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Travel: Stepping Back in Time at Czech Republic’s Cesky Krumlov


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If you are tired of city life and want a change of scene, don’t go west. Go east instead ‒ Eastern Europe that is ‒ to a place called Cesky Krumlov (say chesky-krom-lof). There, nothing bears any resemblance to the hustle and bustle of a modern city. Instead, cobbled streets lead to distinctive gothic and renaissance style buildings with typical elements such as vaults, little portals and decorated window frames.

Cesky Krumlov is an unspoilt, charming little primeval town in Southern Bohemia, the Czech Republic. It sprouted up around the feudal period in the 13th century. One portion of Cesky Krumlov nestles on the bank of the u-shaped Moldau (Vltava) River across the Czech border. The other bank is dominated by a magnificent castle and chateau seated high on a huge rock.

The view overlooking the entire town is particularly panoramic. It is like a page taken from a Brothers Grimm story book. Preserved in its entirety, one would think time stood still for this quaint town since the dark ages. It has never lost its medieval character to this day.

In 1992, Cesky Krumlov was one of the first Czech reservations to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. National Geographic magazine classified this principality in 2008 as the world’s 16th most beautiful historic locale. Second in size only to Prague Castle, which was the residence of Czech kings, the medieval Cesky Krumlov castle that overlooks the town is also the second-largest noble domain in the Czech Republic.  This stronghold was once the home and seat of the powerful and wealthy Schwarzenbergs, Eggenbergs, Habsburgs and Rosenbergs. Eight centuries on, it is populated by 14,000 inhabitants.

The second-most-dominating feature in Cesky Krumlov is St Vitus’ Church with its slender white tower shining above the red roofs of houses below. Constructed about 700 years ago, it is where many of the noble inhabitants of Cesky Krumlov were laid to rest.

Bears were featured on the coat of arms of the ruling noblemen. And in the Bear Moat surrounding the Little Castle, bears have been reared there for generations to this day.

Walk into the Inner Town and before you is Svornosti Square. A distinct feature of this quadrangle is a Baroque fountain and a plaque column decorated with sculptures. This square was built in the 13th century. Every year in May, Svornosti Square will be renamed the Square of Love for one month to mark the spring season. During this period, many festivals and cultural events are held, much to the delight of visitors to Cesky Krumlov. And in all its medieval gaiety, music, colourful costumes and dancing, you would probably be so engrossed with your camera that you might forget to reach out for your smartphone to check for messages.

If you fancy going back in time to recharge yourself before moving forward, perhaps you should check it out by calling: +65-6338-7338, e-mailing: info@insightvacations.com.sg or visiting: www.insightvacations.com.

*The gallery photos are provided by Insight Vacations and the writer.