Sunday, May 27, 2007

Cesky Krumlov - outstanding!

Should you ever develop a lust to see a more or less intact medieval town, Cesky Krumlov is the place to satisfy it. If you read no further, do take the time to click here and then click on items in the picture that appears to explore this astounding web site. The city map, displayed in the parking lot, looks like a fairy tale impression of the city but, the amazing truth is, that that exactly what the city looks like! Krumlov is in the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic and Cesky, the Czech name for Bohemia, is prepended to the name to distinguish it from Moravsky Krumlov, an entirely different city in the Moravian region of the Republic. Now that you have been warned, do not go to the wrong Krumlov.
Cesky Krumlov, with a population of around 15,000 people, is purported to be one of the most complete and authentic examples of a medieval town in the whole of Europe. To support this, the entire Old Town has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Czech Republic is the same size as Maine with a little over 10 million citizens and emerged from the scourge of communism less than twenty years ago. Historically, it has been through the usual ownership changes, Celts, Romans, Barbarians, Austrians, Germans, Eastern Bloc etc., but the name is probably a derivation of crooked meadow or similar as the River Vltava makes a few U turns as it goes through town. The old town is non-vehicular except for services and the main bridge over the river, in the next picture, is wooden.

Krumlov has not one, but two castles.
The smaller and older one here, on a
rock of course, is called the Small Castle

The Big Castle is exactly that -BIG. With four courtyards and
an operational 15th century theater, it is in fact the second
largest castle in the Republic, Prague being the largest

The Plastovy Bridge, an unusual assembly of arches, replaced
an earlier wooden structure. The lower corridor at the top
connects the castle with the theater, the upper one leads
to the Mansion Gardens

One of the most noticeable features of the town is the
Castle Tower. Click here for more details

The spiffy look of this building, as with a number of
others around town, is largely illusionary,
by clever paintwork. Pretty nifty

Connecting corridor at the town end of the castle

Foot bridge over the river at the back of the castle.
St Vitius church can be seen in the background

Former church of St. Jodocus and hospice

Numerous shortcuts and interesting looking alleys
have a tendency to lead one off the straight and narrow

Crossing the river by way of the wooden bridge

A closer view of St Vitius - probably
looks great a Christmas time

The main drag through town

The street leading to the main square

Looking back, the tower is still with us

The square, quite large for a town of this size, sports the
inevitable fountain. The town hall is on the right of the picture

Svornosti Square and the Marian Plague Column with
Fountain. The origins of such fountains were the provision
of a public water source and water for fire fighting

St Vitius church looming over the south side of the square

Last view of St Vitius

From this vantage point, good views of the town could be had

Here, looking back toward the castle at the other end of town

Of course, if you look too closely, you are likely to see
those monuments to socialism, the Panelaks

Lunch is on the horizon

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