Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Český Krumlov: A Czech Republic Medieval Gem

Crowned by a spectacular castle above a bend on the River Vltava, Český Krumlov is like a pocket-sized Prague, nestled in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. A UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its uniquely preserved medieval core, the town is a maze of twisting alleys built around the extensive Cesky Krumlov castle, which was founded by the the Vítkovci family around 1253. Following architectural neglect during the communist era, the undeniable fairy-tale beauty of Český Krumlov is radiant again, with thoughtful restoration transforming the Renaissance and Baroque heritage buildings into a pearl of old world charm. The town's maze-like alleyways, richly decorated coats of arms of burghers houses, and wonderful floral gardens are harmoniously interwoven, and at the same time, it boasts medieval pubs, riverside ale-houses, galleries and charming boutique shops.

The Royal Gardens of Cesky Krumlov Castle

View from the gardens overlooking the Baroque tower of St Vitus Church

Spectacular view over the Medieval hamlet of Cesky Krumlov and the Castle,
a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The bend of the Vlatava River embraces the town

The 180-foot tall round tower of the Cesky Krumlov Castle was built to guard the medieval river crossing

The 3-storey stone bridge over the deep moat replaced the original wooden draw-bridge in 1647

The unusual interior 3rd courtyard of the castle blends a mix of styles from the 14th to the 18th-centuries

Archway into the upper Castle courtyard

The last of the five castle courtyards

Illuminated manuscript from the castle library

Detail of The Division of the Rose, a painting which shows the Wittigons, then the owners of the Český Krumlov chateau, dividing their property among their five sons

The striking round tower features a 162-step climb to the top

Our Tauck tour guide Bettina serving handmade gingerbread from Cesky Pernik, made from the quaint shop's original 16th-century recipe of high quality South Bohemian honey, flour and spices

The charming exterior of the old Bohemian gingerbread shop

Cesky Pernik also sells original hand pressed gingerbread and homemade digestive liquors

An artisan at the back of the shop decorates the gingerbread by hand

The ancient Budějovická Gate beside Cesky Pernik

The cobblestoned Medieval street leading from the Latrán District to the wooden Lazebnický Bridge

The wooden toy shop in Cesky Krumlov

Restaurant Svejk Latrán in the old town with original Gothic and Baroque detailing

The waterside restaurant of Krčma U dwau Maryí

 The menu of Krčma U dwau Maryí features traditional Czech fare

A welcome cold beer on a hot Czech afternoon 

Česnečka: Garlic Soup

Uzené maso s bramborovým knedlíkem a zelím - Smoked Meat with Potato Dumplings and Cabbage

Nakládaný hermelín s chlebem - Picked Camembert with Rye Bread

Rye Bread

Pstruh na víně a rozmarýnu s bramborem - Trout with wine, rosemary and potatoes

The exterior of the restaurant, which was built between two Medieval town walls in what was called roundabout moat along the curves of the Vltava River

Strolling through the winding cobblestone streets in search of Egon Schiele

The Egon Schiele Art Centrum (Gallery) in Cesky Krumlov

Located in a 16th-century Renaissance-style building that was a former Brewery, the Egon Schiele Art Centrum is a museum and gallery devoted to the Austrian painter Egon Schiele that was established in 1993 by an initiative of private individuals in Český Krumlov after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Born in Austria in 1890, Schiele drew and painted from an early age and became a protégé of Gustav Klimt, a relationship that was so close that he considered him a father figure. Schiele moved to his mother’s home town of Český Krumlov in 1910 but after living and working there for two years, decided to leave due to the animosity of some of the townsfolk angry about the nude portraits he did of their teenage daughters. His work is noted for its intensity, raw sexuality and the many self-portraits the artist produced, including naked self-portraits. The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterize Schiele's paintings and drawings mark the artist as an early exponent of Expressionism.

The entrance to the Museum which was originally a old brewery

Egon Shiele

Old photo of Český Krumlov when Schiele lived there in 1911

The Egon Schiele Exhibition on the top floor of the Museum

Schiele's sketchbook with a thumbnail sketch of the 49th Exhibition of the Vienna Secession poster

Egon Schiele poster for the 49th Exhibition of the Vienna Secession in 1918

Early photographs of Egon Schiele and his family

Egon with his two sisters

Shaw or the Irony (Shaw oder die Ironie), Poster for a Lecture by Egon Friedell published in 1912

Café near the Egon Schiele Museum

Zrmzlina Fruit Ice Cream stall on the main square in Český Krumlov

Made with iced cream and fresh berries, Zrmzlina is always a popular destination 

Walking back through town over the river on the wooden bridge

The three-storey covered Cloak Bridge of Cesky Krumlov Castle

The Cesky Krumlov heraldic coat of arms

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