Historic Centre of Cesky Krumlov
Politics, trade and religion.
Location and site
In southern Bohemia, between the Sumava massif and the Blansky Forest, Ceský Krumlov is located where a medieval east-west road crosses the Vltava River. The city has developed on both sides of this river according to a meandering and very dense layout.
Ceský Krumlov possesses two nodes, each occupying a densely developed space within a bend in the river; these are connected by a bridge. In the first, the castle and its park occupy a large part of the area and the Latran quarter is concentrated along a curved street. The second node, which is upriver from the first, is like a peninsula with an isthmus (where the meander is tighter) arranged for defense. A circular road follows the fortifications along the river’s edge. The urban plan developed according to a radial pattern that was quite regular, around an urban square that was almost quadrangular in shape. Three larger roads lead to the exterior of the node.
The castle, with its high tower, and the 15th-century Church of Saint Vitus dominate the built landscape. The ensemble of burghers’ dwellings, with their diverse facades, lines the two sides of the rivers. These houses, along with the religious institutions, make up most of the city’s urban fabric, in which late Gothic and Renaissance styles blend with Baroque elements to form a harmonious and opulent ensemble.
Ceský Krumlov constitutes an exceptional example of a small Central European medieval town. The structure and buildings of its historic centre are the result of its economic importance and its relatively peaceful organic development over approximately five centuries. It developed in a natural environment of great beauty. The buildings and the urban infrastructure very clearly reflect the evolution of the city over time. (IV)
- The castle, from which the city originated, was at the centre of an immense domain belonging to the Vitcovici family, which reigned over southern Bohemia. A settlement known as the Latran developed at the foot of the castle. On the opposite bank and within a riverbend, a second nucleus took form.
- In the 14th century, the property passed into the hands of the Rozmberks, a branch of the Vitkovici family. Ceský Krumlov was the seat of this powerful family until 1601. In 1347, the two urban nuclei were linked under a single administration. The municipal laws that were adopted provided favourable conditions for commercial prosperity. The Gothic castle, which was reconstructed in the Renaissance style, and the burghers’ dwellings reflected the city’s wealth.
- Ceský Krumlov enjoyed its political and economic heyday during the 15th and 16th centuries. It also experienced an ecclesiastical expansion. Its architectural achievements, particularly its religious buildings, were monumental; this is demonstrated in the Renaissance and Baroque works erected by the Jesuits in the 17th century.
- Ceský Krumlov passed into the hands of the Eggenberk family in 1622. In 1719, it was taken over by the Schwarzenbergs, and it remained influential in the 19th century. Saved by catastrophes and wars, it was not threatened by spontaneous industrialisation.
Mgr. Dalibor Carda
Town of Cesky Krumlov
Namestí Svornosti 1
Ceský Krumlov, Czech Republic
(+420) 380 766 100
Ms. Kamila Zemanova
Officer of external affairs
Municipality of Cesky Krumlov
Namestí Svornosti 1
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
(+420) 380 766 328