Touristy or tourist attraction?
23.03.2008 - 25.03.2008
Take the 533 highway out of Prague for about two hours heading to the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic, turn off at Cesky Budejovice for another thirty minutes and you come across the little town of Cesky Krumlov. This historic town, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is divided into three parts by the swirling Vlatva River that does a sort of S-shape around some of the most beautiful, quaint, attractive – you name it – houses and alleyways you can find, constantly dominated by the towering Krumlov Castle.
The town and castle’s creation started in the late 13th century and was owned by the House of Rosenberg (hence the rose on the town shield). The town went through several owners until becoming part of the Austrian Empire in 1806. During WWII it was annexed by Nazis Germany as part of the Sudentenland then after the war the German-speaking population were expelled and restored back to Czechoslovakia for a short time until the communist control until the Velvet Revolution in 1989. In that period the town, like many in Czechoslovakia, fell into disrepair. The town is still in the process of restoration but it has now regained much of the original architecture, style, character, culture and beauty.
But some may say it is too quaint, too fairy-tale picturesque, too touristy! Be that as it may, it is not the fault of the town, for that is how it is. Yes it is touristy in that it is one of the main tourist attractions to the Czech Republic and the town derives most of its income from tourists, but so has many similar places around the world and it’s a sign of the times that gothic, medieval, baroque and many other traditional styles have fallen into the guise of Disneyland-ish!
My advise is to visit these places in the off season to have the room to move freely and the space to take in the true beauty that was once the normal town of yesteryear.
I stayed at the Hotel Rose, a very comfortable hotel across the river from the old town. The view from my upstairs room makes me believe it’s worthwhile not to stay within the old town but just outside so you can wake to a visa that takes your imagination back seven centuries.
By the way, the hotel is up for sale and if you have a spare 4 million dollars handy???