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Monday, 20 Mar 2023

Czech Cities

Kutna Hora

There are cities that retain their glory throughout the ages: such is the medieval town of Kutna Hora, due east of Prague. As legend has it, one day in the 13th century a monk from Sedlec monastery was out collecting firewood in the forest, when he stumbled upon some silver nuggets. Laying down his robe as a marker, he hurried home to tell his fellow monks about his fortuitous discovery. The ensuing “silver fever” transformed the city of Kutna Hora into the silver capital of the Middle Ages. There are many interesting places to see: the courtyard where Italian silversmiths minted the famous “Prague penny”; the Sedlec Ossuary for a taste of the truly grotesque. Lovers of the macabre will gape in appreciation at the chapel’s interior: the altar and all its appointments, including a massive chandelier, have been fashioned from over 40 thousand human bones, skulls and all. In addition, there is one of Europe’s most beautiful and awe-inspiring Gothic cathedrals, dedicated to Saint Barbara, the patroness of miners.



Pilsen is a metropolis of West Bohemia. It was founded in 1295, and since then the city of Pilsen has naturally become a cultural and economic centre of the West Bohemia. Nowadays, Pilsen has its 165 000 inhabitants and covers an area of 138 square kilometres. The city of Plsen came to prominence in the middle of the 19th century when the Škoda Works Company and the Pilsner Urquell brewery were founded. Nowadays, the industrial potential of Plsen concentrates on value added production and the so called knowledge economy projects. The Municipal Industrial Park Borská Pole (Bory Fields) is a major attractive locality for this type of investments.

Many district and regional institutions reside in the city of Plsen, among them about forty secondary schools and apprenticeship training colleges, the University of West Bohemia and the Faculty of Medicine of Charles University. The city centre with its many historical landmarks has been declared a protected historic area. Many of the buildings rank among true gems of architecture, namely the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, the Renaissance City Hall, the Great Synagogue or the sgrafitti by Mikoláš Aleš on the front facades of burgher houses. Favourite tourist destinations include, apart from the world renowned Pilsner Urquell brewery, also the ZOO and Botanical Gardens and the adjacent DinoPark. The J. K. Tyl Theatre as well as the Alfa Theatre feature prominently among the highlights of Pilsen cultural life, together with about twenty galleries and various multigenre and alternative cultural projects. Pilsen clubs can offer a range of concerts and other entertainment. Its quality accommodation, new conference facilities and unique cultural scene make the city of Pilsen a sought after destination for conference tourism.


The gorgeous Moravian town of Telc is a legendary place, not for any historical battles fought here – rather it is that each bell tower and chapel has its own decidedly Gothic tale to tell. This is the locale of the mysterious White Lady of the Czech Lands. In her fluttering gown, she flits along the cobbled streets and past the tiny square’s colorful 16th century Renaissance facades. Who is she? A noblewoman who survived the awesome fire of 1530 which destroyed the original town? No one knows, but her sightings have given local citizens and many Czech writers a wealth of stories of unrequited love and rebellious phantoms…


Cesky Krumlov

In South Bohemia, at a serpentine bend in the Vltava River, lies the quaint town of Cesky Krumlov. Its original medieval owners, the powerful Rozmberk called it the "City of the Red Rose" after their family crest. Later the city became the property of the Schwarzenberg aristocracy. The huge castle dominates the town’s center, looming over red-tile roofs and the labyrinthine, cobble-stoned streets.  The castle offers a wealth of architectural details and 15th century treasures. Picture-postcard houses crowd the hills and the banks of the river that snakes through the heart of the city. Through a courtyard, we find the museum dedicated to Cesky Krumlov’s most famous homeboy, the early 20th century painter, Egon Schiele. In a medieval cellar tavern the servers dress in period costumes. The Germans called the town “Krumme Aue” or “the crooked meadow” – following the twists and turns of its little streets and stone bridges, we understand why. The undulating curves of the Vltava only serve to enhance the city’s appeal. And the curves don’t stop at the river. If it appears to your eye that many of the houses have distinctly odd outlines, well, they do! Medieval builders, who were blissfully unaware of the existence of right angles, constructed many of them.

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