Historical gardens and parks in Český Krumlov

Panorama of Č. Krumlov, in front on bank of river Vltava Novoměstská garden, 1999, photo: J.Olšan During the last decade, the historical town of Český Krumlov with its vast castle residence has attracted the attention of hundreds of thousands of tourists, but stands nonetheless at the forefront of cultural and professional public view. The extraordinary value of Český Krumlov was stressed by UNESCO when it was included on its List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1992. In Český Krumlov's case, the primary reason for its classification in this prestigious list was not the artistic value of the individual monuments or works of art it holds preserved, but first and foremost the unique harmonious visual impression the historical seat gives with its extraordinarily valuable relief landscape. A distinctive element in the cultural landscape of Český Krumlov is the historical gardens situated within the grounds of the castle as well as in the town itself. The Český Krumlov collection of historical seigniorial, ecclesiastical and municipal gardens and parks is, as far as the abundance of types is concerned, comparable with other significant residential towns in the Czech and Moravian lands, for instance with the Kroměříž gardens and to a certain extent even with the Prague gardens. The artistically most valuable of the Český Krumlov gardens have always been the seigniorial gardens; of these, the most significant is the castle garden. In the shade of the castle garden lay a series of further valuable historically evolved gardens.

The landscape setting of the town of Český Krumlov
The unique urbanistic structure of the town of Český Krumlov is conditioned primarily by the landscape relief. The appearance of the landscape is provided by the geologic construction, but of course also by the processes and evolutions which the region encountered during its geologic history, mainly during the period at the turn between the Tertiary and Quarternary.

Areal view of Český Krumlov, foto: Lubor Mrázek

In the morphology of the Český Krumlov town landscape, the meandering and deeply engraved Vltava valley makes an expressive mark with steep, often craggy slopes, as do the valleys of the Vltava affluents. In contrast with these lowly situated areas, we are greeted with the surrounding hills of the landscape with hillocks, mainly with the dominating highest point of the Blanský woods - the mountain Kleť (1084 m).

The Deer Garden on cut from sketch of Stable register from 1826, Municipal office, author: Josef Langweil Regarding the position of the medieval parts of the town at the level where the Vltava River meanders (with the exception of the block of buildings around the church on today's Horní street), the surrounding landscape, in medieval times being mainly agricultural, entered in close contact with the interior of the medieval built-up area. >From the visual perspective of the town square, from the bridge, and often at the end of the town streets as well, the first horizon to appear was mainly the silhouettes of the fitful craggy banks of the river Vltava, covered with a woody vegetation. Across these slopes, on the surfaces of the originally Tertiary river terraces, was less slopy land found and intensively exploited for agriculture. The second dominant features of the town landscape, further off but nonetheless very important, were formed by the rise of Křížová (Cross) hill, spot height 562,2 north-east from Domoradice, the silhouette of the Liščí mountains, the Městský peak, Ptačí hrádek, and Dubík. The third horizon of the landscape in the Český Krumlov surroundings is dominated by the massif of the Blanský woods with its peak Kleť mountain to the North, to the north-east the silhouette of the Věncové mountains and to the South the Vraní hill.

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