Czech Cities as Gateways to the Regions

Czech Cities as Gateways to the Regions

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The Czech Republic is not just Prague. Discover interesting stories of cities that will take you through the country from east to west. Each city in this array will show you you that they each have a lot to offer, thanks not only to their breathtaking beauty built up over the centuries, but also thanks to the vibrant contemporary life and art.

Prague: The Never Ending Happening

The greatest tourist magnet of the Czech Republic? Prague. Most tourists spend their holidays there, and so of course many of them have seen Prague Castle and Charles Bridge. But is there a reason to return? Of course! Only a few metro stations from the centre of Prague and you are in Holešovice, the Art District. It is a colourful district full of galleries, museums, theatres, cafés, restaurants, music clubs, creative studios, and hybrid cultural spaces. It is where a never-ending happening takes place, an atmosphere where the independent cultural scene blends beautifully with official institutions. There is the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art as well as the National Gallery housed in the Veletržní Palace; you can use bitcoins in the cafés, and you have the opportunity to see events like scenic dances mixed with improvised music in various alternative spaces. And where else to get a glass of cool beer than in Letenské sady, which overlooks Prague’s Old Town!

Brno: The Mecca of Czech Architecture and Gastronomy – Young. Lively. Stylish.

Brno is blooming like no other city in the Czech Republic. There are several leading Czech universities in the Moravian capital, and it is not for nothing that it consistently takes top positions in the ratings of the most popular student cities in the world. There are adventurous restaurants, cocktail bars, pubs, and wineries there. And cafés? Don’t look for the best trendy spots with baristas that win world competitions in Prague – they are all here in Brno! This Moravian city is also a city of modern architecture. UNESCO might only protect Villa Tugendhat, but lovers of the art of the first half of the 20th century must see Villa Löw-Beer, Stiassni, and Jurkovič’s Villa. Moreover, you will hardly find as many functionalist buildings in one place anywhere else in the world.

Ostrava: The Undiscovered Raw Beauty

Thirty years ago, this North Moravian city was known as Black Ostrava, as the concentration of heavy industry in the very centre of the city had no parallel anywhere in the Czech Republic. A lot has changed since then, but the industrial spirit has remained. For example, the area of Dolní Vítkovice is one of the most frequently visited tourist sights outside Prague. It is the largest accessible industrial premises in the Czech Republic, and the place where you can discover the entire technological process of iron production during a guided tour. They used to mine coal and melt iron there, just one kilometre away from the main square! Today, you can enjoy unforgettable concerts in the very same location, including the Colours of Ostrava festival, which is able to draw the greatest stars from around the world to perform.

Kutná Hora: The Middle Ages in the Purest Form

About 70 km east of Prague lies Kutná Hora, the jewel of Czech medieval towns. A proud town that once used to supply half of Europe with silver from its mines, today it is a town where the medieval age can be seen in every stone. The gems of the town include The Church of St Barbara, which is listed by UNESCO; the Italian Court; and the Sedlec Monastery with its chillingly beautiful ossuary. And when in Kutná Hora, remember to visit the Czech Museum of Silver where you have the opportunity to climb under the ground and visit a medieval silver mine!


Litomyšl: A Charming Spa for Your Soul

The Czech Republic has several world-famous spas. But only one of them is a spa for your soul. It is the city of Litomyšl in East Bohemia. A serene small town where the beauty of the Renaissance chateau and the houses on the square are wedded with modern buildings and reconstructed gardens. Simply put, your soul will be able to rest easily in Litomyšl. If you go to Litomyšl in the summer, visit the festival of classical music, Smetana’s Litomyšl, which takes place in the courtyard of the chateau. Bedřich Smetana, a Czech composer, was born there in 1824. The chateau has one more secret – a Baroque theatre with well-preserved Baroque scenery and costumes!


Olomouc: The Spiritual Capital of Moravia

The medieval city of Olomouc lies approximately in the centre of Moravia. You will be surprised at the number of sacred sights there. According to the Lonely Planet, it is one of the most beautiful and tourist-forgotten cities. For example, you can see the Column of the Holy Trinity, a UNESCO site; the Archbishop’s Palace; the Archdiocese Museum; and St Wenceslas Cathedral. Olomouc is full of some of the most beautiful Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque sights thanks to its history: it has been the seat of Catholic archbishops since the Middle Ages, and its history is just waiting to be discovered!

Karlovy Vary: Soothing Harmony for Body and Soul

Hot springs. A spa. An international film festival. Porcelain. Glass. You can find all these and more in Karlovy Vary, a spa that kings, emperors, and the European aristocracy used to queue up to visit. Moreover, the city is set in a valley around the Ohře and Teplá rivers and it is surrounded with beautiful forests. When in Karlovy Vary, be sure to explore its surroundings as well. For example just nearby is the royal castle of Loket and the chateau in Bečov nad Teplou, where you can see the second most important historical artefact in the country – the Reliquary of St Maurus.

Liberec: A City Surrounded by Mountains

When you say Liberec, many Czechs recall the majestic mountain of Ještěd with its unforgettable hotel and TV tower at the top. Liberec is surrounded by the Jizerské Mountains, dominated by the peak Ještěd. The TV tower and the hotel were built on the mountain in 1960s when interest in outer space soared, and so the architect found inspiration in cosmic shapes. The building is truly unique, and fortunately the interior is also being restored to its original form. But Liberec is not only Ještěd: the surrounding mountains offer great winter sports opportunities. Nearby, there are the best cross-country skiing trails in the Czech Republic.