16 Natural And Cultural Heritage Sites in Czech

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16 Natural And Cultural Heritage Sites in Czech

Date: Nov 29, 2021
Author: Collins.cidar 58 No Comments

If you are in a country in Central Europe, bordered on all four sides by Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia, and which has Prague, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe set on both banks of the Vltava River, then you are by no doubt in Czech Republic (Czechia). This country is blessed with numerous ancient, cultural and natural sites that few other countries can compare with in the world. Starting from the Historic Centre of Prague, built between 11th and 18th Centuries, and which boasts of the great architectural and cultural influence relished by this City in the middle ages, to The Great Spa Towns of Europe, Tugendhat Villa in Brno, Gardens and Castles at Kromeriz, Historic Centre of Telc, Jewish Quatre and St. Procopius’ Basilica in Trebic, and the Ancient and Primeval Forests of the Carpathianns. So many other eye-catching sites in this peaceful country remained to be mentioned. Below we have taken out time to curate most of the places you would want to see on your next trip to Czech.

Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region

Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region/photographer:Author: J. KuglerCopyright: © J. Kugler/UNESCO

The mining region of Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří (Ore Mountains) is located between Saxony (Germany) and the Czechia. The transboundary serial property comprises 22 component parts that represent the spatial, functional, historical and socio-technological integrity of the territory; a self-contained landscape unit that has been profoundly and irreversibly shaped by 800 years of almost continuous polymetallic mining, from the 12th to 20th centuries.

The relict structure and pattern of the Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region remains highly legible and is characterized by specific and formative contributions made by the exploitation of different metals, at different times, in unevenly distributed locations defined by an exceptional concentration of mineral deposits. Separate mining landscapes emerged on both sides of the Ore Mountains, characterized by exchange of technical know-how, miners and metallurgists between Saxony and Bohemia. These deposits became key economic resources that were exploited during crucial periods in world history, events that were dictated by evolving empirical knowledge and exemplary practice and technologies devised or improved in the Ore Mountains; the vagaries of global markets impacted by new mineral discoveries, politics and wars, and the successive discovery of ‘new’ metals and their uses.

The Ore Mountains was the most important source of silver in Europe, particularly in the century from 1460 to 1560; silver was also the trigger for new organization and technology. Tin was produced in a steady manner throughout the long history of the Ore Mountains and rare cobalt ore, which was mixed with the silver ores in the Ore Mountains, made this region a leading European, if not world, producer from the 16th to 18th centuries. Finally, the region became a major global producer of uranium in the late 19th and 20th centuries; the early period being one of original discovery and development.

The combination of shifting geographical mineral output, topography and a mining system predominantly under state control, dictated land-use: mining, water management and transport, mineral processing, settlement, forestry and agriculture. Due to the longevity, and intensity, of mining, the entire cultural landscape of the Ore Mountains is largely impacted by its effects, and is anchored by the mines themselves (above and below ground, with all ore deposit types and principal exploitation periods represented, and with exceptional equipment and structures remaining in situ); pioneering water management systems (of water supply, for power at the mines themselves and for drainage and ore-processing); transport infrastructure (road, railway and canal); innovative ore-processing and smelting sites that possess an exceptional variety and integrity of equipment and structures; mining towns that developed spontaneously with, and adjacent to, the silver bonanzas of the 15th and 16th centuries, their original urban layout and architecture reflecting their importance as administrative, economic, educational, social and cultural centres and retained as the basis for embellishment in the 18th and 19th centuries; agriculture that was contemporary with the earliest silver strikes in the 12th century and a well-established forerunner of large-scale mining; and sustainably managed forests that occupy traditional spaces in the landscape that were also subsidiary to the mining industry. The interaction between people and their environment is also attested by intangible attributes, such as education and literature, traditions, customs and artistic developments as well as social and political influences that both originated in the mining phenomenon, or were decisively shaped by it. They collectively provide testimony to the first stages in the region, in the early 16th century, of the early modern transformation of mining and metallurgy from a small scale craft-based industry with outdated medieval origins to a large-scale state-controlled industry fuelled by industrial capitalists that both preceded, and enabled, continuous and successful industrialization that continued into the twentieth century. State-control of the mining industry, with all its administrative, managerial, educational and social dimensions, together with technological and scientific achievements which emanated openly from the region, influenced all continental European mining regions and beyond.

Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž

Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž/Govisity / Tip na Trip / kosice.guide

The ensemble formed by the archiepiscopal castle, an adjacent garden (Podzámecká zahrada) and a pleasure garden (Květná zahrada) situated nearby, is located in the historic centre of the town of Kroměříž, in the Zlín region of the Czech Republic.

The “Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž” illustrate a type of early Baroque architectural ensemble which introduced to central Europe, ravaged by war, high architectural values of Italian origin, linked with high-quality sculpture, paintings, and applied arts and enhanced by the acme of garden design in which the technological potential of the use of water was developed with virtuosity. The Castle Garden demonstrates, in an extraordinary way, the creative affinity between the garden art of central Europe and broader European trends in the design of landscape parks. The Pleasure Garden influenced Moravian garden design, whilst the influence of the Castle spread further, to the Danube region.

The “Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž” constitute a remarkably well preserved and basically unchanged example of a Baroque aristocratic ensemble (in this case the seat of an influential ecclesiastic) of residence and pleasure garden, with a larger park that reflects the Romanticism of the 19th century.

The monumental Baroque castle located in the northern part of the town centre is a free-standing edifice with four wings around a trapezoidal central courtyard. It contains richly decorated interiors, as well as valuable art collections. The castle is linked to the garden through spacious ground-floor rooms (sala terrena) with grottoes, one of them imitating a mine.

The Castle Garden with an area of 58 ha includes a number of exotic tree species (coniferous and deciduous) that stand isolated or in groups, as well as several important architectural elements. Among them, a semi-circular colonnade in classical style built in 1846 to house sculptures from Pompeii, after which it was named the Pompeian Colonnade. On the western periphery, the Max’s Farmstead is a luxurious building in French Empire style, with an impressive colonnade and projecting wings. Cast iron, produced at the archiepiscopal foundry, was used to build three elegant bridges: the Silver Bridge, the Vase Bridge and the Lantern Bridge. This garden, which was designed with a Baroque layout, was restyled under the influence of the Romantic landscape style of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Pleasure Garden with an area of 14.5 ha is situated in the south-western part of the town centre. It is a formal garden in Italian style that is entered by a 244 m-long arcaded gallery with statues and busts on display, before it opens up onto the first section of the garden whose most striking feature consists in an octagonal rotunda. Geometrical parterres, symmetrically arranged around the rotunda, include mazes and flower beds defined by low espalier hedges. This part of the garden leads to a section whose main features include two low mounds with arbours and two rectangular basins that are aligned symmetrically on both sides of the main axis of the garden. This section allows access to the aviary and to the beautiful greenhouses by a spiral path. The design and the appearance of the Pleasure Garden (1665-1675) remained almost intact, making it an extremely rare example of a Baroque garden.

Historic Centre of Český Krumlov

Historic Centre of Český Krumlov/photographer:Gregor Samsa/Flickr

The town of Český Krumlov is located in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. Situated on both banks of the Vltava (Moldau) river, the town was built below a magnificent castle founded in the 13th century. The river meander and rocky slopes of the castle hill are the most important elements which along with the link to the picturesque neighbouring landscape, determine not only the impressive urban composition of the historic centre but the dominating position of the castle as well.

The Historic Centre of Český Krumlov is an outstanding example of a small Central European medieval town whose architectural heritage has remained intact thanks to its peaceful evolution over more than several centuries. This feudal town, a former centre of a large estate owned by powerful noble families who played an important role in the political, economic and cultural history of Central Europe, was founded in the Middle Ages and underwent Renaissance and Baroque transformations. As it remained almost intact, it has retained its street layout, which is typical of planned medieval towns, as well as many historic buildings including their details such as the roof shapes, the decoration of Renaissance and Baroque facades, vaulted spaces, as well as original layouts and interiors.

The castle features Gothic, Late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. It is dominated by the Gothic Hrádek with its round tower; this was subsequently converted into a Baroque residence with the addition of a garden, the Bellaire summer pavilion, a winter riding school, and a unique Baroque theatre in 1766. Latrán (settlement developed to the east) and the town proper contain undisturbed ensembles of burgher houses, the oldest being in High Gothic style. They are notable for their facades, internal layouts, and decorative detail, and especially carved wooden Renaissance ceilings. Český Krumlov also experienced considerable ecclesiastical development illustrated by the major 15th century church of St. Vitus and monasteries of various preaching and itinerant orders.

Historic Centre of Prague

Historic Centre of Prague/photographer:Leszek Żądło/flickr

The inscribed site is a serial property comprising the Historic Centre of Prague situated on the territory of the self-governing administrative unit of the City of Prague, and of the Průhonice Park, located southeast of the city on the territory of the Central Bohemia.

Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe in terms of its setting on both banks of the Vltava River, its townscape of burgher houses and palaces punctuated by towers, and its individual buildings. The historic centre represents a supreme manifestation of Medieval urbanism (the New Town of Emperor Charles IV built as the New Jerusalem). It has been saved from any large-scale urban renewal or massive demolitions and thus preserves its overall configuration, pattern and spatial composition. The Prague architectural works of the Gothic Period (14th and 15th centuries), of the High Baroque of the 1st half of the 18th century and of the rising modernism after the year 1900, influenced the development of Central European, perhaps even all European, architecture. The historic centre also represents one of the most prominent world centres of creative life in the field of urbanism and architecture across generations, human mentality and beliefs.

In the course of the 1100 years of its existence, Prague’s development can be documented in the architectural expression of many historical periods and their styles. The city is rich in outstanding monuments from all periods of its history. Of particular importance are Prague Castle, the Cathedral of St Vitus, Hradčany Square in front of the Castle, the Valdštejn Palace on the left bank of the river, the Gothic Charles Bridge, the Romanesque Rotunda of the Holy Rood, the Gothic arcaded houses with Romanesque cores around the Old Town Square, the Church of Our Lady in front of Týn, the High Gothic Minorite Church of St James in the Old Town (Staré Mĕsto), the Early Gothic so-called Old-New Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter (Josefov), the late 19th century buildings and the medieval town plan of the New Town (Nové Mĕsto).

As early as the Middle Ages, Prague became one of the leading cultural centres of Christian Europe. The Prague University, founded in 1348, is one of the earliest in Europe. The milieu of the University in the last quarter of the 14th century and the first years of the 15th century contributed among other things to the formation of ideas of the Hussite Movement which represented in fact the first steps of the European Reformation. As a metropolis of culture, Prague is connected with prominent names in art, science and politics, such as Charles IV, Petr Parléř, Jan Hus, Johannes Kepler, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Kafka, Antonín Dvořák, Albert Einstein, Edvard Beneš (co-founder of the League of Nations) and Václav Havel.

The Průhonice Park (the area of 211.42 ha) was founded in the year 1885 by the Count Arnošt Emanuel Silva-Tarouca. The result of his lifelong work is an original masterpiece of garden landscape architecture of worldwide importance. The park uses advantage of the miscellaneous valley of the Botič Stream and the unique combination of native and introduced exotic tree species. The Průhonice Park became in the time of its foundation the entrance gate to Bohemia (as well as to the whole Europe) for newly introduced plants. An integral part of the park is also a Neo-Renaissance country house. In the area there is also a small medieval church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary.

Historic Centre of Telč

Historic Centre of Telč/Photographer;Frans Sellies/Flickr

The town of Telč is located near the southwestern border between Moravia and Bohemia, in the Vysočina Region of the Czech Republic. It is situated in a region which was thickly forested until the 13th century. The property consists of the historic town centre, with the castle situated in the middle, and of two bodies of water, originally having a defensive function.

The origins of the settlement are unclear: there was an early medieval settlement at Staré Město to the south-east of the present town, but there is no mention of Telč in documentary records before 1333-1335, when reference is made to the existence there of an important castle (and presumably also a church and settlement). The town of Telč, whose area covers 36 ha, was probably founded in the mid 14th century. The town itself is of special importance since it was founded on purpose to gain political and economic control over an area where there were deep forests in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The outstanding nature of Telč, in terms of the quality and authenticity of its cultural elements, the tangible evidence of its origins and evolution represented by its original layout and architecture, and its picturesque setting is unquestionable. The Renaissance castle forms the centre of the city. It is a major component of the urban townscape and it retains obvious traces of its Gothic precursor. The castle represents a unique authentic complex with its original material substance and decorations. Its original interior is imbued with Italian art.

The Historic Centre of Telč features a triangular market square surrounded by Renaissance and Baroque burgher houses (but whose origins are medieval). These houses are linked by a continuous arcade. Their facades are characterized by a great diversity as regards the choice of decorative elements. In the middle of the market square, there is a fountain and a plague column. A little further, there is the town hall, the Church of the Holy Spirit, the Jesuit College and the Gothic St. James parish church. Finally, the evidence of the origins and historical development of the city is provided by the city walls built of stone whose functioning was enhanced by a system of fishponds, originally built for its strategic security.

Holašovice Historic Village

Holašovice Historic Village/Photographer:Frans Sellies/Flickr

The Holašovice Historical Village is situated in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic, 17 km west of České Budějovice and 24 km north of Český Krumlov.

The village includes twenty-three farmsteads which are placed around a rectangular village green, with the chapel of St. John of Nepomuk, a cross, a forge and a small fish-pond.

Holašovice is an exceptionally complete and well preserved example of a traditional central European village, containing a number of high-quality vernacular buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Almost all the farms are built according to the same pattern; usually, they are U-shaped with a farmyard in the middle. The gables facing the village green and their stucco decoration are in a style known as South Bohemian “Folk Baroque”. Almost always, they feature the year of foundation of the house as well as some decorative elements; all of it is painted in a variety of colours. In fact, on the facades, Holašovice master-builders replicated decorations inspired by manorial buildings of Bohemia and Austria. In addition to large farmsteads, the Holašovice Historic Village includes several farming houses which are much smaller.

The small chapel of St. John of Nepomuk features a high bell-shaped facade. It has a gable roof and a hip roof on one side, as well as a lantern-turret on four pillars with a bell. The interior is vaulted and closed by two lunettes. The village forge and the blacksmith’s house are single-storey buildings with a gable roof. The forge features a typical arched opening overlooking the village green (now closed since the building is presently inhabited).

Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc

Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc/Photographer: Ana Paula Hirama/Flickr

The Holy Trinity Column is at the heart of the historic centre of the town of Olomouc, located in Central Moravia, Czech Republic. This memorial column is the most outstanding example of the Moravian Baroque style that developed in the 18th century in Central Europe. It has a high symbolic value as it represents the religious devotion and the sense of pride of the inhabitants of this city, to which it owes its existence. The Holy Trinity Column is, moreover, an exceptional example of this type of commemorative column, characteristic of Central Europe in the Baroque period. In terms of design, it is, no doubt, the most original work of its creator, Václav Render, whose amazing initiative, accompanied by generous financial support, made the erection of this monument possible.

The main motif of this work consists in the celebration of the church and of the faith that is linked, in quite a unique way, with the reality of a work of monumental art, combining architectural and town-planning solutions with elaborate sculptural decoration. The monument is built in the characteristic regional style known as the Olomouc Baroque, and it rises to a height 32.2 m above a ground plan with a round shape and a diameter of 17 m. The column is decorated with a number of high-quality sculptures representing religious themes, the work of the distinguished Moravian artist Ondřej Zahner (Andreas Zahner) and other Moravian artists (goldsmith Šimon Forstner among others). The Olomouc Holy Trinity Column is without equal in any other town, by virtue of its monumental dimensions, the extraordinary richness of its sculptural decoration, and the overall artistic execution. By the incorporation of a chapel in the body of the column and by the combination of the materials used, the Holy Trinity Column is quite exceptional.

Jewish Quarter and St Procopius’ Basilica in Třebíč

Jewish Quarter and St Procopius’ Basilica in Třebíč/Author: Ko Hon Chiu VincentCopyright: © Ko Hon Chiu Vincent/UNESCO

The property includes the Jewish Quarter (former ghetto), the Jewish Cemetery and the St. Procopius’ Basilica. It is situated in the town of Třebíč, located in the Vysočina Region, in western Moravia, Czech Republic. The ensemble provides an exceptional testimony to the peaceful coexistence of Jewish and Christian communities and cultures from the Middle Ages up to World War II.

The Jewish Quarter grew spontaneously along the Jihlava River. It bears witness to various aspects of the life of this community forced to live in limited space due to political constraints. The Jewish Quarter has retained its original street plan, its typical spatial arrangement, as well as its social functions, such as the synagogues and the schools, as well as a former leather factory.

A typical building of this quarter is distinguished by a condominium structure, a highly complex form and diversity of style. On the street level, there was often a shop or a workshop; the upper levels were reserved for residential use. A wide range of historic details has been preserved, such as the types of roofing, the architectural expression of the facades and some original interiors (vaulted ground floors, one or two upper floors with wooden ceilings).

St. Procopius Basilica is situated on a hill overlooking the Jewish Quarter. It was built in the early 13th century, and originally, it was a part of a Benedictine monastery that was replaced in the 16th century by a palace to which it is connected. St. Procopius Basilica is one of the first examples of the influence of Western architecture in Central Europe.

The Jewish cemetery lies outside the Jewish Quarter, behind the hill. It has two parts, the first part dates from the 15th century, and the second from the 19th century. There are some 4,000 tomb stones; some carvings are important.

Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec

Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec/Geoff Mason
Copyright: © OUR PLACE The World Heritage/UNESCO

The historic town centre of Kutná Hora with the Church of St Barbara and the Church of Our Lady at Sedlec are located in Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. Kutná Hora has developed as a result of the discovery and exploitation of the rich veins of silver ore since the end of the 13th century. In the 14th century, it became a royal city endowed with buildings that symbolized its enormous prosperity. The Church of St Barbara and the former Cistercian monastery church of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist in Sedlec, located at a distance of approximately 1.5 km to the north-east of the historic centre, were to influence considerably the architecture of Central Europe. Today, these masterpieces, representing cathedral architecture, form the dominants of a well-preserved medieval town-planning structure filled with Gothic and Baroque urban fabric.

The most striking of Kutná Hora is the church of Saint Barbara, the Gothic jewel whose interior is decorated with frescoes depicting the secular life of the medieval mining town of Kutná Hora. This piece of art had a major influence on the architecture of central Europe. The former Cistercian cathedral, Our Lady of Sedlec, which is at a distance of 1.5 km northeast of the historic centre, was restored in the Baroque style in the early 18th century by Jan Blazej Santini. For the first time, he used his conception of the Baroque Gothic style which strongly influenced the history of architecture.

The oldest neighbourhoods Vlassky dvur (Italian courtyard which includes the southeast tower) are dating back to the early 14th century. The royal chapel is Gothic and boasts a remarkable interior design. Attached to the Italian court, we find the church of St Jacob from the 14th century whose furniture date back mostly to the end of the Gothic period. The Hradek (little castle) is an interesting example of Gothic palazzetto of Central Europe which has kept both inside and outside in its original condition.

Throughout its extensive area, the historic centre of Kutná Hora reflects a very specific medieval structure of the city ground plan, which is determined by mining, later with only isolated partial corrections. In spite of its long dynamic development, the town retains an earlier pattern of communications predating the city’s actual origin. Moreover, the historic built-up area, formed by the finest architectural works from Gothic and Baroque periods and the specific breathtaking Kutná Hora panorama, is impressively linked to a picturesque surrounding landscape.

Landscape for Breeding and Training of Ceremonial Carriage Horses at Kladruby nad Labem

Landscape for Breeding and Training of Ceremonial Carriage Horses at Kladruby nad Labem/Jiří Podrazil
Copyright: © National Stud Farm at Kladruby nad Labem, s.p.o./Flickr

The Landscape for Breeding and Training of Ceremonial Carriage Horses at Kladruby nad Labem is situated in the Polabská nížina (Elbe Lowland), in the Střední Polabí area. The property features a flat landscape, with sandy soils and includes fields, meadows, fenced pastures, a landscaped park, a forested area as well as buildings and farmsteads, all designed with the main objective of breeding and training the Kladruber horses, which were used in ceremonies by the Habsburg imperial court.

In 1563, the Emperor Maxmillian II of Habsburg founded a stud farm there and on 6 March 1579 his successor, Emperor Rudolph II of Habsburg granted it a charter as the Imperial Court Stud Farm. Since the early 17th century the stud farm, in close interaction with the surrounding landscape, has specialized in breeding ceremonial carriage horses of the gala carrossier type, solely to satisfy the demand of the Imperial Court. To date, the historic farmsteads located within the property have been in operation and they represent functional centre points of the unique landscape.

The Landscape at Kladruby nad Labem represents an outstanding and complete example of a horse – centred cultural landscape which has organically evolved and was, at the same time, intentionally and progressively designed as highly specialized ornamented farm – ferme ornée –dedicated to the breeding and training of ceremonial carriage horses and reflecting at the same time the Habsburg’s aesthetic ambitions. The historical tripartite structure of this fluvial area is still clearly discernible, with its old meanders and oxbow lakes, which were turned into a late ‘romantic’ designed landscape, the ‘classical’ regular fenced and tree-delimited pastures, the straight tree-lined avenues, the network of irrigation canals, fed by the Kladrubský náhon, the forest to the north, providing for a range of resources, the different farmsteads, all serving distinct functions, the stud architecture and the dependent village. Kladruby nad Labem´s tangible landscape features, along with the local knowledge and way of life, exceptionally reflect the single function for which the landscape was consistently modified and adapted: horse-breeding and training the special Kladruber horses which can be seen as living monuments.

This property represents an exceptional example of landscape reflecting the development of a specific equestrian culture in Europe, at the time when absolute monarchies were in ascendance.

Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape

The Lednice-Valtice valley is located in South Moravia, Czech Republic. With its 143 km2, the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape is unique because of how architectural, biological and landscape features have been shaped over time.

The Liechtenstein family came first to Lednice in the mid-13th century, and by the end of the 14th century they had also acquired Valtice, nearby. These properties were to become the nucleus of the family’s extensive possessions. The two estates were later joined with the neighbouring Břeclav estate to form an organic whole, to serve the recreational requirements of the ducal family and as material evidence of its prestige. The execution of this grandiose design began in the 17th century with the creation of avenues connecting Valtice with other parts of the estate. It continued throughout the 18th century with the construction of a network of paths and scenic trails, imposing order on nature in the manner of the English artists and architects of the Renaissance. The early years of the 19th century saw the application by Duke Jan Josef I of the English concept of landscaped designed park, strongly influenced by the work of Lancelot “Capability” Brown at Stowe and elsewhere in England. Enormous landscaping projects were undertaken, which included the raising of the level of the Lednice Park and the digging of a new channel for the Dyje River. Smaller parks designed based on the English pattern, the so-called Englische Anlagen, were also created around three large ponds.

The composition of the landscape is based on the two country houses, Lednice and Valtice. The Valtice country house has medieval foundations, but it underwent successive remodelling in Renaissance, Mannerist and, most significantly, Baroque styles. Its present Baroque appearance is due to several architects, notably Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach, Domenico Martinelli and Anton Johann Ospel. Along with the Baroque Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, it is the dominant feature in the system of avenues created in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Lednice country house began as a Renaissance villa of around 1570, and then was progressively changed and remodelled to reflect Baroque, Classical and Neo-Gothic fashions. It was the 1850 Gothic Revival remodelling that brought it into harmony with the prevailing Romanticism of this part of the landscape. The park of the Lednice country house includes architectural objects like a remarkable Palm house, a unique Minaret and other minor structures.

Taking the property as a whole, it is the mingling and interplay of Baroque and Romantic elements that gives it a special character: architecture and landscape are intimately associated with one another. All the buildings are sited with great care at high points, as in the case of the Kolonáda (Colonade), the Rendezvous, Rybniční zámeček (Fishpond Manor) or Pohansko, at the crossing of major routes (the Obelisk), or at the boundary between Moravia and Lower Austria (Hraniční zámeček). The view and vistas are also mutually linked. Most have views of the two dominant features, the Minaret and the Kolonáda, but there are also significant visual connections between other groups (the Temple of Apollo, Belvedere, Janohrad, the Hunting House, the New Farmyard, the Fishpond Manor, the Temple of Three Graces, the Obelisk and St. Hubert Chapel etc.).

An important element in the appearance of this entire area is the very wide range of native and exotic tree species and the planting strategy adopted. The greatest variety is to be found in the parklands which cluster around the two main residences and along the banks of the fishponds between Lednice and Valtice. The Pohansko Manor is built on the site of an important hillfort of the Great Moravian period dating from the 8th century. The 2 km of massive ramparts enclosing an area of 28 ha are still visible. Excavations have revealed the court of the ruler, a church (the plan of which is preserved in situ), several substantial houses and a rich burial ground.

The Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape is an exceptional example of a designed cultural landscape, which is made particularly impressive by the number and variety of cultural and natural elements that it contains.

Litomyšl Castle

Litomyšl Castle/Photographer:Petr/Flickr

The Litomyšl Castle is an outstanding example of an arcaded Renaissance country residence, a type of structure first invented in Italy and then developed in the Czech Lands to create a mature form with special architectural value. Situated at an important communications junction on the main route between Bohemia and Moravia, in the Pardubice region, Litomyšl was a fortified centre on the hill where the castle now stands.

The work on the Renaissance building began in 1568 under the supervision of Jan Baptista Avostalis (Giovanni Battista Avostalli), who was soon joined by his brother Oldřich (Ulrico). Most of the work had been completed by 1580. The castle interior underwent alterations between 1792 and 1796, based on the designs of Jan Kryštof Habich, but he was careful to preserve the fine building’s Renaissance appearance with impressive gables.

The castle is a four-winged, three-storeyed structure with an asymmetrical disposition. The western wing is the largest, whereas the southern wing is a two-storeyed arcaded gallery, closing the second square courtyard (a feature that is unique to Litomyšl). The groin-vaulted arcading continues around the western and eastern sides of the courtyard. The south-eastern corner of the eastern wing contains the castle chapel. One of the most striking features in the interior of the castle consists in the fine neoclassical theatre from 1796-97 in the western wing. The original painted decoration of the auditorium, stage decorations and stage machinery have survived intact. The house has richly decorated interiors, basically Renaissance in form and with lavish late Baroque or neoclassical ornamentation in the form of elaborate plasterwork and wall and ceiling paintings.

The buildings associated with the castle were all built or rebuilt during the course of the modifications that the castle itself underwent over time, and this is reflected in their architectural styles. Among the ancillary buildings, the most interesting is the Brewery, the birthplace of Bedřich Smetana, one of the greatest Czech composers of all time. It lies to the south of the first courtyard. Originally constructed to complement the castle, with Renaissance sgraffito decoration, it was remodelled by the well-known architect František Maximilián Kaňka after the 1728 fire and received what is its present appearance. The ensemble also includes the former French formal garden with its saletta (pavilion) in the Baroque style and an 18th-century English-style park.

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora/photographer: Ko Hon Chiu VincentCopyright: © Ko Hon Chiu Vincent/Unesco

The Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená hora is situated at Žďár nad Sázavou in western Moravia, in the Vysočina Region, Czech Republic. The church, which was built between 1719 and 1727, is dedicated to the cult of St. John of Nepomuk, a 14th century martyr canonised in the 18th century.

The property consists of a central-plan church surrounded by a circular cloister. It is one of the most original works by the prominent architect of the Baroque period, Jan Blažej Santini Aichel. The ensemble is an outstanding example of architecture of transition between the Gothic and the Baroque styles. The composition of the property is based on the aesthetic concept of a perfect central complex with an explicit central vertical dominant. The centrality of the design is accentuated by the ground plan, which is based on the parallel to two equivalent radials. The number 5, that is a reference to the five stars of the halo of St. John of Nepomuk representing the five virtues of the saint, is dominant in the layout and proportions. The star-shaped ground plan of the church, with five points, is defined by two groups of five radial axes upon which the basic elements of the ground plan and of the composition of the mass are organized. Ten radials, which intersect in the centre of the church itself, determine the arrangement of chapels and gates of the cloister that surrounds the pilgrims’ field situated outside around the church that is situated in its centre. The chapels and the church portals are spanned by ribbed vaults with stucco decorations, inspired by late Gothic style. The influence of this period is also demonstrated by the presence of buttresses on the exterior walls and the pointed form of the windows and portals.

The main impression given by the interior is its loftiness and the upward orientation of the space. This space is divided into two by the conspicuous gallery at the base of the vaulting. The central space opens into five niches; of these, four are partitioned horizontally and the fifth, on the east, is filled by the main altar. The church retains many of its original furnishings, which include the main altar, designed by Santini and representing the celebration of St John of Nepomuk in heaven and the four side altars, also designed by Santini and depicting the four Evangelists.

The Great Spa Towns of Europe

The Great Spa Towns of Europe/Ladislav RennerCopyright: © Ceská centrála cestovního ruchu – CzechTourism/UNESCO

The Great Spas of Europe bear an exceptional testimony to the European spa phenomenon, which gained its highest expression from around 1700 to the 1930s. This transnational serial property comprises eleven spa towns located in seven countries: Baden bei Wien (Austria); Spa (Belgium); Karlovy Vary, Františkovy Lázně and Mariánské Lázně (Czechia); Vichy (France); Bad Ems, Baden-Baden and Bad Kissingen (Germany); Montecatini Terme (Italy); and City of Bath (United Kingdom). The series captures the most fashionable, dynamic and international spa towns among the many hundreds that contributed to the European spa phenomenon.

Whilst each spa town is different, all the towns developed around mineral water sources, which were the catalyst for a model of spatial organisation dedicated to curative, therapeutic, recreational and social functions. Ensembles of spa buildings include baths, pump rooms, drinking halls, treatment facilities and colonnades designed to harness the water resources and to allow its practical use for bathing and drinking. ‘Taking the cure’, externally and internally, was complemented by exercise and social activities requiring visitor facilities such as assembly rooms, casinos, theatres, hotels, villas and related infrastructures (from water piping systems and salts production to railways and funiculars). All are integrated into an overall urban context that includes a carefully managed recreational and therapeutic environment of parks, gardens, promenades, sports facilities and woodlands. Buildings and spaces connect visually and physically with their surrounding landscapes, which are used regularly for exercise as a contribution to the therapy of the cure, and for relaxation and enjoyment.

Tugendhat Villa in Brno

Tugendhat Villa in Brno/Photographer: David McKelvey/Flickr

The Tugendhat Villa is situated in Brno, in the district of Černá Pole, in the south of South Moravia in the Czech Republic. The villa was designed by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and built on a commission from Grete and Frits Tugendhat, members of rich industrial families of Brno, in 1929–1930.The prominent German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed not only the villa but also its furniture and the adjacent garden. Moreover, Mies van der Rohe closely supervised the execution of the building project to achieve perfection.

The Tugendhat Villa in Brno is a pioneering work of modern 20th century residential architecture. It embodies innovative spatial and aesthetic concepts that were developed in housing at that time to meet the new needs arising from the modern way of life, by taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by modern industrial production. Designing the interior residential area as a space without limits determines the architecture of the Tugendhat Villa. The villa also reflects the desire of Mies van der Rohe to create an architecture concentrating on the essential and aiming at the purest expression in each detail as well as in the whole. A winter garden occupies almost two-thirds of the entire floor space of the main floor. Subtle divisions made of rosewood and onyx separate spaces of this same floor, such as the reception hall, the music corner and the library. The living area has large windows and is directly joined to the terrace, which has a wide stairway leading down to the garden. The main structure of the house is made of reinforced concrete slabs supported by steel beams, some of them being polished. The basement includes mechanical equipment of the house, in particular for the central heating and air conditioning, as well as for the electrically operated large windows.

The Tugendhat Villa in Brno is one of the most original projects completed by Mies van der Rohe. He was able to fully implement his design in accordance with his intentions due to the ideal cooperation with the highly cultured Tugendhat family. The furniture was designed by the architect and some pieces were intended for specific locations. There is no other similar architectural work of the European production by Mies van der Rohe that has been preserved with such integrity.

Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe

Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe/Photographer:GRID-Arendal/Flickr

The “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe” are a transnational serial property comprising 94 component parts across 18 countries. They represent an outstanding example of relatively undisturbed, complex temperate forests and exhibit a wide spectrum of comprehensive ecological patterns and processes of pure and mixed stands of European beech across a variety of environmental conditions. During each glacial phase (ice ages) of the last 1 million years, European beech (Fagus sylvatica) survived the unfavourable climatic conditions in refuge areas in the southern parts of the European continent. These refuge areas have been documented by scientists through palaeoecological analysis and using the latest techniques in genetic coding. After the last Ice Age, around 11,000 years ago, beech started expanding its range from these southern refuge areas to eventually cover large parts of the European continent. During this expansion process, which is still ongoing, beech formed different types of plant communities while occupying largely different environments. The interplay between a diversity of environments, climatic gradients and different species gene pools has and continues to shape this high diversity of beech forest communities. These forests contain an invaluable population of old trees and a genetic reservoir of beech and many other species, which are associated with and dependent on these old-growth forest habitats.

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