Hradec Kralove Tourist Attractions
Hradec Kralove is an administrative center and a working town but it is well equipped for the numerous tourists who pass through here. The town's main attraction is the mix of architectural styles that can be found here.Hradec Kralove was a fully fortified city in the 18th Century. The walls were, for the most part, demolished but the division is still obvious. The historic city center contrasts sharply with the newer sections, which developed outside of the town walls. Hradec Kralove's old town (Stare Mesto) contains a mix of Gothic renaissance and baroque architecture. The New Town (Nove Mesto), on the opposite side of the river is home to some beautiful Art Nouveau buildings as well as bland Communist Era constructions.
The large Main Square in the old town of Hradec Kralove is Velke namesti, also known as Zizkovo namesti. Here visitors will find many of the town's main attractions. The Gothic Church of the Holy Spirit (kostel sv Ducha) dates to the early 14th Century and is the oldest building on the Main Square. Next to the church stand the Renaissance White Tower built in the late 16th Century. At a height of 68m / 223ft the tower dwarfs everything else on the square. Visitors can climb it for great views over Hradec Kralove and the surrounding area. Also on Velke namesti is the Gallery of Modern Art, the Jesuit Church of the Assumption of the Virgin, the Jesuit College, the Bishop's Palace and a number of other buildings.
Chateau of Karlova Koruna
The Chateau of Karlova Koruna is a remarkable building on the edge of Chlumec nad Cidlinou. It was built in the early 18th Century by Frantisek Ferdinand Kinsky. The design of the building is unique, with a round central area three storeys tall and three residential wings branching off in different directions. This feature illimates long corridors, a prominent feature of most architecture at this time. Karlova Koruna is surrounded by a beautiful large park.The interior of the chateau displays a collection of baroque art by Czech artists, along with portraits of the Kinsky family who own Karlova Koruna.
Gallery of Modern Art
The Gallery of Modern Art (Galeria moderniho umeni) is noteworthy both for the building that houses it and the collection it contains. Designed by Osvald Polivka, this impressive Art Nouveau building, constructed in 1912 is one of the finer examples of this style in Hradec Kralove. Located on the main square, Velki namesti, the gallery is hard to miss. On display at the Gallery of Modern Art is an extraordinary collection of 19th and 20th Century paintings and sculptures by Czech artists. Among the artists represented are Mucha, Bohumil Kubista, Josef Capek, Josef Sima, and Emil Filla.
There are numerous towns and natural attractions in the Hradec Kralove surrounding area.
The appropriately named Czech Paradise Nature Reserve is a UNESCO Geopark. Here visitors will find unusual formations of rock, along with historical buildings and castles.
The town of Litomysl developed the 11th Century. A fortress stood here prior to this but in the 11th Century a Benedictin Monastery was where the castle now stands. Fires and floods plagued the city in the 18th Century and many of the towns most important and impressive buildings where built following these catastrophes, including major reconstruction of the castle. Following the Velvet Revolution in 1989 the town undertook restoration of old buildings and construction of new ones. In 1994 seven presidents of European countries were invited to Litomysl for a summit meeting. For this event restoration work became a priority and the town underwent a transformation. In addition to this the King of Spain was invited here the following year.Some of the main attractions here are the chateau / castle, the main square, and a number of churches. Litosmysl is also famous for being the birth town of composure Bedrich Smetana.
The Litomysl Castle, or the Chateau as it is sometimes called, was built by the Aostali brothers in the late 16th Century. Following the major fires that devastated the town in the 18th Century the castle underwent some major alterations. Composer Bedrich Smetana was born here in 1824. The castle's theatre was constructed at this time and remains much the same as it was when it was built, with scenery done by Josef Platzer. Noteworthy features of the Castle are the extraordinary sgraffito, the 1728 sundial, and windows, which look directly from the exterior into the courtyard. The interior displays furniture and porcelain collections.
Krkonose National Park
The Krkonose (Giant Mountains) are the highest mountains in Bohemia. Krkonose National Park (Krkonossky Narodni Park) was established in 1962 to protect the numerous bird species and extensive flora that includes rare trees. The area is now listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reservation. Inside the park visitors will find the small spa town, Janske Lazne, and the ski resorts of Psindleruv Mlyn and Pec pod Snezkou. In addition to skiing the park is also a popular area for hiking, with huts on the trails, and bird watching. Birds are drawn to the park for the peat bogs. The most popular hike in the mountains is the Harrach path, which is only open during the summer months.The landscape of the park is characterized by rounded mountains, peat bogs, cliffs and waterfalls.
Kuks is a former baroque spa resort in Eastern Bohemia, built on the banks of the Labe River. The natural mineral spring was discovered by Count Franz Anton von Sporck on his own property which he had inherited, along with a huge fortune, when he was seventeen years old. Sporck spent the next two decades building Kuks which turned out to be more than just a spa. This fabulous resort contained all of the usual spa amenities including baths, hospital, chateau and accommodations, as well as a theatre, racetrack and other entertainment venues. He held river pageants, hunts and had his own private orchestra. Kuks became one of the premier spa resorts in central Europe, even frequented by Johann Sebastian Bach.Following the death of Sporck, Kuks fell on hard times. No one was interested in maintaining the spa. Two years after Sporck's death a huge flood on the Labe wiped out many of the buildings and the spring itself suffered irreparable damage.What remains today are the restored hospital, the chapel designed by Giovanni Alliprandi, the Sporck mausoleum, the pharmacy, and a collection of allegorical statues by Matthias Braun. It is still impressive to see and worth a visit.
Pardubice, south of Hradec Kralove in Eastern Bohemia, is famous for its annual "Great Pardubice Steeplechase", a tradition which first began in 1874. The course is known for being extremely challenging, especially one jump called "taxis' jump". The race is held on the second Sunday in October in Pardubice and brings visitors from all over the region. Another annual event in the town is the Junior Tennis Tournament, and event that has been ongoing for the past century.Apart from these events, Pardubice also has some interesting sights. Most of the architecture dates to after a 1507 fire that destroyed much of the town. Buildings of note are the Gothic Church of St Bartholomew (Kostel sv Bartolomeje) and the 20th Century art nouveau theatre. Located on the main square (Pernstejnske namesti) is the 16th Century Green Gate, numerous Renaissance houses, and the nearby Renaissance, sgraffitoed castle (zamek). The castle houses a small regional museum and a collection of art by Czech artists.
Map of Hradec Kralove Attractions