Several months ago there was South Park, Colorado’s 150-year-old ghost of a town. Several weeks ago there was Cesky Krumlov, the 700-year-old Bohemian medieval city.
What can I say? Cesky Krumlov (CK) and I are living proof that things just get better with age although 700 years has one too many zeroes for my own aspirations.
I was like a pilgrim on a crusade the day my 60-mile journey from Linz, Austria via a bus brought Jim and me and a few new friends to CK. CK didn’t seem to mind the throngs of people. I did, but what’s a crusader to do. I prayed for enlightenment. The town of CK delivered.
The name Krumlov derives from the German “Krumme Aue”, which translates as “crooked meadow”. The word “Cesky” simply means Czech or Bohemian as opposed to Moravian or Silesian. Given the topography of the region, even in the dark ages one could see the connection between the tightly crooked meander of the Vltava River and the town that nestled in that crook. According to records, CK debuted in 1253 although she went by the name of
There were restaurants;
Seven hundred years of nobility (the Rosenbergs, the Luxemburgs, the Habsburgs, the Eggenbergs and the Schwarzenbergs) speaks to who was behind today’s Cesky Krumlov medieval relic. Money always talks!
Circumstances, like dominoes standing neatly upright, provided the rest of the pieces of CK’s salvation as history fell into place.
The abolition of aristocratic privilege and World War II brought cataclysmic change to Europe. Shortly after Adolph zu Schwarzenberg went into exile, the Gestapo took possession of the Schwarzenberg family property, Krumlov Castle. The year was 1939. The German occupation
obviously helped spare CK the bombings that decimated so many other historic European cities during World War II.
When the dust settled, Krumlov Castle had been returned to its rightful owner, the Czechoslovak State. The rest is history, as they say, an astonishing piece of history proudly preserved for all of humanity with its designation as a World Heritage and Cultural Site in 1992. Kudos to the Czechs and the town of Cesky Krumlov!!!
At the end of the day, I didn’t want to leave this cultural and architectural gem. To walk these cobblestone streets in a town bustling with life from both the past and the present I could hear the hum of humanity as clearly as I could see the history come alive.
It was all truly a thing of beauty!