sometimes it feels like you may have all but exhausted the travel opportunities in your immediate surroundings. when this feeling strikes, turning to a list of UNESCO heritage sites in your vicinity makes for some great trip (or even day trip) inspirado. i am unofficially trying to see all (or as many possible) of the UNESCO sites in czech republic.
here are some that i’ve already checked off my list, and some more that i’m hoping to see in the future…
PRAGUE’S HISTORIC CITY CENTER
why is it UNESCO? it’s one of the most important and best preserved medieval city centers in europe! in few other places in the world can you see sights so beautiful and historic as malá strana (lesser quarter), hradčany & the prasky hrad (castle), karlův most (the iconic charles bridge), staré město (old town), josefov (jewish quarter), vyšehrad (prague’s other castle), and even parts of nové město (new town).
BRNO’S MEDIEVAL TREASURES
why is it UNESCO? brno’s rich history (dating back to the slav tribe’s settlement in the 6th century) with it’s špilberk castle and incredibly unique catacombs (i can attest to this!), discovered very recently in 2001 with almost as many bones as paris’s catacombs make it a city with hidden secrets and much history to discover.
ČESKÝ KRUMLOV’S CENTER
why is it UNESCO? as the second most visited area in the czech republic and the cutest village in south bohemia, český krumlov boasts buildings and structures from medieval ages and a city center that looks almost completely unchanged for centuries. it’s UNESCO designation has also been helped from its transformation to a hot-bed of culture in the past century with historical festivals, like the five-petaled rose festival and the annual international jazz festival drawing tens of thousands of visitors to come enjoy and learn about the rich culture of the past as well as today.
why is it UNESCO? this tiny south bohemian village (which is not much more than two long roads) showcases one of the finest and most preserved examples of medieval central european farm houses in the typical bohemian folk style. the best time to visit is undoubtedly during the annual festival in mid-july when there are food and craft stalls and entertainment.
TŘEBÍČ’S JEWISH QUARTER & BASILICA
why is it UNESCO? one of the best preserved jewish quarters in central and eastern europe… like a miniature version of prague’s without all of the tourists. this quarter and its proximity to the beautiful basilica of st. procopius is a heart-warming example of peaceful christian and jewish co-existence from the middle ages to the twentieth century.
KUTNA HORA’S CHURCHES & CENTER
why is it UNESCO? ever heard of the famous bone church? that’s kutna hora’s creepy sedlec ossuary (above), decorated by human bones. the church of st. barbora in the center of town looks as beautiful as a french gothic church with flying buttresses that aren’t so common in czech cathedral architecture. i missed my first chance to see this “can’t miss” town while living in prague due to a foot injury (oof, hello cobblestones), but i’m excited to finally see it with my own eyes this may. photo via
and some “on the list”……..
LITOMYŠL’S CASTLE & GARDENS
why is it UNESCO? a friend recently told me that the only can’t miss sites in the czech republic are prague, český krumlov, kutna hora, and litomyšl, which she described as a “český krumlov without the tourists”. an important town on the bohemia-moravia trade route in the middle ages, it boats an impressively well-preserved italian renaissance style castle, a historic center, and castle gardens. photo via
TELČ’S MAIN SQUARE
why is it UNESCO? have you seen a photo of its impressive main square with colorful and quirky house upon house? (well, now you have! above) located in south-west moravia, it boasts these baroque town houses, a gothic castle, and a series of fish ponds. it’s small but atmospheric. photo via
why is it UNESCO? castles, chateaus, gardens, and fantastically well-preserved architecture, of course! but to be honest, i really just want to visit this region near the east-austrian border because these towns are lovely places to stay and take in the famous south moravian wine culture… to the wineries, i will go! photo via
do you want to visit any of these UNESCO sites? what UNESCO sites are nearest to you?