Karlštejn is a medieval castle in the Beroun district around 30 km southwest of Prague located in the Protected Landscape Area the Bohemian Karst. The castle was established in around 1348 as the private representative seat of Holy Roman Emperor and Czech King Charles IV. Only after some time had passed, following Charles’s imperial coronation in Rome in 1355, did the Emperor turn the castle into a treasury for the safekeeping of the imperial crown jewels and a collection of saintly remains. The Czech crown jewels were moved to the castle at the beginning of the 1420s. The castle is now an important national cultural monument and one of the most frequently visited castles in the Czech Lands.
Český Krumlov is a town in the South Bohemian Region 22 km southwest of České Budějovice and is situated beneath the ridge of Blanský Les. The River Vltava runs through the town which is an important centre of tourism and culture in Southern Bohemia. In the past, Český Krumlov was the seat of many powerful Czech families – the Vítkovec (Wittigonen) family, the Lords of Krumlov, the Rosenbergs, the Eggenbergs and the Schwarzenbergs – who devoted great care to the construction and representative character of the town. Český Krumlov was also the principal administrative centre of the Rosenberg domain and, up until 1918, the Duchy of Krumlov and the Schwarzenberg domain.
The medieval centre of the town, which is surrounded by meanders of the River Vltava, has been an urban conservation reservation since 1963 and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1992. Its suburb Plešivec (to the south of the historical centre) was declared an urban conservation zone in 2003. Český Krumlov has also been the setting for a number of films and the town hosts a number of cultural events and festivals during the course of the year, such as the Five-petalled Rose Celebrations, the Český Krumlov International Music Festival and the Český Krumlov Rally. It is now possible to visit the chateau in Český Krumlov where a number of different tour routes are offered. You can find more information and tickets here.
Lednice Chateau has been owned by the state since 1945. It is administered by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic through the National Heritage Institute in Prague – Kroměříž regional branch. The chateau is one of the most frequently visited sites in the Czech Republic. The Neo-Gothic reconstruction performed in the 19th century made it a romantic seat set in one of the largest parks in Europe (almost 200 hectares) which offers visitors a Palm House, a Venetian fountain, a Roman aqueduct, a Chinese Pavilion, a Minaret and the imitation ruins John’s Castle. Thanks to the unique interconnection of structural landmarks and the surrounding nature shaped by man, the entire Lednice-Valtice Area was entered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996. You can find tickets and more information here.
Litomyšl is a town lying in the very east of Bohemia in the Pardubice Region. The main attractions of the town include its Renaissance Chateau, entered on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List in 1999, whose façades and gables are decorated with unique sgraffito writings and which is one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Central Europe. The tour routes will take you around interiors furnished in period styles, the Baroque chateau theatre with its well-preserved collection of sets, and mysterious underground passages. A visit to the tower full of ghosts is perfect for families with children. It is also well worth visiting the historical centre of town, the houses around Smetanovo Náměstí (perhaps the best of which is U Rytířů), the magnificently restored monastery gardens and the painted museum Portmoneum.
In the Middle Ages, this town lying in the Central Bohemian Region was considered the silver treasure chest of the Czech Kingdom. It was entered into the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1995. You won’t find a castle or a chateau here, though the picturesque historical centre of the town will more than make up for this. The dominant landmark of Kutná Hora is the church dedicated to Saint Barbara – patron saint of miners. The first architect to work on this magnificently designed Gothic structure with its extensive system of supporting pillars and diverse sculptural decoration was one of the members of the Parléř family, though the church was not completed until the beginning of the 20th century. The decoration of the inside of the church is largely Late Gothic. The radial chapels behind the main altar and the stained-glass windows featuring scenes from the history of Kutná Hora and the Czech Lands are well worth a look.