UNESCO heritage sites in Czech Republic
Czech Republic has a lot to offer: beautiful and pure nature or old historical towns which reflect how rich the history of the Czech Republic was. Some of the cultural sites are so special that they became UNESCO heritage sites. The list starts with well-known and famous places but also offers some of them which are truly unspoiled and not discovered by the tourists yet. If you want to really explore Czech Republic we suggest to visit more of the sites to complete the colorful palette of various architecture styles, culture, vibes, traditions and tastes which Czech Republic includes. Especially we suggest to visit some of the UNESCO heritage sites out off the beaten track where the authenticity is still alive and pure.
1) Historic Centre of Prague (1992)
Prague - the capital and the most-visited destination in the country. Its historic center with mélange of various architecture styles and its narrow streets is protected since 1992. The area is impressively large, it covers the area of old town – a web of streets, boulevards with historical churches, squares and museums, the banks of the Vltava River and the hill towards the Prague Castle. You will find historical buildings of styles from 11th century to the 18th century literally on every step and you will need few days for proper visit. The atmosphere of the romantic streets will take you back to the Middle Ages and you will find yourself longing to stay in this fairy-tale city forever! Because the most famous monuments in Prague, such as the St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge, and Hradčany Castle are just the beginning…
2) Historic Centre of Český Krumlov (1992)
The second most visited town in the Czech Republic situated in the South Bohemia region. Its streets are again full of historical buildings from mediaeval times, shops with local handcraft and cozy cafés. The dominant of the city is the Castle which peaks up with its impressive size. You can do tours through the various sections of the Castle where you can see the opulence of the interiors. There is also a large rococo gardens which you can visit for free. From the Castle complex you can see the beauty of the meandering Vltava river – the same river which flows in Prague (it is actually Czech national river). In warm days you can also consider renting a kayak or canoe and spend some time on the river there!
3) Historic Centre of Kutná Hora (1995)
Once a symbol of wealth and majesty, nowadays a cozy town, situated 50 minutes’ drive from Prague. Historic center if the town developed as a result of the silver mines. Since the 14th century the town flourished and became a royal city with amazing cultural sites that exhibit its prosperity level. The most visited monument is the Cathedral of St. Barbara which is the jewel of the Late Gothic. Its splendor is a tangible testament of the fame of the town and deep devotion of its creators. The cathedral is dedicated to the virgin Barbara - a patron of all who carry on a dangerous occupation and especially miners. The beginning of the structure started in 14th century by Peter Parler’s workshop (the one who also worked on St. Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle). The construction was temporarily suspended in the mid-16th century when Kutná Hora ran out of the silver. The centuries that followed brought a wave of reconstructions in various architectural styles – mostly baroque and novo gothic. The second monument is the Cathedral of our Lady at Sedlec. Its construction began in 13th century and it houses precious many artistic relics. Besides this two highlights, Kutná Hora historical city center is also great idea to visit!
4) Historic Centre of Telč (1992)
Situated just in the middle of the country, Telč is the perfect stop for people who admire a great architectural jewels and want to escape the crowds. Telč is a very sleepy and laid- back town with a history which dates back to the 12th century. But then - in 16th century - the town was hit by a big fire and the whole city center had to be reconstructed. The main cultural gems like the Castle and the main square were built at that time. Until nowadays we can admire colorful renaissance houses with arcades and gables which create a truly unique panorama. The historical center is quite compact, surrounded by fish ponds and city gates so it’s very easy to visit it all and don’t get lost. Our secret tip is to take a lunch or afternoon coffee in one of the restaurants on the main square and just relax while enjoying Telč laid-back atmosphere.
5) Třebíč (2003)
There are three main monuments listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Třebíč, it is the Basilica of St. Procopius, the Jewish Quarter and the old Jewish cemetery. The Basilica dates back to 13th century and it’s the first example of western architecture in central Europe. The main door has incredibly-detailed stone carvings and there are wonderful golden artworks inside. The Jewish quarter started to develop from 14th century. There were restricted boundaries and the community couldn’t expend so the houses could have been only extended by building on the top of each other. The Jewish quarter was actually situated very close to the Basilica and so we can learn about the peaceful co-existence between Jews and The Christians at that time. The last monument listed as a UNESCO world heritage Site is the Jewish Cemetery, just over the hill from the Jewish Quarter. Definitely very unique place with quite an atmosphere! These monuments are recognized by UNESCO as an important cultural site but more importantly they demonstrate an unusual religious tolerance between the Jewish and Christians from the middle Ages until the 20th century. History has a lot to teach us after all, doesn’t it?
6) Holašovice (1998)
Holašovice village is the best example of a traditional European village layout of the 18th to 19th century. The architectural style used is referred to as “South Bohemian folk Baroque”. In Holašovice you’ll find 23 houses, set around in a peaceful central square with a pond in the center. Most of the houses have an entrance gate that leads to a yard behind the front wall. The characteristic signs are also beautiful arcades of the houses and their vibrant colors. It doesn’t take long to see the whole site but it’s definitely worth to come! Holašovice are really close to the Český Krumlov so both UNESCO sites are easily possible to visit in one day.
7) Litomyšl Castle (1999)
Another charming town you come across in the Czech Republic. It has a beautiful main square with colorful buildings with facades from a mixture of Baroque, Classical and Empire styles. But the dominant of the town is again the Castle on the top of the hill – which is also protected as a UNESCO heritage site. Although it has been built in the 16th century it has many Baroque details and features from the 18th century. The interior is laid out well and it’s very pretty so definitely worth to pay a visit.
8) Lednice-Valtice Landscape (1996)
Located in the South Moravian region, not too far from Austrian border, Lednice-Valtice complex represent largest artificial landscape ever created in Europe. The whole complex was built in between the 17th and 20th century by powerful Liechtenstein family. It contains two impressive castles of Lednice and Valtice and wonderful garden landscape. Baroque architecture is highly prevalent but the castles feature also details in neo-Gothic style. The countryside was fashioned using the romantic principles of English landscape architecture. Whole property was taken away from the Liechtenstein possession by Nazis during the Second World War because the family refuse to collaborate. Since then the Liechtenstein family claimed the property back but the Czech Government has kept it as a state property. You can visit castles’ interiors and rest afterwards in the beautiful gardens.
9) Tugendhat Villa (2001)
Quite a unique World Heritage Site next to all old towns, castles and churches which are protected in Czech Republic. Tugendhat Villa, situated in Brno, is the important example of modern architecture. The villa was built between 1928 and 1930 by Tugendhat family who unfortunately abandoned it in 1938 due to the beginning of the Second World War. The villa is a work of architect Mies van Rohe who used spatial and aesthetic concepts and modern industrial production. What made it so revolutionary is that it used an iron framework, meaning it didn’t need as many supporting walls as usual, so could be crafted with light and space in mind. The villa went through recent renovation and nowadays it’s open for public. The only problem is that the visit is possible only as a part of a scheduled guided tour and sometimes you need to make a reservation even few months ahead. If you cannot make the reservation, you can still visit the garden and have a good look at the outside of the villa.
10) Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž (1998)
Kroměříž, a Moravian town, located one hour drive from Brno, is famous for its castle and gardens. The castle was financed by the Liechtenstein family but it was used by the bishops of Olomouc (who had a political and religious power). The Castle is the testament of the wealth and power that existed in this part of the Europe in the 1600s. You can visit its rich interiors with a guided tour or just wonder in in the beautiful gardens, they are just a sight to behold. You can admire a beautiful symbiosis of light, plants, art, and architecture. There are two gardens that are part of the World Heritage site – the English Garden which is situated around the castle (no admission). The other one – the Pleasure Garden is designed in a Baroque style and it is considered one of the finest in Europe.
11) Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc (2000)
The memorial column of Holy Trinity is an incredible example of Baroque art. It was built between 1716 and 1754 and it measures 35 meters. There are also many fine religious sculptures built around the column such as the work of artist Ondrej Zahner from Moravia. The memorial column is a significant monument indeed but you can also enjoy the visit of Olomouc itself. It is a secret hidden gem and it could be the highlight of you trip in Czech Republic. You can admire the Town Hall and its astronomical clock, the main market square, impressive collection of fountains and gardens, and the beautiful St Wenceslas Cathedral. And believe us – you will have the town just for yourself – there are no tourist crowds like in Prague!
12) Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk (1994)
Another Moravian jewel – this church was constructed for in honor of St. John of Nepomuk on Zelená Hora. And we can tell you – it is definitely not a usual church. It was constructed in the 18th century by the Jan Blazej Santini whose original style cross the Baroque and neo-Gothic architecture. It has a five-pointed star shape which supposedly appeared on the sky the night Saint John of Nepomuk was killed. Around the edge of the interior of the church are five triangular chapels and five oval chapels. But what is the most impressive is definitely the atmosphere of this place. It is situated on the top of the hill which gives the church very dramatic vibe. Naturally you will get quieter, more sensitive and maybe even more grateful for everything in your life. No need to write that this place is definitely out off the beaten track for all the tourists.
13) Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region (2019)
Recently listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site, situated in south-eastern Germany (Saxony) and north-western Czechia, which contains a wealth of several metals exploited through mining from the Middle Ages onwards. Silver, tin and uranium was exploited gradually in this area. For more than 800 years the mining industry shaped this area and created a very unique landscape.
14) Landscape for Breeding and Training of Ceremonial Carriage Horses at Kladruby and Labem (2019)
Also very recent site, situated in the area of the Elbe plain, which consists of fields, fenced pastures and forested area, all designed with the main focus on breeding and training kladruber horses, a type of draft horse used in ceremonies by the Habsburg family. An imperial stud farm was established in 1579 and has been dedicated to this task since then. It is one of Europe’s leading horse-breeding institutions, developed at a time when horses played vital roles in transport, agriculture, military support, and aristocratic representation.