Scarlett in the city of hops
In 2020, the comedy drama Jojo Rabbit received six Academy Awards nominations. The expert jury was fascinated not only by the original story, but also by the movie’s visual appearance. Director Taika Waititi chose Žatec, situated two hours away from Prague, for the three-week filming because he was enchanted by this ancient town full of picturesque streets and arcades. His staff transformed the historic centre into a German city, where the main heroine, played by Scarlett Johansson, lives. It is no coincidence that the film-makers chose Žatec as foreign crews have filmed there in the past on films such as Les Misérables, starring Liam Neeson, and Yentl, on which Barbra Streisand made her directorial début.
The charm of this town lies in the fact that you can see the medieval and renaissance houses in their original form. The first mentions of Žatec come from the year 1004 and, from the very beginning, history mentions its famous hops, which have been used for centuries for the production of Žatec beer. Take a look at the Temple of Hops, the world's largest historical beer museum, with an exhibition on 4,000 square metres. You will learn all about the processing of this raw material and find out why the local beer has fans all over the world. During the excursion, take an elevator to the top of the Hop Lighthouse. On the way up you will see a projection about the history of Žatec. After visiting the museum, have lunch on the ground floor of the museum complex, where the Restaurant U Orloje is located, offering specialities with a beer flavour. At the end of your visit to Žatec, head to the town hall tower, which is 47 metres high and offers a view of the entire town and the hilly landscape.
Karlovy Vary – be like James Bond
Do you prefer a Martini over beer? Then definitely follow in the footsteps of Daniel Craig, who filmed the Bond film Casino Royale in the spa town of Karlovy Vary. He drank an aperitif in the Grandhotel Pupp, also filmed in the Císařské lázně area and walked along the Mlýnská and Vřídelní colonnades. The elegant environment of the spa has attracted clients since the 18th century. People came here not only to improve their health. Spa doctors recommended not only regular drinking of healing mineral waters from local sources, but also walks in the surrounding nature. Not far from Karlovy Vary are the towns of Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně. No matter which of these locations you choose, you will not regret it. Enjoy the atmosphere of these peaceful towns, where you can admire the decorative façades of the houses, taste the healing mineral waters and crispy spa wafers while walking down the colonnade. The only thing that will bother you is time, as it flows differently than in busy cities. This is where time stops, and you will not want the clock hands to start moving again.
Clive Owen the Knight
You can remember the action scenes with Clive Owen as the hero of the Last Knights movie in the places where this famous actor filmed his knightly fights. The main scene was filmed at Křivoklát, one of the oldest and most important medieval castles where Czech kings lived. The journey by car from Prague to the castle gate takes about an hour, and expect and plan it to be a whole-day trip, because you will definitely have plenty to look at. A guided tour of the entire castle lasts 100 minutes and will take you to the Knights' and Royal Halls, the Picture Gallery, and you will walk along the ramparts and ascend to the Great Cylindric Tower. After lunch at the castle restaurant, you can explore the production of coins, pottery or glass by local artisans. In the afternoon, go for a walk around the castle in a UNESCO protected nature reserve. 120 species of birds nest in the local forests, many of which are on the worldwide list of protected species.
Industrial scenery for Vin Diesel
We move from medieval history to the 19th century, when Ostrava became an important industrial centre. The Viennese banker Salomon Rothschild took a great deal of credit for the construction of the third largest city in the Czech Republic. He founded one of the most modern ironworks in Europe at the time. For generations, Ostrava was a city of workers, but operation gradually ceased. The locals are rightly proud of the industrial monuments that are now open to the public. The rugged mine shafts and mining towers attracted the South Korean crew, who made the International Market movie here. The central motif of the movie is a love story from the 1960s, when the government sent South Korean men to work in German mines after the Korean War. The Hollywood actor Vin Diesel shot action scenes for the sci-fi movie Babylon A. D. in Ostrava. He also admired the beauty of its industrial monuments, the centre of which is the former Michal Mine, where black coal was mined. As part of the excursion, you will see electric machines from the beginning of the 20th century and will also look into the boiler room to the steam engine from 1893. After the tour, head to the nearby Vítkovice district. Rothschild initiated the construction of a workers' colony for 20,000 employees of the company here. To this day, the red-brick workers' town has been preserved in almost the same form as it was at the end of the 19th century.