One of the oldest stone bridges in Europe was built during the reign of Charles IV, the most popular Bohemian king of all times. The construction took 45 years (1357 - 1402) and the bridge connecting the Old Town and Prague Castle with the adjacent areas remained the only bridge over the Vltava River until 1841. It went through many floods; the worst one damaged two piers and three spans in 1890. There are 30 statues decorating it, yet these are much younger than the bridge itself since they were installed here between the 17th and 20th century. Today, numerous stands with hand-made souvenirs and local street artists welcome tourists enjoying beautiful views over the whole city center.
The water power plant in Dlouhe Strane (in Jeseniky Mountains) uses the 500-meter altitude difference between the dam on the Divoka Desna River and the reservoir on the Mravenecnik Mountain (1.350 meters above the sea level). Water from the dam is pumped up in the reservoir at night and falls back down in the dam during the day, running two turbines situated in a giant cavern (88x26 meters, 50m high) right inside the mountain. The power plant has been operating since 1996, delivering 650 MW.
In 1348, Charles IV began the construction of a castle above the Berounka River, where he wanted to relax and draw energy and strength to make important decisions (for some time women were banned to enter the castle). Yet in the end, the castle became a magnificent treasury to store the crown jewels and important documents, and thus became a symbol of the Czech kingdom. Today’s appearance of the castle is a result of the questionable and often questioned 19th century purism reconstruction, only the precious gothic interior decorations remained original.
The hotel and TV signal broadcaster on the top of the Jested Mountain is a remarkable building and one of the symbols of the region. Its architect Karel Hubacek was awarded the prestigious Perret Prize for this project. The building belongs to the gems of Czech architecture. It was built in the 1960s, in the era of the so called real socialism, and surpasses the other products of this era’s architecture (mostly unified grey concrete pseudo-art constructions with the originality and shape of a shoe box) not just thanks to its location on a hilltop, but above all thanks to the quality and precision of the work, beginning with the project and going on further up to the realization of the tiniest interior details. In 2006, the building was added to the list of Czech national cultural heritage, which should help Jested to make it to the prestigious UNESCO list. In the same year the tower starred in a successful movie called Grandhotel.
The chateau was founded in the 13th century as a border guard castle. It has gone through the hands of many owners, rich as well as poor ones, until finally it was bought by the Schwarzenberg family in 1661. The aristocratic family paid for two significant reconstructions of the building. First, the 18th century baroque conversion, and second, larger and more important 1840 - 1871 neo-gothic reconstruction that included the park and the environs of the chateau. The Schwarzenbergs were the owners of the building until 1939.
Cesky Krumlov is a must-see attraction for tourists from near and far. The south Bohemian town made it successfully through many disasters and historical catastrophes and can boast of an extraordinarily high density of historic sites. Its main and dominating feature is a chateau, the second largest in the Czech Republic, surrounded by a historic centre of the town that is naturally separated from the rest of the town by the meandering river Vltava. The city center is a UNESCO site.