Prague’s Jewish Quarter (“Židovské město” in Czech) is one of the most impressive places in the capital of the Czech Republic. Josefov, as the quarter is officially named, is at the same time beautiful and wrathful, due to its complicated history. It used to be the largest Jewish ghetto in Europe, and its Old Jewish Cemetery is the most remarkable of its kind on the continent.
Many cities used to have – or still have – the so called “Jewish quarters”, where the Jewish minority lived. Apart from Prague, we can for example name Jerusalem, Seville, or New York. Those quarters were quite often in the form of ghettos. The Jewish quarter of Prague, since 1992 listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is definitely one of the most significant ones and if you are visiting Prague, you should definitely see it. Not only as a reminder of a tragic part of the world’s history, but also for its undeniable beauty and charm.
Karlštejn Castle was founded in 1348 by the Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor as his private residence and a place of safekeeping royal treasures, especially his collections of holy relics and the Imperial Crown Jewels. In 1355 Charles IV stayed here for the first time, overseeing the construction and decoration work, especially in chapels. The construction was completed in 1365 when the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Great Tower was consecrated.
Over the centuries the castle has always been in hands of the king or a state institution, never in private hands. Nowadays it is owned by the state.
Very impressive is the preserved original stair-arrangement of individual castle buildings. The lower section with a small courtyard by the Well Tower and the Burgrave´s House continue through the majestic five-storey Imperial Palace and the Marian Tower. At the highest point, the construction of the castle culminates in a monumental, 60-meter-high Great Tower and its massive fortifications.
A unique original 14th-century wall decoration, a set of 129 paintings created by Master Theodoric in the Chapel of the Holy Cross (the largest in the world), the largest portrait gallery of kings of Bohemia in the Czech Republic, a replica of the royal Crown of Bohemia, a unique castle well. The castle is also famous as a set to a comedy play Night at Karlštejn Castle by Czech poet Jaroslav Vrchlický.
Baroque complex Svatá Hora (Holy Hill), the prominent Marian pilgrimage site of Czech Lands with central Basilica of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, is also an outstanding cultural, architectonic and historic monument of the country.
The Cathedral of St Barbara, a jewel of the Late Gothic period and one of the four cathedral-type buildings in Bohemia, was incribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List together with the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady and St John the Baptist and the historical centre of Kutná Hora.
Dačický House, located on a sloping square in sight of the Stone Fountain, is a unique exhibit in itself. At its core is a pre-Hussite house, which was generously reconstructed after 1500 for the Utraquist bishop Filip de Villanuova, and was the birthplace of the chronicler Mikuláš Dačický of Heslov in the mid-16th century.
This historical building is, as its name suggests, associated with Josef Kajetán Tyl, an important figure of Czech theatre and the National Revival movement. J. K. Tyl, a native of Kutná Hora, was the first person to publicly formulate the idea to build an independent theatre in Kutná Hora for the then Tyl Amateur Theatre Company, which was based in Kutná Hora and of which Tyl was himself a member.
Pilsen's main square of the Republic is dominated by the beautiful Gothic cathedral of St. Bartholomew with the highest church tower in the Czech Republic. You will find many beautiful historic houses, lots of cafes and restaurants. During the year there are dozens of cultural events, festivals and festivals.
Near the Hrádek village, the Hrádek u Nechanic Castle was built between 1839 and 1857 on so-called Lubenský hill. It was built as a prestige summer residence of the county family of Harrach by František Arnošt, the count of Harrach, an important representative of the Jilemnice family line.
Castle was built in the first half of the 14th century. In the 1570s Zacharias of Hradec carried out a major reconstruction and ordered two enclosures for deer nearby. From 17th century to beginning of the 20th century it was used as a hunting castle.
The Renaissance tower originally served as a watchtower and belfry. The building structure is 71.9 m tall and holds 5 bells and a clockwork. Once you conquer 225 stairs (height of 45 m) you will be rewarded with a strikingly beautiful view of České Budějovice and the surroundings.
The new Castle Museum exhibition was opened in 2011 by the National Heritage Institute. Museum visitors have a unique opportunity to peek into the secrets of the castle depositories relating to the most important events connected with the Rožmberk, Eggenberk and Schwarzenberg owners of the Krumlov estate. Entry to the Castle Museum exhibition is individual, without a guide but with the option to rent an audioguide. This rounded six-storied tower, surrounded by the residential palace of the Little Castle, is situated on a narrow rocky promontory towering above Latrán and the Vltava River between the Ist and IInd Courtyard of Český Krumlov Castle. The origins of this structure are partly Gothic and partly Renaissance, as is evident from the tower's external appearance. The tower as well as the Little Castle is a segment of a structure dating from the first half of the 13th century. Castle Tower The oldest part of it is the groundfloor and first floor. The origin of the second floor is around the 14th century, while the third floor is part of the Renaissance belfry. We can not eliminate the Gothic origin, however, due to the bell dated 1406. Under the architect Baldassare Maggi of Arogno, the castle was remodelled and converted from a plain Gothic palace into a Renaissance residence, and the tower was provided with an arcaded gallery at the top in 1581. In 1590 the tower was decorated with mural paintings and figural and architectural motifs by Bartoloměj Beránek - Jelínek. Castle Tower The Tower is the symbol of the town of Český Krumlov, of its history and beauty. It is "The towerest of all towers" as once characterised by Karel Čapek. The tower is publically accessible and offers a beautiful view over Krumlov and surroundings.
Český Krumlov State Castle with its architectural standard, cultural tradition, and expanse ranks among the most important historic sights in the central European region. Originally Gothic castle from 13th century was enlarged in 14th century and it was rebuit in the Renaissance style in 16th century.
The castle was held in possession of various noblemen and its history is interwoven with a number of myths and legends. Today it is a venue of various cultural and social events. At the foot of the castle there is a steamboat stop.
The Znojmo Underground extends over several levels and is one of the largest underground labyrinths in Central Europe. Decide whether you would rather take the traditional tour, which mainly introduces you to the history of the city, or have a spookier experience on a less traditional tour along an alternative route.
A prison shrouded in horrific legends, valuable historical collections, a beautiful view over the city and many cultural events held throughout the year – all of this is Špilberk Castle. One of the two most important dominant features of the Moravian capital and a place which became synonymous with the most horrific of dungeons throughout the whole of Europe is nowadays one of the most valuable monuments in Brno.
Špilberk’s importance and role changed fundamentally over the course of the centuries. This leading royal castle and seat of the Moravian margraves, gradually transformed into a monumental Baroque fortress, the toughest prison of the Austrian monarchy and later a military barracks. Nowadays it is home to Brno City Museum and one of the most important cultural centres in the city.
Proof of the fact that the Moravian capital still has its secrets, is the newly renovated Brno underground under Zelný trh. It was only recently that a tour route was opened here for the general public, which leads under the surface of one of the oldest squares in Brno.
The museum was created back in 1817 by means of an imperial decree by František I, and nowadays it contains over six million items. Take a closer look at prehistoric life in Pavilon Anthropos where you will see a life-size mammoth and all the things a prehistoric family had to face.
Visitors will only see original interior from the world and the era of Prince Pückler in Branitz Castle. While the library allows the visitors to familiarise themselves with his thinking, the Oriental rooms will take people on the great journey of the prince to the pyramids of Egypt.
Krems is one of the oldest cities in the land; the first documented reference to it dates to 995. Visitors to the city encounter a millenium of history at every step - on the streets and squares, in old monasteries and churches, in burgher houses and fortification structures.
A stroll through Krems and Stein is always a rewarding experience - and a pleasurable one, with all the cafes, restaurants and heurige bidding passers-by to stop in and enjoy.
The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is the largest group of Baroque statues within a single sculptural monument in Central Europe.
The column reaches a height of 35 metres and its lower part houses a chapel. The sculptural decoration is made of 18 stone sculptures of saints, 12 light-bearers and 6 relief busts of the apostles. The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it. The larger-than-life figures are enveloped in light, airy drapery with lively expressions on their faces and corresponding gesticulations of their hands. The overall sculptural decoration has a natural and harmonious appearance without being exaggerated in the typically flamboyant and exaggerated Baroque mode.
You simply should not miss the Olomouc castle site situated on the Wenceslas Hill! Right here in 1306, the last Přemyslid, the Czech king Wenceslas III, was assassinated. You can admire the Bishop's Palace with its famous Romanesque windows, the gothic St. Wenceslas Cathedral, today the seat of the Archbishop of Olomouc, or the Archdiocesan Museum founded on the initiative of Pope John Paul II.
A Wonder of the World: The Stone Bridge. The people of Regensburg were obviously brilliant bridge-builders way back in the 12th century. The “Bruckmandl” however, the little statue on the bridge, didn’t take up his breezy position there till the middle of the 16th century.
Today, after numerous additions and alterations, you can admire the three-section building complex dating from the 13th century which consists of the Town Hall tower, the Gothic Imperial Chamber building and the baroque Town Hall. From 1663 to 1806 the Perpetual Imperial Assembly met in the Imperial Chamber. It was there that the well-known expressions “to put something on the long bench” (to postpone something) and “to sit at the green table” (to take important decisions) originated.
One of the oldest town halls in Germany and witness to the historical change in Jena. Admire the astronomical clock from the 15th century and "Schnapphans" (snatching Hans), one of the "Seven Wonders" of Jena.
The Göttweig Abbey is a treasure overlooking the Wachau from a hill covered by vineyards and forests. Often called the “Austrian Montecassino” because it is visible from great distances—a characteristic that provides epic panoramas when you visit.
Göttweig Abbey was founded in 1083—although the current baroque building was constructed after a fire in the early 18th century. If you visit the abbey today you'll experience High Baroque in all its splendour. For example, the monumental imperial staircase with the ceiling fresco by Paul Troger from 1739 is one of the largest and most beautiful staircases of its kind in the world.
The library and the archives of Göttweig Abbey house a huge trove of visual art and a comprehensive music collection. The abbey shows its art collections during special annual exhibitions staged in the adjoining royal and imperial rooms. The church houses the largest chimes of any church in Austria. To the south you'll find the highest elevated orchard of the famous Wachau apricot, with information on various aspects of the Wachau apricot.
The history of the castle ruin which is around 150 metres long on the right bank of the Danube extends back to the 12th century. Find out why the “Rosengärtlein” (“Rose Garden”) was so feared and who the “Hounds of Kuenring” were.
The castle which is around 150 metres long was built at the start of the 12th century. It is located on a rocky outcrop at a height of approx.
300 metres above the right bank of the Danube. At the time of the Kuenrings, the castle was successfully besieged and destroyed at least twice, which is why there are still only a few foundations from this time at the so-called “Bürgl” (or “little castle”).
Special highlights are the escape-proof prison with the quaint name of “Rosengärtlein” or the chapel – a romantic place that can be still be used for weddings and christenings.
One of the most picturesque castles in Moravia. The silhouette of this monumental castle in South Moravia is visible from afar. In its time it has played host to a number of important personalities, such as French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.
The great fire of the original wooden houses in 1584 gave rise to Mikulov square in its present form. Part of the square, which is also the entrance to Mikulov Castle, is formed by houses with a Renaissance core and picturesque arcades.
Probably the most interesting of the Renaissance buildings is the bourgeois Knights’ House (dům U Rytířů), which was created after the rebuilding of several Gothic buildings in the second half of the 16th century. At first glance, you can not overlook it on the square due to its sgraffito decoration with biblical and ancient scenes covering two-thirds of the house. The painting draws attention to the fact that it was originally a two-story house. Another feature of the square is the statue of the Holy Trinity, in addition to showing the Trinity it also displays angels that symbolize faith, hope and love. The column is complemented by statues of St. John of Nepomuk, St. Francis Xavier and Charles Borromeo, who were supposed to protect the inhabitants of the city from the plague. The Plague Column was built during the reign of the Dietrichsteins in 1724.
Old Town Hall is a unique Gothic building in European architecture. It has 2 storeys, 3 parts with a rectangular building of the councils, which is attached to the northern wall and a square tower. Located in the city centre, it was being built for about 250 years (13 - 16th century). It used to serve as the seat of the city authorities and the court.
The oldest part of the Town Hall was built ca. 1299 (according to the sources). This part is called consistorium (Latin: place of gatherings) and now belongs to the building. The consistorium has two parts: the underground hall covered with the ceiling and the Western tower. After buying the rights of the voyt, the meaning of the Council was much bigger. The growing number of the Council members demanded a new building. In the years 1328-1333, near the consistorium a new, smaller building was built - praetorium (Latin: the seat of the leaders). The building is the northern part of the Town Hall, near the square with the whipping post.
Since the very beginning the Town Hall has witnessed many important historical events and has been a representative building where the authorities invited their honourable guests. This tradition is still alive. The most important world leaders, monarchs, clergy and artists have been invited into the Town Hall. In the cellar of the building there is one of the oldest restaurants in Europe - the legendary Piwnica Świdnicka.
Taking the cruise ship from Kerms, you will end up at a charming town Melk. You can enjoy a walk around the town and admiring beautiful architecture.
Melk is an Austrian town on the River Danube, west of Vienna. It’s known for the 11th-century Melk Abbey, a vast monastery built high above the town. No tour of monasteries in Austria, or Middle Europe, for that matter, would be complete without a visit to the magnificent Melk Abbey. Abbot Berthold Dietmayr and his architects Jakob Prandtauer and Joseph Munggenast left no stone unturned in their quest from 1701 to 1736 to construct a sacred palace upon the foundations of a medieval monastery.