by the Vltava and Malše rivers, was chosen. A water channel called Mlýnská stoka (the Mill Channel), which was partly manmade, protected the town in the north and east. Construction of the town fortification was underway at the same time.
České Budějovice during the reign of Charles IV - In the 14th century direct royal influence on the town‘s affairs began to weaken and power gradually went into the hands of burghers. In about the middle of the 14th century, King Charles IV granted several important privileges to České Budějovice. It was forbidden to brew beer in a circumference of one mile around the town and no craftsmen could settle there. All merchants were obliged to stop in České Budějovice on their way from Austria and to offer their goods for sale there. It was also thanks to these privileges that the town began to flourish.
The town prospered in the 15th and 16th centuries due to profitable trade with salt, brewing, trading in pond management and fishing, and thanks to silver mines in the surroundings of today‘s Rudolfov (a mint operated in České Budějovice from 1569 to 1611). This prosperity was reflected especially in building development of the town - the burghers rebuilt their dwellings into grand Renaissance houses and the Black Tower, which is 72 m high, was built.
Česke Budějovice twice became a hiding place of the Czech crown jewels during the Thirty Years‘ War. The jewels were stored and carefully guarded in the Church of St. Nicholas. Huge fire in 1641 that destroyed more than half of the houses in the town. However, this disaster initiated new construction, among others the first purely Baroque structure in České Budějovice, the Capuchin convent with the Church of St. Anne.
České Budějovice continued to prosper as late as the 18th century. An ostentatious Baroque town hall was built at that time (1727 - 1730) as well as Samson‘s Fountain and the water tower, and a statue was erected in front of each of the town gates. An important moment, which improved the education of the town‘s inhabitants, was the arrival of the Piarists, who founded a Latin grammar school and a Piarist college. Another significant year in the town‘s history is 1751, when České Budějovice first became the administrative centre of the newly-established Region of České Budějovice. Emperor Joseph II closed two convents in the town as part of his church reforms, but in 1785 he made České Budějovice a bishopric.
The industrial revolution of the 19th century brought about major changes to the town. A horse-drawn tramway linking České Budějovice to the Austrian towns of Linz (in 1832) and Gmunden (1836) was built in the period from 1827 to 1836. It was the first railway in continental Europe. In 1949 České Budějovice became a regional town and in 1952 its historic centre was declared a Town Conservation Area. The period after 1989 was a time of major changes - culture and sport developed, tourism increased, modern industry flourished (Bosch, Madeta, Budvar, etc.). The University of South Bohemia was founded in 1991. A significant project was the transformation of the former military airport in Planá u Českých Budějovic into a civil transportation airport (it is to be opened in 2014).
Monastery Vyšší Brod
The first written mention of the town is from 1259. The settlement existed before the founding of the monastery. The monastery was founded in 1259 by Peter Wok von Rosenberg on one of the old trade routes. It gradually acquired property through its supporters, and after the Rosenbergs died out became completely financially independent of its protective nobility seated at the Český Krumlov castle. In 1422, the monastery became the target of one of the Hussite army's military campaigns. After the abolition of feudalism, the economic and political significance of the monastery fell, and its activity was limited to religious affairs and taking care of its own properties. In the 1950's Vyšší Brod lost its status as a town, but regained this status by Czech Parliamentary decision on July 1, 1994.
Cistercian Vyšší Brod Monastery with fortifications - founded in 1259 by Wok von Rosenberg. Monastery church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary - founded in 1259. The church gradually underwent many constructional changes which notably changed its original early Gothic appearance. The oldest preserved part is today's sacristy. Under the chancel are the Rosenberg family graves. Dean church of St. Bortholemew - originally early Gothic, founded in 1259, modified in the 16th century, reconstructed in the 17th century. The Cistercians, connected by culture to the educated French environment, where the order originated from, and by maintaining frequent contacts with the Austrian countries, where they came to the Monastery of Vyšší Brod from, spread their independent artistic feelings, were establishing new villages and promoting modern forms of farming.
Mount Kleť (1,084m) and the country’s oldest viewing towerstands called Josef’s Tower, named after Josef Schwarzenberg who had it built is another highlight of the Cesky Krumlov region. Kleť is the tallest point of the Blanský Les Mountains. It has a unique circular view. The viewing tower was built in 1822-1825, the oldest extant stone viewing tower in Bohemia, commanding views of the Alps in cold weather. A mountain lodge was built on Kleť in 1925, a century after the foundation of the tower.
Kleť can be accessed by walking paths from several places in the region, such as Český Krumlov, Zlatá Koruna, Holubov, Křemže, Brloh, and Chvalšiny. A chair lift can take you up (and down) from Krásetín near Holubov. The observatory and planetarium, of world renown nowadays, were built by self-help in 1958-1961.
If you want to add a bit of excitement to your day, hire an all-terrain scooter, a map and a helmet, and set off on a thrilling ride down from the top of Kleť. You can head for Český Krumlov, Krásetín or Zlatá Koruna. The scooters are available year round and in July and August can be hired every day.
Cable railway was brought to operating on July 1 1961. Construction lasted two years and part on it took Transporta Chrudim, Elektrozávody Praha and Vodní stavby Tábor. First time ever in Czechoslovakia were used tube struts, new pulley batteries with rubber bandage holding. Lenght of cable railway is 1792 m, camber is 383 m, there are 100 firmly attached seats, transport capacity is 220 persons/hour and during its existence it has conveyed more than 3 000 000 passangers.
The first post-war hydraulic structure was constructed on the upper stretch of the Vltava, near the timbermen’s settlement of Lipno, with the purpose of harnessing the river’s energy potential. Two graded dams were built successively. Lipno I is the main dam, with Lipno II added above Vyšší Brod as a balancing reservoir for water discharged from the upper lake. The structure was erected in 1952-1959. The lake, nestled amid the charming Šumava Mountains, is rightly called the South Bohemian Sea, and exploited for summer holidays, lake cruises, and efficient aquaculture. It is the largest body of water in the Czech Republic, extending 44 km in length and up to 14 km in width in the widest point near Černá v Pošumaví. The average depth is 6.5 metres and the maximum depth is 21 metres; the total surface area of the lake is 4,659 hectares (or 12,115 acres).
Castle ruin Vitkuv Kamen
The castle ruin from 13th century is the highest located castle in the Czech Republic. During sunny days You can enjoy the panorama of Alps mountatin. There is nice hiking route from Frymburk by ferry to Frýdava (Předmostí) - by the yellow line up 2 km to the cross-roads under Bukový hill, join the red line and continue to the village Svatý Tomáš (Gothic church) - up to the ruin of Vítkův Kámen (sometimes called Vítek´s Castle, Gothic castle), and back to Svatý Tomáš - continue by the red line to Přední Výtoň, from there take the cycle road 1019 following the shore of the Lipno lake back to Frýdava, and ferry back to Frymburk. It takes approx. 4 - 5 hours.
Prague and other spots
Prague is not only the capital but also the biggest and most important city in the Czech Republic. It is situated in the centre of Bohemia and also, it can be said, of Europe. It stands in the rugged territory of the Prague basin, which is penetrated by adjacent spurs of the Central Bohemian Hills. For instance, the highest point of Petřín Hill, near the look-out tower, is about 326 m above sea level. The Hradčany headland, where Prague Castle stands, is around 250 m above sea level, while the level of the Vltava River near the Charles Bridge is about 182 m above sea level.
Archaeological discoveries have established the presence of people in the Prague basin a million years ago. The oldest settlements, however, were not permanent; people at that time followed the nomadic life-style of hunting tribes and, in some periods, they were displaced by the excessively severe climate. From the later Stone Age, the Prague area was settled continuously and it was often the focus of primaeval development in Bohemia. At the beginning of this period, a fundamental change occurred; new colonists appeared, who had already developed skill in agriculture.
In the new era, Bohemia and Prague basin became a target for trade from the Roman Empire. Around the middle of the 6th century, Slavs appeared in the Prague basin and after the movements of ethnic groups in the period of the so-called Migration of Peoples, they established themselves as the permanent inhabitants.
The settlement was called by the ancient Slavs prag or prah (i.e. threshold). From here, evidently, comes the modern name of the city.In the course of time, a Slavic tribe, the Czechs, seems to have settled and controlled Prague basin and neighbourhood, primarily the area to the West of the Vltava. In this enclave was also situated Levý Hradec - the seat of the Czech tribal duke, who derived his origin from the legendary Přemysl. The baptism of the first historic Czech duke, Bořivoj the First,(about 855-889) in Great Moravia (together with economic and social developments) led, in the 9th and 10th centuries, to the union of tribes settled in the Bohemian area; thus there was a reorganisation of the settlement structure in Prague basin region which resulted in the formation of a feudal state. As a consequence of the foundation of Prague Castle (around 885) as the main seat of the Přemyslid dukes and the establishment of Vyšehrad (in the first half of the 10th century), the centre of habitation shifted into neighbouring new localities and grew.
The development and influence of Christianity was enhanced in the early Czech state by the establishment of the Prague Bishopric (about 973) as a consequence of the diplomatic initiative of Duke Boleslav (apparently already the Second), under whose rule the permanent union of the Czech lands was forged. This was achieved in the then customary way of the time, i.e., by the slaughter of the most mighty competitor of the Přemyslids, the clan Slavník at Libice near Poděbrady (995). The ever-increasing political significance of the Přemyslids from the middle of the 11th century necessitated the rebuilding of the Prague settlement to an ever-stronger mediaeval castle, strategically complemented by Vyšehrad on the right bank of the Vltava. Most probably in the course of the second half of the 11th century, the centre of economic life started to shift from the area around the Castle (on the left bank of the Vltava) to the opposite side. At the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries, the chronicler Cosmas wrote about flourishing settlements around Prague Castle and Vyšehrad, and about the existence of enclaves of German, Jewish, and Mediterranean merchants in the Prague area. Around the year 1100, a large marketplace on the right bank of the Vltava, in the locality of the present Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí), is documented for the first time. Just here a fortified small court was set up for the Czech duke; in the course of time it became a customshouse and a place where foreign merchants found refuge (the area now known as Týn and Ungelt). The connection between Prague Castle and the marketplace near the Týn was secured, from 1172, by the stone Judith Bridge, built several meters to the north of the present Charles Bridge.
From 1198, the Czech principality permanently became a kingdom. The hereditary character of the royal title was confirmed by the Golden Bull of Sicily (1212). This promotion also contributed to the acceleration of the development of communities around Prague Castle on the left bank and more particularly on the right bank of the Vltava. Around the Old Town marketplace and its neighbourhood, the process of town development reached its peak; the inhabitants of the hitherto independent dispersed settlements around Prague Castle became subjects of the borough (burghers) and gained urban privileges and prerogatives from the sovereign. An external manifestation of the change was the building of a wall which, after 1230, enclosed the broad area around the marketplace, including the housing around the St Gall (Havel in Czech) Church, which had mainly been inhabited by immigrants from Germany. The Havel Town merged together with the Old Town before the end of the 13th century. On the opposite side of the Vltava, in the disestablished old settlement, the King (Přemysl Otakar the Second) founded a New Town below Prague Castle (later Lesser Town) in 1257, and had a wall built around it. At that time, in Bohemia and elsewhere in Europe, the fashion for romanesque architecture was in decline; half a century later, the reign of the first Czech royal dynasty (the Přemyslids) also concluded, as a result of the murder of King Václav the Third in Olomouc (1306).
The peak of prosperity of Prague boroughs, the building of which proceeded in the spirit of the new Gothic style, arrived under the rule of Emperor Charles the Fourth (1346-1378). This sovereign made Bohemia the centre of the Holy Roman Empire, and Prague its royal seat. On the right bank of the Vltava, he founded (1348) and built the New Town, a district conceived in the then modern way, which encircled the Old Town in a broad swathe. He founded the Charles University (1348), the oldest university in Central Europe, and initiated the establishment of the Prague Archbishopric. He built the stone bridge (Charles Bridge), commissioned the erection of St Vitus Cathedral in the Prague Castle area, and enclosed parts of the city on the left bank of the Vltava into a fortification - Hradčany and the Lesser Town (Malá strana). Under Charles the Fourth, Prague became the largest and richest town in Central Europe. The Prague agglomeration was then one vast building site but,at the same time, also the centre of the most progressive trends in all categories of art. The predominant part of Charles’ monumental design was completed under the rule of Wenceslas the Fourth (1378-1419), except for St Vitus Cathedral, which remained but a fragment for five centuries, as a reminder of the imperial preeminence of Prague.
Alongside the unprecedented town planning and architectural development of the city, the first serious social antagonisms began to appear. This led, after Charles’ death, to the formation of a gradually deepening social crisis and to a reform movement, the leading representative of which was Master Jan Hus (John Hus - ca. 1371-1415). The crisis came to a head after Hus was burnt to death at the stake in Constance (6th July 1415), after Master Jeronym of Prague had suffered a similar fate, and it was a prelude - as a consequence of the short-sighted policy of the Council of Constance and the Papal Court in the following years - to revolution. The impulse was the first Prague defenestration, which occurred after an attack against the New Town Hall by the Prague urban poor (1419). They were led by a radical priest, Jan Želivský, and later, by Jan Žižka of Trocnov (ca. 1360-1424), a professional warrior, who never learned the bitter experience of military defeat in battle. After the death of Václav the Fourth, nothing could stop the course of revolutionary events. Hussites in Prague eliminated the power of the Church and that of the rigorous Catholic patricians, in particular the Germans, and successfully resisted the Crusade led by the Emperor Sigismund (1420) to become a decisive power factor in the country. Apparently, it was at that time that the Latin device Praga caput regni (Prague, head of the kingdom) originated; it is carved above a Renaissance window in the present wedding room in the Old Town Hall. However, after murdering Jan Želivský (1422) and suppressing the poor, the Prague Hussite middle classes abandoned the revolution, as had the predominant part of the Czech nobility, and thus contributed to the eventual defeat of the movement (1434). As a reward, they kept their acquired possessions and their privileged political position at the head of the city estate.
The religiously - and socially - motivated Hussite revolution (1419-1434), combined with crusading invasions and later Hussite raids abroad, understandably brought no benefit either to Prague or to the country as a whole. The conflict stopped all building activity for a long time. Of the Lesser Town, the greater part of Hradčany, and Vyšehrad, only ruins remained; many monasteries, churches and houses were plundered - the damage could not be expressed in figures. The fate of Vyšehrad, which has never recovered from the disaster, almost overcame Prague Castle as well.
The reconstruction of the destroyed city only began under the rule of King Jiří of Poděbrady (1458-1471) and it continued under the rule of King Vladislav the Second, Jagiello (1471-1516), when even luxurious buildings were constructed. The most significant were the Powder Tower (Prašná brána), the Vladislav Hall, and the rebuilt reception and utility rooms for the sovereign and his court in Prague Castle, which Vladislav the Second was able to occupy at the end of the 15th century. He moved from the Old Town King’s Court in the locality of the present Municipal House (Obecní dům), which had been the seat of his predecessors, beginning with occasional visits by Václav the Fourth. From here, the coronation processions of Czech Kings used to enter the area of the Old Town (Staré Město) through the Powder Tower; they continued through Celetná Street to the Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí), then through Charles (Karlova) Street to Charles Bridge (Karlův most) and via the Lesser Town Square (Malostranské náměstí) and present Nerudova Street to Prague Castle. This triumphal route, the only such route in Europe, which hosts of tourists enjoy today, is rightly called the Royal Route.
The privileged position of the middle classes and the dominant role of Prague were shattered by the accession of the Habsburgs to the Czech throne (1526). The inhabitants of Prague were involved in an unsuccessful uprising of the estates against the emperor Ferdinand the First, so Prague lost most of its property and freedoms, and most of all its political independence and prestige. Before that, in 1541, the biggest fire in its history devastated the town, consuming the predominant part of the Lesser Town (Malá Strana) and Hradčany. At that time, irreplaceable state records, the foundation stone of private and public law in the country, were burnt in Prague Castle. In contrast to this decline and disaster, Prague experienced a period of intense renaissance rebuilding and superficial prosperity in the second half of the 16th century. Many lovely houses and aristocratic palaces, decorated with gables, loggias, sgraffiti, and other features, appeared.
In Prague Castle, a garden area was developed, including the renowned typical Renaissance-style King’s Summer House. So the new style of architecture grew side by side with the city’s original Gothic ground plan and character. The significance of Prague was again considerably increased by Emperor Rudolf the Second (ruled 1576-1611), who in 1584 definitively relocated his court to Prague Castle and, for the second time, made the town the focal point of the Holy Roman Empire. His court was a meeting place of artists, scholars (and also charlatans) from all over Europe. He loved art, and believed in astrology and alchemy; he was a passionate collector of antiques and of all kinds of rarities. During his life, he amassed a unique world collection of art objects of immense value in Prague Castle. Though Rudolf took less and less interest in ruling, and succumbed to severe depressions, his influence on the character of the time was unmistakeable. He stimulated artistic interests in aristocrats and rich burghers, who invited notable Italian artists - representatives of the Italian Renaissance, who were successfully competing with Protestant German and Dutch influences. No wonder that this period is today called Rudolfinian.
A definitive full stop to the Rudolfinian chapter was made by the insurrection of the Czech Estates against the Habsburgs in the years 1618-1620; it began with the second Prague defenestration, when the Imperial governors and a scribe were thrown out of the windows of Prague Castle. The Czech insurrection became the first phase of the European Thirty Years’ War, which brought mercenary service to full prosperity. Unfortunately, once again, Bohemia and Moravia became the most frequently disputed theatre of war. Though the Prague boroughs, predominantly Utraquist, played only a passive role in the insurrection, they were afflicted by extensive confiscations, fines and re-Catholization to an extraordinary extent after the defeat at White Mountain (Bílá hora) near Prague(November 8th, 1620). This entailed forced emigration for non-Catholics, and considerable social and political decline for the Prague middle classes in general. In the years 1631 and 1632, the city was occupied by Saxon troops; a heavy plague raged here in 1639 and, at the very end of the war in 1648, Swedes tried to conquer Prague, managing to plunder the Lesser Town and Hradčany extensively, and to take away a predominant part of Rudolf’s collections from Prague Castle. Moving the Imperial court and all the important authorities to Vienna then demoted Prague to the status of a stagnant provincial town, the number of inhabitants of which decreased, when compared with the year 1620, by more than half (from 60 to 26 thousand). In spite of these great losses, a remarkable level of building activity was beginning; especially after the great fire in the Old Town (1689), it reshaped the city, hitherto mediaeval in character despite all the changes, to a style prevailingly Baroque. The city has retained the shape of Prague Baroque essentially up to the present day.
In the 18th century, Prague saw a series of dramatic events, especially in connection with the war of Austrian inheritance after the accession of Maria Theresa to the throne. For instance, occupation by the French, Bavarians and Saxons (in the years 1741-1742) and conquest by troops of the Prussian King, Friedrich the Second (1744). Also, the Seven Years’ War with Prussia entailed distress for the city dwellers. In contrast, in more quiet times, Prague became famous for an admirably cultured social and, in particular, musical life (for instance, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, among others).
By the Imperial decree of Josef the Second on February 12th, 1784, the city’s historical boroughs - Hradčany, Lesser Town, Old Town, and New Town - were united in one entity, Prague, the capital of the Czech kingdom (with ca. 76,000 inhabitants). In 1850, the Jewish ghetto, Josefov, was annexed to Prague. In the second half of the 19th century, the boroughs named above were denoted, in the order given, by Roman numerals - Prague I to V. In the framework of some over-hasty and not properly considered Josefinian reforms, some churches and monaseries were dissolved and destroyed.
In architecture, from the third quarter of the 18th century, Prague was changing and expanding with new Neo-Classical, Empire, and romantic buildings and with reconstructions of others. Because Neo-classicism expressed the rationality of Josefinian reforms, urban tenement houses, schools, hospitals and other buildings were built in this style. The building regulations of the year 1780 were determining, for instance, such significant features as the width of streets, the maximum permitted height of buildings, the design of roofs, etc.
With the development of manufacturing and, ultimately, industrial production, the number of inhabitants began to rise in such a way that the enclosed area of the city, unchanged since the time of Charles the Fourth, ceased to satisfy the requirements of the time, especially after the Napoleonic Wars. Factories could no longer be built inside the city walls, nor was it possible to increase the density of population in the Baroque Prague fortress. For this reason, adjacent to the Prague fortifications, the first industrial suburbs (Karlín, Smíchov, Holešovice, Libeň) originated from the beginning of the 19th century. Textile production, predominantly the printing of cotton, still dominated Prague industry but, from the 1830s, mechanical engineering started to develop as a new branch. The requirements of industry enforced the setting-up of both inner municipal transport and outer connections from Prague. This was understood well by the Governor of the Czech Kingdom, Count Chotek (in office 1826-1843), whose period of activity constituted a significant era in the development of Prague. The chain Bridge of Emperor Franz was built in the place of the present Bridge of Legions, the embankment with the monument of the same Emperor (today Smetana Embankment), the twisting road (Chotkova) from Klárov to the Bruská Gate (opposite the summer house Belvedere), and many other projects were accomplished. For instance, a port was built in Karlín and, in 1841, steam navigation started on the Vltava. To connect Prague with the provinces and the rest of Europe, a station for the state railway steam trains was built inside the city walls in Hybernská Street in the 1840s. For several rail routes, tunnels (with massive doors which were closed at night) were made in the city fortifications.
As early as 1827, the number of inhabitants of the historical core of Prague exceeded 100,000, and the suburbs were also densely populated. Population growth strengthened the Czech component among the inhabitants, especially in the suburbs, whereas in the historical core of the city, the number of German inhabitants stagnated from the 1830s. Under these circumstances, social antagonisms often merged with national antipathy. The second half of the 19th century, when the growing industry substantially changed the structure of the Prague agglomeration, was marked by the Prussian occupation of 1866. A dramatic change in the appearance of the city was the subsequent demolition of a substantial part of the redundant city walls.
The Sokol Rallies (from 1882), the country’s Jubilee Exhibition (1891), and the Ethnographic Exhibition (1895) formed part of the rich social life enjoyed by the middle classes in the late 19th century. By the division of the university into Czech and German components (1882) and by the foundation of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts (1890), new centres of Czech scientific and cultural life prospered alongside older institutions (The Royal Czech Society of Sciences and the National Museum)./p>
After the First World War (1914-1918) and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Prague became the capital of the newly-formed state of Czechoslovakia (28th October, 1918), the seat of the President of the republic, the Parliament, and the Government. One of the unpropitious legacies of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was the territorial and administrative division of the Prague conurbation. The intense growth of industrial production, contingent on the development of new branches of industry (automotive, aircraft and electrotechnical), and the continuous urbanization of neighbouring districts and villages necessitated extensive territorial reorganization. In 1922, 37 neighbouring villages were incorporated with the hitherto eight Prague boroughs. In this way, Greater Prague was formed with 19 boroughs and 676,000 inhabitants; this number rose to one million by the Second World War. The numbering of the newly annexed parts with Roman numerals logically followed the previous numbering (Prague IX to XIX).
After the Second World War, the division of Prague boroughs was adjusted several times for the purpose of public administration. Further neighbouring villages were incorporated, and the city subdivisions were then denoted by Arabic numerals. This insensitive approach to the unification of Prague culminated in an administrative reorganization in 1960, which reduced the number of boroughs to ten with new boundaries recorded in the land registry; this even affected the historic parts of the city. In almost every case, fragments, formerly parts of other neighbourhoods or boroughs, became incorporated; for instance, Prague 2 came to comprise the southern part of the New Town, Vyšehrad, part of Nusle, and the Western part of Vinohrady. Prague has been fighting with this bizarre, andrather arbitrary, division ever since.The oldest graphic depiction of Prague is a xylograph in the schedel Chronicle, published in Nuremberg in 1493; some experts assign the work to the young Albrecht Dürer. Filip van den Bossche, Václav Hollar (1607-1677), Vincenc Morstadt (1802-1875), Samuel Prout and others rank among further well-known artists recording the appearance of old Prague.The characteristic attributes golden, hundred-spired were applied to Prague by the German writer and historian, Josef Hormayer, at the beginning of the 19th century. Allegedly, in order to check Hormayer’s statement, a famous Czech philosopher and mathematician, Bernard Bolzano, (1781-1848) counted the Prague spires for the first time. He actually counted 103 of them. But it is quite possible that the sequence was reversed: first Bolzano counted the spires and then Hormayer wrote the poetry.
Almost for 7 centuries Hrádek - eyewitness of the beginning of the town of Kutná Hora - overlooks the valley of the river Vrchlice. It was standing here probably already before the silver rush attracted entrepreneurs and adventurers into this area and brought into existence a mining town, “second in the land right after Prague”. As a wooden fortress, Hrádek towered above a slope, from which it guarded a trade route crossing the countryside. At the turn of the 13th and the 14th century, it was joined on the slope by a fortified manor-house built up for purposes of newly established central royal mint, the Italian Court of later.
In the first quarter of the 14th century where the first written document of Hrádek originated, there was no St. James Church with its typical tower here, no St. Barbara Cathedral and several centuries were still to pass until the panorama of Kutná Hora was completed by the long silhouette of baroque Jesuit College. A long and eventful history awaited Hrádek. Wooden, probably fortified redoubt transformed at the time, when the Czech king himself was building his residence in the mint of Kutná Hora, into stone palace of urban style, which came into possession of Václav of Donín, a favourite of king Václav IV. Even though fires of the town in the years of Hussite revolution consumed most of the written documents including those about history of Hrádek at that time, it is sure it became imposing residence and by its three-floor tower and high gables dominated among others stone buildings of the town. Its owners, the real as well as those holding it only as a debt security, were coming and going, families of the king’s favourites, municipal and royal officials and newly rich ore merchants were passing through Hrádek. The most significant among them was Jan Smíšek of Vrchoviště, ore and copper merchant, proprietor of mines and several urban houses, member of a large house of lords of Vrchoviště. Till now we admire artificial stone carvings with mining motives as well as painted ceilings, ones of the first expressions of Renaissance in Bohemia, which were created during generous reconstruction of Hrádek in the Jagellonian age. It was apparently secretly and illegally smelted silver ore and unscrupulous trades that made it possible for lord Smíšek to make such a great investment in his residence. In those days Hrádek became a real pretentious palace with great halls, oriels, tower and even with a chapel. Even though much of this gothic appearance was destroyed by the following proprietors – first of all Jesuits – (for instance a big relief slab above the portal into the banqueting hall or high gothic roofs with gables) so much has survived till now that we can without exaggerating call Hrádek one of the purest expression of by rebuilding untouched Czech Gothic style.
Through a long time the halls of Hrádek were changing from rooms of the Jesuit gymnasium to classrooms of a school and teacher’s institute until in 1910 the town bought Hrádek intending to carry out its restoration and place a museum there. But this intention was not realised until after World War II. The Museum finally settled into the building and in the halls an exposition of the Mining Museum was opened. But the promising development lasted only until the beginning of 1970s. Then the exposition was closed and a new stage of reconstruction was supposed to start. But the interiors of Hrádek remained closed for almost twenty years and waited for completion of major reconstruction works until the middle of 1990s.
Unofficial opening of the new museum exposition of the Czech Museum of Silver on the newly reconstructed first floor took place in March 1996 for a precious visit, Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh. This event ushered in a new, socially rich life of Hrádek. The most precious exhibits documenting history of the silver town that used to be an economical base of the Bohemian kingdom returned into the halls of the Museum. Once again, you can hear sounds of concerts and banquets here, festive and diplomatic meetings take place, news conferences are held. Almost no important event can be done without visit of “Hrádek upon Vrchlice”. It is not only destination of diplomatic visits, but also of many tourists. The exposition is seen, on average, by 40 000 people per year.
According to the local legend, the foundation of Telč is connected with the victory of the Moravian Duke Otto II. over the Czech Duke Břetislav in 1099. It is said that in the memory of the battle the victor established first a chapel, later a church and then a community, which is the Old Town today
The only historical proof is the documentation of a seigniorial estate and watch tower with a little church, which was the residence of the royal administrator. This royal property, Telč was paid out by Charles IV, firstly it was redeemed (1335) and secondly it was exchanged with Jindřich of Hradec for the border castle Banov (1339). This family started founding a new Telč. Menhart of Hradec is supposed to have built the castle, church, water fortification and Gothic houses around the large marketplace. The town started to expand after 1354, and in spite of rapid development – it was granted the rigth to carry out capital sentences and the right to hold annual markets by Charles IV, it used to suffer from fires (in 1386 the whole western half of the square including the church and town hall were burnt out) and later still from the Hussites rebellions.
According to the Town Chronicle established in 1359 (and later lost) the town of Telč was – except for the castle – conquered in 1423 by the Hussites´army led by Jan Hvězda of Vicemilice. The recovery ot the town required quite a long time, although it was awarded additional privileges in the fifteenth century (fairs, brewing, the sale of salt). Zachariáš of Hradec takes over the Telč estate and both the town and castle enjoy the period of prosperity. This enlightened and rich magnate (also thanks to the mariage with Kateřina of Wallenstein) greatly renovates the Gothic castle and constructs joining it a chateau in the Renaissance style. Italian workmen invited to the castle help the burghers to rebuild the Gothic dwellings into the neat houses with attractive facades and arcades. At the same time the town water mains and new hospital were built, and new ponds, trades and new ways of management were established. Zachariáš as well as other men of the Hradec family die without male offspring, and thus Lucie Ottilie, sister of the last of them brings her husband, Vilém Slavata (a well-known governor who had played his role within the Prague Defenestration in 1618) to the Telč estate (as well as to Hradec), together with a new noble family. The rule of the Slavatas was affected by the Thirty Years’ War.
Telč as well as the whole region suffers under the Swedish (and also the Imperial) Armies. In 1645 for a short period the town was even occupied and plundered by the Swedish forces. The estate was managed by the men of the family (Vilém, Jáchym Oldřich, Ferdinand Vilém), the history of the town was, however, most influenced by Jáchym’s widow whose maiden name was Františka, the Countess of Meggau. She invited the Jesuits to Telč, she had their college built directly opposite the chateau (1655), also the Church of the Name of Jesus (1667) was built, and the former malting house below the parish church was reconstructed to the hostel of St. Angels (resembling a temple music school), in addition she founded a new cemetery at Podoli (1676). At the same time also the Jesuit Latin Grammar School, pharmacy and meteorological centre were founded. The Slavatas rule also ended without any male progeny and the last son of Františka, Jan Karel Jáchym, the general superior of the Carmelite Order, in spite of the Pope’s Dispensation refuses to return to the family estate. Thus the Lichtenstein-Kastelkorn family succeed to Telč, but again the first of them – František Antonín (who built the church of St.
Jan z Nepomuku and widened the chapel of St. Vojtěch) dies in 1761 without a heir. His relative on the distaff side, Alois the Count Podstatsky, unified the coast-of-arms of both the families in 1762. Then the Podstatsky-Lichtensteins managed the Telč estate until 1945 when the last members of the family were espelled to Austria. The befinning of the 18th century was characterised by oppression from the holders of authority, but then it is possible to register the rise of the middle-class, and the wealthy townspeople help beautify their town with public fountains, the Marian Column, statues and chapels. In the second half of the century the town experiences the reforms of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II: in 1773 righs of the Jesuit Order were cancelled (the college is rebuilt into an army barracks) one year later the same happened to the Grammar School while the church of the Holy Spirit and other chapels were cancelled in 1785. This period seems to be the beginnings of germanisation at schools, in the public life and even in the families. The beginning of the 19th century represents the rise of industrialisation. The Lang factory manufacturing cloths begins in the former Slavata’s yard, this factory had as many as 600 employees. The second half of the 19th century brings a reinforcement of national political maturity.
An important role was played by the schools founded in 1852. Thanks to the teachers and professors as well as to all the others who were operating there (publisher Šolc and others) there rose a few associations (the Civic Beseda, Omladina (a youth association), Sokol, the National Unity) and Telč played an important role within the whole region of Southwest Moravia. With regard to communications, the isolation of the town ended by the construction of the railway connecting Kostelec with Telč in 1898 and by its additional branch leading from Telč via Slavonice to Schwarzenau in Austria. Also new cultural and economic life started to develop. No matter how much Telč vitalised, grew and spread, the inner town between the ponds and gates has kept the beautiful charm of the days of Zachariáš. And this is the main reason for which the historical heart of the town was registered in 1992 on the UNESCO¨s List of World Cultural Heritage sites.
Třebíč is situated in the Vysočina region and it is the 2nd biggest town of the region. Třebíč is located in the southwestern part of the Bohemia-Moravian highlands spreading out on the both sides of the Jihlava river. At the present time, the population is almost 38 000 inhabitants. The beginnings of the town are connected with a remarkable Benedictine monastery which was founded by Moravian princes in 1101. In 1270 the town of Třebíč was founded by abbot Martin.
The milestone for Třebíč was the year 1468 when the town was almost destroyed during the war between Matthias Corvinus and George of Poděbrady. In 1525 the monastery became the seat of secular lords of Pernštejn, Osovský and Valdštejn. For many centuries, Třebíč was an important economic, administrative, political and cultural centre of southwest Moravia. UNESCO monuments - An important cultural and historical event for the town was the year 2003 when the St. Procopius´ basilica and the Jewish Quarter with Jewish cemetery were incorporated into the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. These monuments are the proof, that Jewish and Christian communities could live side by side, which was one of the reasons for entry into the prestigious list. These sights became already the 12th UNESCO monument in the Czech Republic and Třebíč is the third UNESCO site of the Vysočina region.
The town of UNESCO monuments is situated in West Moravia, on the southeast tip of the Vysočina region. The beginnings of the town are connected to a remarkable Benedictine monastery which was founded by Moravian princes in 1101. Owing to the rich history of the town, visitors can admire a lot of valuable monuments; the most notable ones, the Basilica of St. Procopius , the Jewish Quarter and the Jewish Cemetery are included in the prestigious UNESCO’s list of world cultural and natural heritage. However, the town and its surroundings can satisfy not only history and culture lovers, but also nature lovers. Třebíč is situated in one of the ecologically cleanest areas of the Czech Republic. The scenic character of local landscape and clean nature create suitable conditions for relaxation as well as forms of active leisure, such as walking or cycling. The town of Třebíč is therefore a place, where exploring the beauties of history and active leisure in unspoiled nature can be combined.
The Jewish Quarter and Jewish Cemetery of Třebíč together with the Roman-Gothic Basilica of St. Procopius then became already the 12th UNESCO monument in the Czech Republic, and the town of Třebíč is the third UNESCO site of the Vysočina area. The Třebíč area lies in the picturesque landscape of Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, and it belongs to the ecologically cleanest areas in the Czech Republic. The nature is well-preserved, with patches almost untouched by human hand. Mildly undulating landscape covered with mixed forest, numerous ponds, romantic river valleys and a huge amount of well-marked footpaths create the ideal conditions for relaxation in the nature. You can visit some of the numerous protected areas, where you will be led by footpaths as well as thematic nature trails. Belonging to the most attractive natural objects of interest in Třebíč region, there is the National Nature Reserve Mohelenská Serpentine Steppe – European unique object of its kind with extraordinary fauna and flora, or the deep canyon valleys of the rivers Oslava and Chvojnice with lots of romantic secluded spots.
To the north of Třebíč there spreads the Nature Park Třebíč Area. Its scenery character consists of small boulder islands with groves and bushes, ponds, woods and single trees in mildly undulating uplands. NP Třebíč Area also includes a part of Třebíč granite-syenite massif with typical boulders. A part of nature park Třebíč area overlaps with the ecological microregion Horácko, which is considered as one of the ecologically cleanest regions in the Czech Republic. To the south of Třebíč there is situated Nature Park Rokytná that includes the valley around the river of the same name. However, you do not need to walk too far to find nature, you can also enjoy it right in the town of Třebíč, especially owing to numerous and well-groomed municipal parks. Here, in the shadow of greenery, visitors of the town and local inhabitants can take a rest from hustle and bustle. You can enjoy the view of the beauties of Třebíč from several lookout towers and viewpoints, which offer an unrepeatable view of natural and historical spots of interest.
The capital of the South Moravian Region with a population of almost 400.000 people. Strategic geographic position within Central Europe with excellent transport accessibility, including an international airport.Beautiful natural environment of Brno, lying between the Bohemian-Moravian forested highlands and the fertile South Moravian lowlands with vineyards, offers its residents and visitors a high-quality and attractive natural environment for living, business and recreation.
The city is a unique cultural centre of the whole region. There are permanent theatre ensembles, opera, ballet and musical stages, a philharmonic orchestra, and you can also visit a number of museums, galleries and libraries, a recently modernized observatory and planetarium, a zoo and a botanical garden. More than 20 festivals of culture and theatre take place in the city each year.
Brno is remarkable for its unique functionalist architecture including an icons of functionalism -Villa Tugendhat, which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Modern architecture in the city is mapped by the projectrno Architectural Manual.
Dominating historical features of the city are the fortress of Špilberk castle and the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul. The unique medieval Ossuary under the St. James Church is a new tourist attraction, as well as a complex of underground corridors and cellars running underneath the whole downtown.
Brno is also an important centre for team sports, namely hockey, football, basketball, volleyball and others. Brno citizens can use a wide range of cycling trails, sports and fitness centres, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, multipurpose halls and playgrounds, gym halls, ice rinks and the Brno lake. Each year, the Brno Racing Circuit hosts the World Road Bike Championship, MotoGP of the Czech Republic.
In 1370 - Promotion of the village to the town. On 14 August 1370, Emperor Charles IV granted Karlovy Vary royal town privileges, known as the "Loket Town Rights" inspired by the nearby town of Loket. Charles IV stayed in the town in 1370, 1374 and 1376.
In 1401 - Regulation of special town´s status. On 6 July 1401, King Wenceslas IV confirmed all town privileges to Karlovy Vary, and in addition to them, granted the town the rare right of asylum and the status of an open town without fortification. The spa town special position was strengthened by the privilege of peace and ban on carrying weapons in the town.
In 1711 -Petr Veliký visited the town. Russian Tsar Peter I the Great stayed in Karlovy Vary in 1711 and 1712. Here he became famous for his manual dexterity. He helped masons build the house "U páva" (At the Peacock) opposite the Petr House, and forged a horseshoe and an iron bar with his own hands in a blacksmith's shop in Březová. Memorial plaques commemorate both events.
In 1769 -Beginning of manufacture thermal salt. Based on a court decree from 29 March 1769, Karlovy Vary began to produce thermal salt according to the procedure of Karlovy Vary Hippocrates, physician David Becher. They used to get the salt through thermal evaporation of water from shallow copper pans.
In 1785 - Johann Wolfgang Goethe visited the town. Johann Wolfgang Goethe, German poet, visited Karlovy Vary for the first time on 5 July 1785. The renowned poet, who loved the region here, visited the spa town thirteen times, in 1823 for the last time. In memory of Goethe's spa stays, his bust was unveiled in the town in 1883.
In 1807 - The first production of Becherovka. Pharmacist Josef Vitus Becher began his production of the famous Karlovy Vary gastric liquor known as Becherovka. He acquired the original recipe from Christian Frobrig, the personal physician of English Prince Maxmillian Friedrich von Plettenberg in 1805.
History of the Freedom Spring Arbour - A new thermal spring seep was discovered during the excavation of the foundation pit for the building of Lázně III (Spa III) in the early 1860s. The thermal water was captured by means of a spring bell and drawn above ground to the area between the new spa building and the former St. Bernard's Hospital below Bernardova skála (Bernard's Rock). In 1865, the seep of the newly discovered spring was covered by an octagonal walk-through wooden arbour with columns, richly decorated with carved ornaments. The spring was originally called Lázeňský pramen (Spa Spring), it subsequently bore the name of Emperor Franz Joseph I until 1918, and in 1946, it received its current name, i.e. the Freedom Spring. The seep of the spring on the main spa promenade is a frequent stopof visitors coming to Karlovy Vary.
The International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary has been held regularly since 1946. The Festival has been named as A-festival, which ranks it amongst the most distinguished and best international festivals. The Festival has gone through all historical periods since its foundation as well as the whole Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic. The communist regime had used it to its propaganda. After its fall, The Festival was endangered and almost fell into the abyss of history. And finally, The Festival has been saved with the help of the Karlovy Vary City, Ministry of Culture and Grandhotel Pupp . The well-known Czech actor Jiří Bartoška has been The President of this festival since 1993. The Programme Director is Eva Zaoralová. Above all, these two names have contributed to the quality and growth of The Festival and classify it as one of the distinguished cultural events in the beginning of summer.
Distinguished guests - Every year, many notable names of the silver screen attend The Festival. Miloš Forman, Robert de Niro, John Travolta, Oliver Stone, Alan Alda, Michael Douglas, Steve Buscemi and Salma Hayek. These names are just a part of the list of famous guests in past years.