There is probably no tourist left aloof by the beauty and magic of this beloved by all the visitors city. Carlsbad, or Karlovy Vary is not only a home of the famous beer factory and fashionable spa-town, it is a magical place, where you can hear the voice of the history speaking to you, where you’re able to understand what it says.
In the 19th century, it became a popular tourist destination, especially known for international celebrities visiting for spa treatment. The city is also known for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which is one of the oldest in the world and has become one of Europe’s major film events. And also for the popular Czech liqueur Becherovka. The glass manufacturer Moser Glass is located in Karlovy Vary. The famous Karlovarské oplatky (Carlsbad spa wafers) originated in the city in 1867. The city has also given its name to the delicacy known as “Carlsbad plums”. These plums (usually quetsch) are candied in hot syrup, then halved and stuffed into dried damsons; this gives them a very intense flavour.
The city has been used as the location for a number of film-shoots, including the 2006 films Last Holiday and box-office hit Casino Royale, both of which used the city’s Grandhotel Pupp in different guises.
Duration: 10 to 12 hours.
Bohemian Crumlaw and Frauenberg castle
Just several hours away from Prague there is another famous town – the invaluable part of the UNESCO legacy. Since the beginning of time Český Krumlov was one of the biggest and wealthiest cities of the Bohemian land. The remarkably preserved ancient look of the city is making it one of the most attractive sight not only in Czech, but in entire Europe.
Český Krumlov Castle is unusually large for a town of Krumlov’s size; within the Czech Republic it is second in extent only to the Hradčany castle complex of Prague. Inside its grounds are a large rococo garden, an extensive bridge over a deep gap in the rock upon which the castle is built, and the castle itself, which in turn consists of many defined parts dating from different periods of time. After the garden was not adequately maintained during the second half of the 20th century, the site was included in the 1996 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund.
With financial support from American Express the garden’s central fountain was documented and reconstructed, and is functional today.
You will also see one of the most beauteous castles in the world – Hluboká nad Vltavou, also known as Frauenberg castle. The magical castle of white stone will make you feel, like you’re being in a fairytale.
Duration: 11 to 12 hours.
Kuttenberg and Bohemian Sternberg
Another piece of the world’s cultural legacy: Kutná Hora. The town began in 1142 with the settlement of the first Cistercian monastery in Bohemia, Sedlec Monastery, brought from the Imperial immediate Cistercian Waldsassen Abbey. By 1260 German miners began to mine for silver in the mountain region, which they named Kuttenberg, and which was part of the monastery property.
Today Kuttenberg is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe and one of the most visited cities in Bohemia. Among the most important sights in the area are the Gothic, five-naved St. Barbara’s Church, begun in 1388, and the Italian Court, formerly a royal residence and mint, which was built at the end of the 13th century. The Gothic Stone Haus, which since 1902 has served as a museum, contains one of the richest archives in the country. The Gothic St. James’s Church, with its 86-metre (282 ft) tower, is another prominent building. Sedlec is the site of the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady and the famous Ossuary.
During the tour you will also visit the old Sternberg castle, that was an essential strategic point for almost 5 centuries.
Duration: 7 to 8 hours.
Pilsen and Pilsner Urquell factory
The Beer. There is actually nothing more to say about the city. But the meaning of this single word is wide enough to contain all the emotions this tour will bring you. The city is known worldwide for Pilsner beer, created by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll here in 1842.
The officials of Plzeň founded a city-owned brewery in 1839, Bürger Brauerei (Citizens’ Brewery – now Plzeňský Prazdroj), and recruited Bavarian brewer Josef Groll (1813–1887) who produced the first batch of modern Pilsner beer on 5 October 1842. The combination of pale colour from the new malts, Pilsen’s remarkably soft water, Saaz noble hops from nearby Žatec (Saaz in German) and Bavarian-style lagering produced a clear, golden beer which was regarded as a sensation. Improving transport meant that this new beer was soon available throughout Central Europe and Pilsner Brauart-style brewing was widely imitated. In 1859, “Pilsner Bier” was registered as a brand name at the Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Plzeň. In 1898, the Pilsner Urquell trade mark was created to put emphasis on it being the original brewery.
The most prominent sights of Plzeň are the Gothic St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, founded in the late 13th century, whose tower, at 102 metres (335 feet), is the highest in the Czech Republic, the Renaissance Town Hall, and the Moorish Revival Great Synagogue, the second largest synagogue in Europe, after the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest. There is also a 20 kilometres (12 miles) historic underground tunnel/cellar network, among the longest in Central Europe. Part of this network is open to the public for tours of about 750 metres (2,461 feet) in length and up to a depth of 12 metres (39 feet).
Plzeň has been selected to be a European Capital Of Culture in 2015, along with Mons, Belgium.
Duration: 7 to 8 hours.
The Moravian Karst and Pernstein castle
The tour to the legendary Moravian Karst (Moravský kras) will present you the opportunity to touch the beauty of the massif and natural caves, that haven’t been touched by a human for centuries. It encompasses a number of notable geological features, including roughly 1100 caverns and gorges and covers an area of roughly 92 km². Currently, five of the cave systems (Punkva Caves, Balcarka Cave, Kateřinská Cave, Výpustek Cave and Sloupsko-šošůvské Caves) are open for public tours and exploration.
This region is also home to one of the most important single geological features in the Czech Republic, the Macocha Abyss, a gorge 138 m deep, which was formed when the ceiling of an underground cave chamber collapsed. Macocha Abyss is also the place where the Punkva River begins to run underground through the Punkva cave system, and two small pools of water are visible at the surface.
The Moravian Karst is a popular tourist attraction in the local area, and large numbers of tourists visit in the summer months. In addition to caverns, the nature preserve also contains well-marked bicycle trails and hiking paths to explore.
The Pernstein castle is also worth your time: the ancient fortress haven’t been reconstructed since the day it was built, and it’s still looking at its visitors with the wide-opened metaphorical XVIth century’s eyes.
Duration: 11 to 13 hours.
The word Dětenice for a tourist in Czech Republic in its broad sense means the medieval show, in the meaning narrow again the castle, where the show is performed. The tour to this wonderful place is an opportunity to live the life of the Czech plebs, eat the food they ate, hear the music they heard. The authentic bartender will greet you with rough “What gonna fress?”, there will be no folks of spoons, food has to be eaten only by hands. You will be pestered by authentic hookers, who will offer you their services, and robbers will persuade you to gamble with them.
The tour will be appropriate for those, who are looking for the entertainment and colourful experience, instead of boring trip and sightseeing.
Duration: 5 to 6 hours.
Karlstein and Konopisht castles
The great opportunity for those, who’d like to visit not one, but two castles during one trip and find out more about the history of these beauteous strongholds.
Karlštejn Castle is a large Gothic castle founded 1348 by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor-elect and King of Bohemia. The castle served as a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia as well as the Bohemian/Czech crown jewels, holy relics, and other royal treasures. Located about 30 km southwest of Prague above the village of the same name, it is one of the most famous and most frequently visited castles in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1348, the construction works were directed by the later Karlštejn burgrave Vitus of Bítov, but there are no records of the builder himself. Some historian speculate that Matthias of Arras may be credited with being the architect, but he had already died by 1352. It is likely that there was not a progressive and cunning architect, but a brilliant civil engineer who dextrously and with a necessary mathematical accuracy solved technically exigent problems that issued from the emperor’s ideas and requests. Instead, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV personally supervised the construction works and interior decoration. A little known fact is that the Emperor hired Palatinate region labour for the remaining work. Construction was finished nearly twenty years later in 1365 when the “heart” of the treasury – the Chapel of the Holy Cross situated in the Great tower – was consecrated.
Konopiště is a four-winged three storey château located about 50 km (30 mi) southeast of Prague, outside the city of Benešov. It has become famous as the last residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne, whose assassination in Sarajevo triggered World War I. The bullet that killed him, fired by Gavrilo Princip, is now an exhibit at the castle’s museum.
Konopiště has been open to the public since 1971. Visitors can observe the residential rooms of Franz Ferdinand who was also an enthusiastic hunter, a large collection of antlers, the “Obizzi-Este collection” (the third largest European collection of armoury and medieval weapons from Castello del Catajo, Padua, Italy), a shooting hall with moving targets and a garden with Italian Renaissance statues and greenhouses.
Part of the film The Illusionist, supposed to be the Prince’s castle in the movie, was filmed in Konopiště.
Duration: 8 hours.
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