Architecture in Prague

A Trip to Cesky Krumlov

Karel Čapek ilustration Pictures form HomeA UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ceský Krumlov is famous for its Old Town, with 300 protected medieval buildings, and its castle complex, the second largest in the Czech Republic.

Going to Cesky Krumlov is a busy one day trip or a relaxed two day trip. You can go by bus (it takes 3 hours) or by train (you need to change the train in České Budějovice) or we will arrange a car and a driver for you. Visiting Cesky Krumlov is worth a trip.

To imagine what a magic place Cesky Krumlov is, read an excerpt from a story written by one of the greatest Czech writers of the early 20th century, Karel Čapek in his Pictures from Home.

“…I do not know how many times the Vltava meanders before you get through the town – doing so as directly as possible you will cross it about five times and each time you are surprised that it is so golden-brown and in a hurry. Neither do I know how many inhabitants Krumlov has, but there are twenty-four pubs, three churches, one castle, still two large town gates and a large number of monuments; in fact the whole town is one big historic monument which reminds one of Sienna or Stirling or other famous places. Well, there are old gables, bays, dormers, arcades, arches, galleries, battlements, sgrafitto, frescoes, stairs up and down, balustrades, fountains, columns, corner stones, nooks, frame-works, maßhaus, underpasses, historic pavement, zigzagging lanes, Bethlehems, high roofs, a Gothic church, Minorites and all over the place the red roses of the Rosenbergs, everywhere you stir you can see only picturesqueness and antiquity and historical fame, while in the old suburbs there are only low houses whose roofs you can touch with your hand, geraniums in the windows and the sign over the door, here old crafts are still alive as in the fifteenth century.

Everything is dominated (and really so after the Dukes of Eggenberg) by the castle over there and particularly the tower, one of the most towery towers which I have ever seen, I would say that towers are a Czech specialty because nowhere else can you find such strange cupolas, paunchy onion-domes, poppy-head cupolas, lanterns, stuck little turrets and galleries and spires as in this country; each old Bohemian town has its own particular tower by which you can tell that this is Hradec and this is Brno and this is Budějovice and this is Český Krumlov.

As concerns the castle, it is all decorated and covered with frescos inside as well as outside but the best of all is the little Baroque theater in which the old decorations still hang; an eighteenth century Italian opera could haunt this place at this moment but it does not because it is not allowed to perform here because of safety measures. Further there is the summer-house Bellarie with such funny stairs on the facade and lots of other Baroque things; for three crowns this is enough and to spare…”

Karel Čapek – Pictures from Home

Architecture in Prague

Art Deco Arcades in Prague

Art deco arcades in Prague, modernist and cubist are interesting, vibrant, loved by locals and overlooked by tourists. Most of the arcades are close to Wenceslas Square, Vodickova and Stepanska streets.

The architecture enthusiasts should not skip at least Lucerna, Rokoko and Koruna arcades. Lucerna, once built by former Czech President Vaclav Havel’s family is admired for Arabic bazar style decoration while Rokoko arcade is a small art deco jewel. Most of the „passages“ – as locals call them, were built between the turn of 19th and 20th century and the end of the „First Republic“ (1918 – 1938). Don’t forget to visit Cafe Lucerna – yes, it would deserve  a facelift but still, you will enjoy its former glory and art deco charm, it is still there. Continue reading “Art Deco Arcades in Prague”