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Coat-of-arms of the shop-keepers´guildCoat-of-arms of the goldsmiths´guildCoat-of-arms of the fishermens´guildCoat-of-arms of the painters´guildCoat-of-arms of the fencers´guild

Town of Český Krumlov

The district town of Český Krumlov is situated in the southern part of the Czech Republic near the Austrian border (distance to Prague 180 km / 113 miles). Český Krumlov is situated 492 metres above sea level in the Vltava river valley at the foothills of the Blanský Forest Nature Reserve. 

In 1963 the town was declared a municipal historical preserve, and in 1992, together with Prague and Telč, it was added to the UNESCO list of cultural and natural heritage.

 

History of the town of Český Krumlov

The Little Castle, the oldest structure in the castle complex situated on the left bank of the Vltava River, was founded by the Lords of Krumlov between 1230 - 1239. The town name was first mentioned in a letter of Duke Otokar Štýrský in 1253. The town was established essentially in two stages. The first part was built spontaneously below the Krumlov castle, called Latrán and settled mostly by people who had some administrative connection with the castle. The second part of the town was founded in 1274 as a typical settlement on a "green meadow", i.e. in a place where no previous settlement had been.

The Lord of Krumlov were one of the branches of the powerful Vítkovec family, or Wittigonen. They died out in 1302 and the castle was inherited by their relatives, the Rožmberks. The town and castle served as a center of the Rožmberk dominion and their successors from the early 14th century. During the rule of the Rosenberg family, the town as well as the castle flourished. Crafts and trade developed, elaborate homes were built, and the town was endowed with various privileges such as the right to mill, brew beer, hold markets, etc. Meat shops and breweries were built, and twice a year there was a fair. In 1376 there were 96 houses in the town.

The town´s early fifteenth century appearance was given especially by Ulrich II. von Rosenberg. Under his rule, the territory was considerably enlarged, due especially to his clever policy during the Hussite Wars. At the beginning Ulrich supported the Hussite movement especially in matters of the speculation of church properties.

After the Hussite disturbances calmed down, he reverted back to the side of the Catholic church and his court in Krumlov became a refuge for Catholic intelligence and artists expelled from Prague. In the last third of the 15th century Český Krumlov was granted permission to hold weekly and annual markets. Gradually the town was allowed to hold four annual markets, plus a horse and cattle market. Krumlovians traded with Bohemian as well as Upper Austrian towns. The first written mention on silver and gold mining around and within Český Krumlov comes from 1475. In those days, the brothers Heinrich and Peter Wok von Rosenberg granted five miners, including those from Alpine countries, "right of mining". The privilege also mentioned some ancient roll-aways that referred us to the ancient minings.

The best age for mining dawned in 1519-1550. A smelting facility was set up in Krumlov and processed ores imported from the Ratibořice highlands. The most remarkable enterprising activity was paper production since the, Paper Mill of Český Krumlov came into existence as early as the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. In the late 16th century the town was ruled by the last Rosenbergs who considerably influenced the present appearance of the town and its surroundings. The Renaissance magnate Wilhelm von Rosenberg, the most considerable aristocratic personality of the politics and culture of that time, especially initiated reconstructions of townhouses as well as the castle into Renaissance style. Petr Wok von Rosenberg, the last family member, was forced by debts to sell Krumlov to Emperor Rudolf II of Habsburg in 1601.

In 1611 the town faced the heavy assault of the Passau army, during the Thirty Years' War it was occupied by the Emperor´s army, and in 1648 it was invaded by the Swedish army. The Thirty Years´ War brought a new lordship to the town; the Emperor Ferdinand II of Habsburg gave the town to the Eggenbergs, a powerful noble family from Upper Austria, in 1622. They died out in 1719, and Krumlov went over to their in-laws the Schwarzenbergs. The Schwarzenbergs owned Krumlov estate until 1947.

In the 19th century Český Krumlov lost its character of an aristocratic residence; thanks to this it kept its Renaissance-Baroque character. Later constructions were not significant. In the mid 19th century the population of the town reached 5,000 inhabitants. A battalion of infantrymen was accommodated there, two comprehensive shools were built, a school of music as well as a so-called work school where children whose parents had died or didn't take care of them were placed. In the town were two breweries (princely and municipal), two paper mills, three mills, a flax spinning mill, and a factory for cloth. In the 19th century the architecture of the town also changed its appearance. The town walls were demolished as were all but one of the town gates, Budějovická. At the end of the 19th century the graphite mines were opened by the castle garden, and a factory for listels and frames as well as a new paper mill in Větřní began operation. The development of industrial enterprise is associated with the construction of a railway line from České Budějovice to Želnava whose operation on the České Budějovice - Kájov line began in 1891. 

As early as the 19th century, nationality-based problems sometimes broke out between the Czech and German population. After the Declaration of the Czechoslovakian Republic in October 28, 1918, the German population responded with the Declaration of an Independent Šumava Province Böhmerwaldgau which was to become part of a newly constituted Austria. This movement was suppressed by the Czech army and on the 28th of November the region was occupied by Czech forces. By order of the Ministry of the Interior, from 30th April 1920 the town was renamed from Krumau to Český Krumlov, a name which had already been used in 1439. The local population reached its peak in 1921 when 9,120 people lived here.

During World War II there were neither any significant battles in Český Krumlov nor bombing. Krumlov was liberated in 1945 by the American army and the German population was expelled. In 1950 only 6,899 people lived in Český Krumlov. A repeated rise in the population of Český Krumlov was influenced by incorporating some of the neighbourhood villages into the town (1950 - Vyšný, 1961 - Nové Dobrkovice, Nové Spolí, Slupenec). These administrational changes caused more increases in the local population: 1950 - 8,057, 1961 - 9,255 people...

Since the mid 1960's, special care has been devoted to the preservation of the historical merits of Český Krumlov.

 

 

Historical monuments in the town of Český Krumlov

The dominant feature of the town is the church of St. Vitus. In the Renaissance age, the facades were covered with sgraffito and wall paintings, and a monumental Jesuit college  was being built on Horní Street. Near the Jesuit college is situated today´s museum which was estabilished in the middle 17th century. An inseparable part of the historical town is also a four-sided town square in the center. 

 

More informations about history of the town you can find at:

http://www.encyklopedie.ckrumlov.cz/docs/cz/mesto_histor_himeck.xml