Western Bohemia has been known for centuries for its curative springs and spas. However, the region has so much more to offer. It is a landscape that can proudly boast numerous Baroque buildings. Baroque is present here more than anywhere else in the Czech Republic. In summer, the Baroque sites burst into life with Baroque music, theatre and dance thanks to the Summer Baroque festival.
Baroque landscape and buildingsBaroque, the artistic style of the 17th and 18th centuries, is characterised by its lively vibrancy. The spirit of the past has been preserved in buildings and gardens that were founded around châteaux and monasteries. And why does Baroque blend so well with western Bohemia? It is because respectable Baroque architects, Santini and Dientzenhofer worked in this area. You will find preserved parts of Baroque landscape with unique atmosphere here, and in addition to the well-known sites, also those that have almost been forgotten.
Summer Baroque FestivalIf you would really like to learn about the West Bohemian Baroque, head to the pilgrimage site in Mariánská Týnice north of Plzeň, which is a former Cistercian provost’s seat designed by Jan Santini Aichel. Here you will find the Centre of Baroque and the North Plzeň Regional Museum and Gallery. You can look forward to an exposition about Santini and his creative world, and other interesting permanent exhibitions, such as the History of Mariánská Týnice and the cult of the Virgin Mary, where you can also see the construction of the premises, the Ethnographic Exposition, or the City Life installation inclusive of a period shop, craft workshops, a household and an inn.
The Baroque Centre organises the annual Summer Baroque Festival. It not only presents unique reconstructed sites, but also shows us, the people of the 21st century, what people used to think about the world, fun and culture at the time. The festival is full of tours, concerts, exhibitions, tasting, fairs, theatre shows, equestrian shows, dance performances, seminars, fire shows, masses, falconry and hunting demonstrations and, of course, Baroque fireworks. The events take place at important Baroque sites and are designed to accommodate both adults and children. Festival participants get to learn about the sites not only as passive visitors, but can literally experience an authentic atmosphere. The festival brings visitors, for example, to the Chotěšov Monastery, to Mariánská Týnice, Klatovy or to various Baroque churches across western Bohemia. Other Baroque gems in western Bohemia include the Plasy Monastery, Hrádek u Sušice and Manětín.
Baroque, but not only by bikeYou can explore Baroque beauties of both a natural and cultural character by bicycle. Three “Baroque” cycling trails lead through western Bohemia. They start and end in Plasy, a village that takes pride in the monumental monastery designed by Santini, the genius of Baroque architecture. He built a monastery convent building atop five thousand massive oak poles driven into the marsh, and it is still stands like this today. The foundations must constantly remain submerged in the water, otherwise the entire building would collapse. But you can learn more about that on a tour of the former monastery with one of the guides… The cycling trails, each of which is about 40 kilometres long and of varying difficulty, are marked with West Bohemian Baroque logo stickers.
And where else to go to see Baroque sites? You can try the Kladruby monastery. Santini built a church with a breath-taking interior and an interesting altar space there, while Dientzenhofer built the convent building. If your travels take you to Manětín, a village north of Plzeň, check out the Church of St. John the Baptist, the château and the Baroque sculptures. Klatovy, a town south of Plzeň, offers a tour of the unique Baroque pharmacy called “At the White Unicorn” with an interesting exposition of early modern pharmacy operation.