This is known as the metropolis of South Bohemia with nearly 100 thousand inhabitants, located directly on the confluence of the Vltava and Malše Rivers. It was founded in 1265 by King Přemysl Otakar II. As a royal town, it flourished quickly from the start and became especially developed in crafts and trade. The strategic location of České Budějovice turned it into a military fortress over the centuries. In the 16th century it became an important place for silver mining, and a mint even functioned here at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. The year 1832 saw the first departure of the horse-drawn railway from České Budějovice to Linz. Today, this station is a technical monument and is open to the public. The city has been known for the production of Hardmuth pencils since 1847, and its brewery tradition is perhaps even more famous.
The České Budějovice Exhibition Grounds were opened in 1960, and for four decades has hosted the regular agricultural fair Země živitelka (Bread Basket). In 1990, České Budějovice became a university city.
The historical city centre is marked by its vast (ca. 133 × 133 m) town square named Přemysl Otakar II. The centre of the town square is dominated by the Baroque Samson Fountain from the beginning of the 18th century. Visible from afar as the symbol of České Budějovice is the 72 meter tall Black Tower standing on one corner of the square. Of the many Renaissance and Baroque houses surrounding the town square, the most valuable original Renaissance (and later Baroque) building is the Town Hall from the middle 16th century. Only part of the walls and some towers have survived from the original town fortification system, among them the Iron Lady, the infamous medieval torture instrument which gave the tower its name. Not far from the square, the original and preserved meat market building from the middle 16th century still stands; it has served as a favourite České Budějovice beerhall since the 1950’s, bearing the Czech name “Masné krámy”.
There are several institutions of the Czech Academy of Science in České Budějovice, as well as a Museum of South Bohemia, a Horse-drawn Railway Museum, a Museum of Energy, the South Bohemia Motorcycle Museum, and more.
This is a village not far from České Budějovice featuring a number of well-preserved houses in Rustic Folk Baroque style.
A village about 4 km east from the centre of České Budějovice. There was some minor silver mining activity here in the 16th and 17th centuries, but the village soon became renowned for the healing effects of the local mineral springs. A small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was built near them in 1632. The small building wasn’t enough to satisfy the number of pilgrims, however, so a new pilgrimage church was built from 1733 to 1735. The church is the work of architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer (1689–1751) while the rich interior decorations are from painter Václav Vavřinec Reiner (1689–1743). This single-nave church with its two side chapels is one of South Bohemia’s better examples of High Baroque monuments.
This is a national cultural property, doubtlessly the best-known building of Czech Neo-gothic style, and one of the most visited monuments in the Czech Republic. It was once a sentry castle, founded in the 13th century by the kings of Bohemia, then reconstructed in grandiose romantic Tudor Gothic style in 1845–1871. The owners of the castle at the time were the Schwarzenberg family and were inspired by the Windsor royal residence in England.
Hluboká Castle is surrounded by beautiful vast gardens and landscaped parks, and the castle riding school houses an exhibition of the Aleš South Bohemia Gallery.
This picturesque South Bohemian village lies about 10 km west of České Budějovice at the foot of the Blanský Forest. Its regular rectangular village green, with its small pond, is surrounded by 27 buildings, mostly farmhouses built in the style of South Bohemian Rustic Baroque. This is a particular folk style of architecture that borrowed many decorative elements from municipal and ecclesiastic Baroque and Classicist architecture. The village was inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1998 for its exceptional integrity and degree of preservation.
This is the oldest railway on continental Europe and was built in 1852–1832 by František Antonín Gerstner (1795–1840) who thus realized the dream of his father, František Josef Gerstner. The railway measured 120.8 km and became the basis for the European railway network of the future. There is a permanent exhibition of the Horse-drawn Railway in the Museum of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. Today, only a few fragments of this structure have survived in the landscape between České Budějovice and Linz (mounds, remnants of tracks). The railway was originally made of steel strips chained to wooden beams; it had a gauge of 1106 mm, and the ties were 1896 mm from each other.
Not far from Hluboká nad Vltavou, between the ponds of Munický and Zvolenovský, stands a hunting manor built by the Schwarzenbergs in 1708–1713. This two-storey Baroque building holds a museum dedicated to forestry, fishing, and aquaculture today as well as an impressive collection of hunting weapons and trophies. An interesting rarity is the stuffed body of the last living wild bear in Šumava, shot in 1856. The manor is surrounded by a vast park, and directly next to the shores of Munický Pond is a small zoo focusing primarily on breeding European fauna. But it also features many exotic species. The Ohrada Zoo is a perfect destination for families with children.
This is an important right-bank Vltava tributary which meets the Vltava in the centre of České Budějovice. It begins in Upper Austria and has a total length of 96 km, 90 km of which are in the Czech Republic. Near the village of Římov, a valley water reservoir was built from 1971 to 1978 in the Malše valley, now serving as a source of drinking water for České Budějovice.
This is a concrete gravitational dam with hydroelectric power plant and navigational lock, built from 1986 to 1991 as the last level (meant chronologically) of the Vltava Cascade. The reservoir serves as a source of technical cooling water for the Temelín nuclear power plant just downstream. Not long ago, as part of the canalization of the Vltava River, a navigational lock was opened in the reservoir for boats with a discharge of 300 tons.
Once a rafters’ village on the banks of the Vltava River. The timber rafting hall and the small monument to the drowned rafters at the village square testify to the glory of the rafter’s craft. A part of the village is flooded by the Hněvkovická water dam; the former bridge was replaced by ferry boats.
A 12 km-long cycle path from Purkarec to Hluboká nad Vltavou was opened in 2010. About 2 km before Purkarec, there is the ruin of Karlův hrádek Castle from the 2nd half of the 14th century. A museum of historical vehicles and old agriculture technology can be found in the nearby village of Pořežany.
This town is the birth place of the Hussite commander Jan Žižka of Trocnov
(ca. 1360–1424). In roughly the location where his family farmhouse stood (the foundations have survived even today), a monument to the Hussite movement has been erected. On the site where the oak tree stood, where this celebrated military commander is said to have been born, a roughly hewn boulder has stood since 1908, Žižka’s Stone. A bit further,
a 12 meter high Žižka statue was erected in 1960. All of the sites in the area are connected by a ca. 1 km long marked path.
You can also walk there from Borovany along the red hiking trail.
About 1 km south of the village of Trhové Sviny, there is a solitary Baroque complex standing in the landscape, a pilgrimage church, whose architecture is usually accredited to Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer (1689–1751), a German-born Czech architect and builder.
The building has a six-pointed star layout with three towers surrounding the cloister, and was built from 1705 to 1709. Its situation in the open landscape makes it a dominant feature visible from afar.
The first news about this settlement below a fortified castle called Sviny on the Vitoraz trade route come to us from the middle 13th century. From the beginning of the 15th century, when Sviny was granted market rights, it was prefixed by “Trhové”, meaning “market”. The original castle no longer exists, but the dominant feature of the town today is the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, a valuable Gothic monument from the 13th century. The town is the site of the birth house (with memorial plaque) of the president of the Czechoslovak Protectorate, Dr. Emil Hacha. Another Trhové Sviny native is the musician and composer Karel Valdauf (1913–1982), whose house has been converted into a museum.
This town lies directly on the Vltava River just before its confluence with the Lužnice River. This is one of the oldest settlements in South Bohemia, since as early as in the 12th century (maybe even in the 10th), a fortified courtyard with settlement was mentioned in this location. Týn has been a royal town since 1609. There is an early Baroque archbishop’s palace on the town square as well as several Renaissance burgher houses. The town hall was also built in the same style but later reconstructed in South Bohemian Rustic Baroque style. The most important dominant feature of the town square is the early Gothic Church of St. Jacob.
There is an exhibition of wood rafting, ceramics, and puppetry in the municipal museum. The steel bridge spanning the Vltava is a technical monument, built in 1892. On the edge of town, towards the confluence with the Lužnice, there is a miniature lookout tower on Semenec hill above the river that offers a good view onto Týn and the surrounding area.
This is a partially fortified village (one of the few in all of Europe) that was formed in the middle 13th century, from where the late Gothic fortress comes from, reconstructed in the beginning of the 17th century into a smaller Renaissance castle. Its reconstruction was completed in 1974. Today, the castle holds an exhibition of folk painted furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries.
A picturesque chateau in Koloděje nad Lužnicí that has undergone a complicated and attentive reconstruction and has been opened to the general public since 2015.
The chateau is famous for its unique murals that decorate the entire fi rst representative fl oor. The renaissance part of the chateau dates back to 1565 and was founded by Sir Adam Čabelický from Soutice. Between 1737 and 1741, František Karel Wratislav with his wife Marie Anna, maiden name Kinsky, built an extension to the residential part and an annex to the Chapel of St. Anne, which gave the chateau its current baroque looks.
During high season, the location off ers costumed tours in the interior of the chateau, comedian theatre shows, traditional fencing fi ghts, stylish snack bar and picnic hampers that you can enjoy at the herb garden with views of the countryside, or in the restored chateau park with 8,500 new plants and 50 newly planted trees.