South of Prague (the capital of the Czech Republic), and nestled in the hills of Bohemia, lies a magical town. Český Krumlov (also known as Krumau) features a castle, many Baroque buildings, the Moldau River (also known as the Vltava River), and an old town square. When you visit, you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled back in time – not much has changed since the 18th century! Český Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a look at this video to learn about the beauty of the town.
- The main feature of Český Krumlov is the Český Krumlov State Castle and Chateau. The Castle took over 7 centuries to build! You can see the oldest part of the castle, the oval castle tower, which was built in 1291. At the castle, there are about 40 buildings, gardens, and courtyards. It is the second largest castle complex in Europe. To enter, you’ll cross the famous Bear Moat, featuring the Krumlov Bears. These bears symbolized the Rosenberg family, and are shown on the Rosenberg coat of arms holding the shield. Read this article on the live bears that live in the castle moat , then discuss how historical traditions can still be kept while maintaining ethical and conservation standards. Do you think that bears should be kept in an old moat? How could the Castle improve the lives of these bears?
- The most famous part of the castle complex is the Baroque Castle Theatre. It is one of two remaining theatres of its type in the world, was remodeled in the 1700s (!), and showcases baroque theatre several times a year, using the original props and equipment. Take a look at this video of a performance at the Baroque Theatre, and then check out the photos of the theatre (and backstage)here. Have you seen any historical plays, or visited a historical theatre (like the Ford Theatre, where President Lincoln was assassinated)? What do you think of the physical space of historic theatres, as opposed to current theatre venues? Do you think architects have influenced theatre performances, or do performances influence the architects?
One of the most famous artists from Český Krumlov is Egon Scheile, who was a contemporary of Gustav Klimt. Like many artists and writers, Schiele was greatly inspired by the beauty of the town and the surrounding landscape, although the town had many traumatic memories for him. Take alook at some of his paintings in his “Dead Town” series – do you think he captured the essence of the town he lived in? Have you ever painted a place that is meaningful to you?