CZ: Hradec Kralove – Gem of Architecture
First time I got into Hradec was when taking pictures in the Orlicke Mountains. It fell in love with the city instantly. I get off my car, looked at the First-Republic houses facades, looked at faces of several people and I knew that I wasn’t here for the last time.
As the name of the city implies, Hradec has been a royal city since the 13th century. It was part of the dowry of Czech queens. During the reign of Charles IV, it was the second largest city in Bohemia right after Prague. Emperor Joseph II rebuilt the entire city to a military fortress in the second half of the 18th century, which lasted as such until the year 1893.
The fortress was a true blessing for the development of the city in the first half of the 20th century. When the fortification was torn down, a gem of urbanism raised instead. The best Czech architects took part on it. Fortunately, Hradec lived through socialism, when many architects did significant damage on Czech architecture. Today city planners plan to expand the city but in a functional way. Not just to outdo the plan on 110%.
I walk about for a while in romantic, Baroque streets in the city center enjoying the atmosphere. I like it a lot here. The only thing I miss is more cool and smiling people – one would expect it in a university city. Except for people, the greatness of the city lies in its coffee bars. There is one of my favorite in Hradec. You can find modern, stylish place right on the square. They have great coffee and wine and homemade cakes. You can visit Jordi’s, a chocolate manufacture located nearby, and also couple of other pleasant coffee bars and restaurants. For instance, a coffee bar in the Museum of East Bohemia is worth visiting.
Apart from interesting architecture, you can find world famous piano manufacturer Petrof in Hradec as well as the Museum of Modern Art, a botanical garden of medical plants, or family chocolate manufacture. The greatest tourist attraction is the cathedral of Holy Spirit , White Tower and the Baroque-style town hall. All three sights are on the Velke square. All of this makes the main sights in the city.
I wander about the city center for a while. I look at the interior of one beautiful church, walk through one park, and then I go to the train station. It is quite far. I do not envy people who have to travel to Hradec Kralove on regular basis. Mr. Kotas, however, built them an interesting and modern bus station. Buses depart to Prague and trains as well. It is bit complicated for me to get to Brno as I have to transfer to different train in Pardubice. Still, it is only 2 and half hours of ride. Trains departed every half-an-hour. So, no long waiting...
Text/photo: Matouš Vinš
Today we go to nine cities, which, with one exception, are located in Eastern Bohemia and are united not only by a common history, but also by the fact that it belonged to the Czech queens in the past. These are Dvůr Králové nad Labem, Hradec Králové, Chrudim, Jaroměř, Mělník, Nový Bydžov, Polička, Trutnov and Vysoké Mýto.
Although a small village located in the Hradec Králové region dates back to 1052, it is probably experiencing its greatest glory only now. Visitors from all over the Czech Republic come here to enjoy the unique medieval atmosphere. Dětenice is located on the road between Jičín and Mladá Boleslav, less than 70 kilometers from Prague. The village lies practically at the beginning of the beautiful Bohemian Paradise. Part of this small village is the unique Castle Resort Dětenice, which includes a Baroque castle, a brewery and a medieval tavern.
The town located in the Hradec Králové region on the river Kněžná is associated with several historically significant names. The author of the novel There Were Five of Them comes here - the writer Karel Poláček, the composer Jiří Rychnovský, Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová wrote the famous Domestic Cookbook here and the Kolowrat family owns and manages one of the largest Baroque complexes in Bohemia - the Kolowrat Castle.
Near the former border of Bohemia and Moravia lies the town of Litomyšl, which is one of the most picturesque in the Czech Republic. Thanks to the fact that several important personalities were born or stayed here, many cultural events and festivals continue their tradition. Let's go to Litomyšl together.
The only zoo in the Czech Republic that offers African safaris is in Dvur Kralove. Therefore, it ranks among the top in popularity and attendance. The intention of the then director Josef Vágner, who started importing African animals from his expeditions years ago, succeeded. In the vast area on the outskirts of the city, in addition to the classic zoo and safari park, which you can drive either with your own or safari car, you will also find hotel and camp accommodation, a brewery and a spa.
An inconspicuous city at the foot of the Orlicke Mountains, famous for its lace technique and skilled women, whose numbers have fallen rapidly since the time of fame. Interest in lace also fell. The lace museums here will guide you through the centuries-old tradition of lace-making, and when you're lucky, you can find lace festivals or the International Lace Makers Gathering. Yes, there are two museums in Vamberk due to social changes. We will visit Vamberk at the Na Vyhlídce cottage, at the crossroads of hiking trails.
Before the inhabitants of Hradec Kralove decide go to see nature beyond their city they should explore some of their boroughs. Novy Hradec Kralove offers everything what town people look for in the Orlice and Krkonose mountains – clean nature, forests, ponds, trails for bikers. There are also trails for people on wheelchair.
This regional city is an honor to its region. It is really a gem among the cities. Or, at least, it seems to be.
A little less than twenty kilometers from Hradec Kralove, the region capital, there is Jaromer, the town full of history.
Smirice – a town that is not particularly interesting. There are almost no tourists. Nevertheless, for many Smirice is an interesting stop for those who visit Kralovehradcky Region, for there is a chapel, castle, and also a train station.
Pardubice, a Region town, is located in distance of more than one hundred of kilometres from Prague. The locality became famous through Great Pardubice Steeplechase, honey-gingerbread, and also by Paramo Refinery Station or Synthesia Factory Complex.
On the western edge of Janske Laze, in the direction of Cerny Dul, another tree trail was opened one year ago. It is the third wooden lookout tower going up into the clouds in the Czech Republic. Similar buildings are enjoying popularity in Germany.
A small quiant town on the confluence of the Bela and the Divoka Orlice rivers boast an historic object of immense value, both historic and artistic. We talk about Castolovice Chateau and its vast English-style park, chateau animal pen, and a perserve with fallow deer. Be ready to spend an entire day on the residence of the House of Sternberk.
When young Count Ervin Kinsky lost his fondness of former chateau, now called Stary Zamek, he intended to built a representative residence for the family. The construction of Novy Zamek took place between the years 1829-1833. The old Baroque-style chateau with two stories is separated from the gardens by royal road. It has remained the seat of the dominion.
Not far from Hradec Kralove, there lies a town famous for its unique carving - the Probost´s mechanical nativity scene. This national cultural monument can be found in the Museum of Nativity Scenes in Trebechovice, in a newer house built in the corner of the square. The nativity scene was refurbished in between the years 2015 and 2016 to keep it operational. And it is operational. Every day of the week except Monday.
A small town near Rychnov nad Kneznou is not known by many. Local area is crossed by the Divoka Orlice River. Nobility built chateaus in the past in the area. Doubdleby town also features a chateau adorned by countless sgrafitti ornaments.
The second biggest town of the Czech Republic and the biggest Moravian metropolis at the same time, this is Brno. This town is, from times immemorial, a rivalry synonym with Prague, as far as their mentality or even their language (dialect) are concerned.
The Church of the Holy Trinity, the bell tower with one of the oldest bells in Bohemia and the Ba...
In Dvůr Králové you will see animals in pavilions and paddocks as well as in open terrain. The co...
The historical building of the museum has several floors full of lace products and works of art. ...
The English-style castle park was founded in the 19th century and the Renaissance chateau in the ...
An Empire-style structure from the first half of the 19th century which now houses a chateau cafe...
A photogallery from historical city centre and Špilberk Castle in Brno.
Photo: Jakub Štantejský
Near the former border of Bohemia and Moravia lies the town of Litomyšl, which is one of the most...
They speak of Hradec Kralove as of the saloon of the republic. About 90 thousand people live in H...
Welcome in Jaromer! It is a small and nice east-Bohemian town near Hradec Kralove. There live abo...
Pardubice is a town with nearly 100 hundred thousands of inhabitants, situated at confluenc...