Cesky Krumlov Castle is the epitome of picturesque nestled in the city of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. Comprising of 40 buildings situated around five courtyards, the castle complex sits on seven hectares of land overlooking the Vltava River. With its delightfully cobbled Old Town, rare Baroque theater, and colorful castle, Český Krumlov is an absolute treat.
The original gothic castle, known today as the “Little Castle,” was founded in the middle of the 13th century by the Lords of Krumlov. When their line died out, the castle was passed on to their relatives, the Rosenbergs. The town and castle flourished under the Rosenbergs, and by the late 16th century the castle had been expanded into a grand Renaissance residence. While under the Habsburg rule, Baroque elements and structures were added. The castle passed to the Schwarzenbergs in 1719 and then ultimately to the Czech provincial properties, and finally to the state the the mid-20th century.
Visitors to the castle ground will have no shortage of attractions to see. There are two tours available- one that takes you through the older Renaissance and Baroque interiors, and another that highlights the interiors designed during the 19th century . There are also visits to the castle museum, the Baroque theater, the garden, the tower, the stables, the bear moat and more.
As you walk towards the castle, you pass by a corridor – almost a courtyard – with walls that were hand-painted with bricks, doors, and windows. Some of the windows looked so real that it’s hard to believe that it was a painting.
The castle museum provides an overview of the castle’s history, presenting a capsule version of what you can see on the grounds in person. The castle’s highlight is the Baroque Theater that is one of the oldest and best preserved castle theaters in central Europe, functioning now as a theater museum. Guests of the noble family would go for evening entertainment. A guided tour takes visitors under the stage to see the wood-and-rope contraptions that enabled scenes to be scooted in and out within seconds while fireworks and smoke hid the action from the audience. Its auditorium features original wooden benches, state machinery and special effects machines, as well as hundred of costumes, props, librettos and more.
Europe once had several hundred Baroque theaters, but most burned down. Český Krumlov’s theater is one of only two that survives in good shape and is open to tourists (the other one is in Stockholm).
Cesky Krumlov Castle was added to the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Monuments in 1992. Despite the centuries of history it encompasses, its significance goes beyond preserving the past and plays a roe in the present: from hosting conferences, concerts, and cultural events to supporting artists and scholars. Today, the Cesky Krumlov Castle remains a hub of social and cultural activity.
Cesky Krumlov is four hours south of Prague, and an hour drive from Linz, Austria. It’s the second largest castle in the Czech Republic behind Prague’s Castle. This fairy-tale town is an absolute must visit for any traveller!