Czech Republic - Cesky Krumlov & Castle Hluboka

Trip Start May 30, 2013
Trip End Dec 09, 2014

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Thursday, August 1, 2013

We woke up at 6.00 to be able to depart at 7.00. That day our goal was to visit two places – the city of Cesky Krumlov, which is supposed to be the second most beautiful city in the Czech Republic (of course, after Prague) , and the Castle Hluboka that is known as the biggest castle (of a "chateau" kind) in the Czech Republic.

Since both places are situated in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic it took us approx. 2 hours to get to Cesky Krumlov by car. It is very important to highlight the fact that old Cesky Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was given this status along with the historic Prague castle district. Construction of the town and castle began in the late 13th century at a ford in the Vltava River, which was important in trade routes in Bohemia.

Our first steps headed to one of the local coffee houses. This one was quite cute, all in Italian style…they even said hello in Italian :) Nevertheless, on the way to the café we could admire the late-Gothic cathedral called St. Vitus Church from the bank of the Vltava River. After having a quick coffee and some ice tea we decided to go to the main square (Namesti Svornosti) to get a city map as well as some additional information about what to see in the city.

Once we left the tourist information center, we accidentally passed by the Museum of Torture Instruments. The whole purpose of the museum was to reveal the inhuman methods used by the ancient torturers, including examples of thumbscrews, bone-breaking wheels and other torture “equipment”. Although I realize itīs a little bit creepy Iīm really interested in this kind of stuff so I convinced the rest of our group (basically my mum and Gonzalo) to enter with me. Fortunately they enjoyed the museum as much as I did so they didnīt regret to go in :) Thus we could learn how different instruments of medieval tortures worked – for example:

  • The Virgin of Nuremberg. This device was born in Germany and it got its name from the fact that its exterior resembled a Bavarian girl. The condemned party was closed inside the contraption where the body of the unlucky individual was pierced by sharp spikes. The spikes were positioned in a manner so that, even though they penetrated various parts of the body, they did not rupture any vital organs, ensuring a long period of suffering.
  • The Chastity Belt. Traditionally, such appliances were used to ensure wifeīs faithfulness when they were left at home by crusaders fighting in Palestine. Actually, it was technically possible only for short periods, not more than a couple for days. The effects were, otherwise, infections caused by abrasions against the metal edges. However, it seems that the main use of this device was to form a barrier against rape. Therefore, the historians believe that women themselves asked for the belt.
  • The Spanish Boot. It was made of four pieces of narrow wooden board nailed together. The boards were measured to fit the victim's leg. Once the leg was enclosed, wedges would be hammered between the boards, creating pressure. The pressure would be increased until the victim confessed or lost consciousness.   
Then we started to walk towards the Castle which is supposed to be the landmark and architectural jewel of the city of Cesky Krumlov. If we consider its size, only Prague castle can compete with the castle. Even though we decided not to enter the chateau interiors, we enjoyed all the castle attractions at least well from outside – the chateau tower, live bears in the castle trench and the authentic Baroque castle theater. The large castle premises complement the grand Baroque and partially Rococo garden with the Bellarie summer castle and a cascade fountain. The State Castle and Chateau of Cesky Krumlov was included in the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Monuments in 1992.

Inside of the castle complex we spent quite a lot of time…we walked around, took many photos and after all got hungry so we decided to look for a suitable place where we could have lunch.

After lunch we went to a gallery where we helped my mum to pick a picture from quite a famous Czech photographer. We left for the Castle Hluboka at about 16.00. Unfortunately when we got there it was already closed (we missed the last tour by 5 minutes). Well, at least weīll have a reason to come back during our next visit of the Czech Republic.  Since we were already there we decided to take literally thousands of pictures with the castle behind us :)

The Castle Hluboka is situated in Hluboka nad Vltavou and considered to be one of the most beautiful castles of the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century a gothic castle was built at the site. During its history it was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of the Windsor Castle. The Castle Hluboka is a National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic.

At the end of the day we found a nice place to have a snack. Of course, we didnīt forget to order the typical Czech coke called “Kofola”. This drink was actually invented as a replacement of the western “coca cola” back in the communist times and step by step it became part of the Czech culture. Nowadays people look forward to its special flavor even if itīs related to those times of total unfreedom. Even Gonzalo loves it!!!

We arrived home at about 20.00. Tiring day, especially because it was very hot, however, we believe it was definitely worth it.  
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