Wonders of the Czech Republic

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Centre of Prague, Czech Republic
Centre of Prague, Czech Republic / G.Pāvils, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Most interesting wonders of Czech Republic

Below are listed the most amazing natural and man made landmarks of Czech Republic.

Natural landmarks

Rock formations

Hruboskalsko, Czech Republic
Hruboskalsko / Sander van der Wel, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Adršpašsko-Teplické cliffs – Liberec. Large group ("forest") – thousands of sandstone hoodoos with up to 100 m deep gorges between them.
  • Bílé kameny (Elephant Rocks) – Liberec. Group of rounded, white cliffs in the forest which resemble oversized animals, up to 20 m high.
  • Broumovské stěny – Hradec Králové. Large group of cliff towers and hoodoos with vertical walls up to 300 m high. Spectacular canyons are winding through the groups of hoodoos.
  • Hruboskalsko – Liberec. Group of impressive sandstone hoodoos which rise up to 60 m tall.
  • Panská skála – Liberec. Unusual natural landmark – up to 30 m tall cliff which consists of basaltic columns.
  • Pravčická brána – Ústí nad Labem. Largest natural sandstone arch in Europe, 26.5 m wide and 16 m high, only 3 m thick.
  • Vrkoč – Ústí nad Labem. Very impressive, unusual formation from basaltic columns.

Caves and sinkholes

Macocha Gorge, Czech Republic
Macocha Gorge / Prazak, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Amatérská Cave – South Moravia. Longest cave in the country, 40,070 m long and up to 497 m deep. Contains two underground rivers.
  • Hranice Abyss (Hranicka Propast) – Olomouc. Deepest known underwater cave in the world. Total known depth of this cave is 473.5 m, known depth of the cave lake – 404 m. It is expected that it is much deeper – up to 1200 m deep.
  • Macocha Gorge – South Moravia. Impressive sinkhole, 137.8 m deep. It is part of Punkva Cave and Punkva river flows through the sinkhole.
  • Zbrašov aragonite caves – Olomouc. Unusual caves which have been formed by mineral water springs rich with carbon dioxide and also by surface water. Cave contains unique speleothemes (cave formations) which resemble geysers and doughnuts. Lower parts of cave contain "lakes" of carbon dioxide.

Man made landmarks

Prehistoric landmarks

  • Dolní Věstonice – South Moravia. Scientifically important archaeological site which was provided many important discoveries about the Upper Paleolithic age. Here were found many examples of prehistoric art which was made 20 – 26 thousand years BC. Most of artworks are clay figurines. Especially valuable are two figurines of women. This settlement was made in open site and these hunters made from the bones of their prey – mammoths and other large animals – a fence around the living zone.
  • Mladeč caves – Olomouc. Beautiful, 1.25 km long cave system which is rich with stalactites, stalagmites and other formations. Most important here though are finds of one of the oldest known human settlements in Europe which is some 31 000 years old. The remnants of people here seem to have many features of Neanderthals which has lead to speculations that here Neanderthals interbred with humans.
  • Stránská skála – South Moravia. Hill which has provided thousands of bones of extinct animals, such as remnants of sabertoothed cat Homotherium moravicum, bear Ursus deningeri. Here have been found also numerous artifacts left by prehistoric people – up to 250 thousand years old fireplaces, 27 – 20 thousand years old stone tools.
  • Wall of Češov – Hradec Králové. Impressive ancient wall which encloses an area of 35 ha. Wall is up to 12 m high and 55 m wide. Most likely built in the 1st century AD.

Historical cities and towns

Telč, Czech Republic
Telč / János Korom Dr., Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Český Krumlov – South Bohemia. This town has a beautiful historical center with the enormous Český Krumlov Castle in its center.
  • Historic Center of Prague – Prague. Prague provides one of the most impressive medieval cityscapes in the world. City has a huge number of outstanding architecture monuments in beautiful natural setting. Historical center is large and consists of several parts, including Staré Město (Prague Old Town), Nové Město (Prague New Town), Malá Strana and Hradčany as well as Josefov – the historical Jewish ghetto.
  • Kutná Hora – Central Bohemia. Historical mining town which developed in the 12th – 13th century around silver mines. Old town contains many impressive buildings including several Gothic churches.
  • Slavonice – South Bohemia. Well preserved medieval city with unique concentration of Renaissance style buildings, many painted in sgrafitto technique. Most of these buildings were built in the 14th – 16th centuries.
  • Telč – Vysočina. Historical city of outstanding beauty, with very impressive main square and multiple buildings in Renaissance and Baroque styles. Founded in the 13th century. Many houses are painted in sgrafitto style.
  • Terezín – Ústí nad Labem. Town – fortress, located within a well preserved start fort. Town and fortress were constructed in 1780 – 1790. Town hosted 5,655 soldiers and consists of rather well preserved buildings from these times.
  • Třebíč Jewish Quarter – Vysočina. One of the best preserved Jewish ghettos worldwide with more than hundred historical buildings.
  • Znojmo Catacombs – South Moravia. Network of some 25 km long passageways built for defensive purposes in the 14th – 15th centuries. Whole city could evacuate in a case of need and survive underground for longer time.

Castles

Karlštejn, Czech Republic
Karlštejn / Erin Brierley, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Bezděz Castle – Liberec. One of the most impressive Gothic castles, built between 1260 and 1280 on a rocky cliff.
  • Hluboká Castle – South Bohemia. Gothic castle from the 13th century, rebuilt several times with the last rebuilding in the 19th century in Neo-Gothic style.
  • Karlštejn – Central Bohemia. Beautiful, very impressive castle which was built in Gothic style in 1348 – 1365. Residence of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Tallest fortification tower is the unique 60 m tall Bog Tower with up to 7.5 m thick walls.
  • Křivoklát Castle – Central Bohemia. Impressive castle, built in Gothic style in the 13th century.
  • Kroměříž Castle and Kroměříž Castle Garden – Zlín. Historical residence of Olomouc bishops and archbishops. Former castle was rebuilt in Baroque style in the second half of the 17th century. In the castle is located valuable art collection including valuable work by Titian. Especially impressive are castle gardens – one of the best extant examples of Baroque gardens worldwide.
  • Pernštejn Castle – South Moravia. Impressive, well preserved medieval castle, built around 1270 – 1285 in Gothic style and rebuilt in Renaissance style in the 16th century.
  • Prague Castle – Prague. The largest castle in the world, 570 m long and 130 m wide. Development of this giant structure started around 870 AD and it includes numerous structures in diverse architectural styles. One part of it – the Old Royal Palace – contains Vladislav Hall – spacious Gothic room, an important ceremonial hall.
  • Zvíkov Castle – South Bohemia. Early Gothic castle in impressive natural setting, in the confluence of Vltava and Otava rivers. Built in the first half of the 13th century. Castle has fine Gothic cloister.

Palaces

Lednice Palace, Czech Republic
Lednice Palace / Creativfoto, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Kratochvíle – South Bohemia. Renaissance water palace, built in 1583 – 1589. In the palace is located the Great Gold Hall – ornate reception room, also other rooms are adorned with stucco reliefs and murals.
  • Litomyšl Palace – Pardubice. Outstanding palace in Renaissance style, built in 1568 – 1581. This is an early example of arcade castle in Central Europe, borrowed from the Italian examples.
  • Lednice Palace – South Moravia. Ornate palace in Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Gothic style, initially constructed in the 16th century and rebuilt in the 19th century. Palace has a central location in large area of parks, alleys, other monuments of architecture.
  • Valtice Palace – South Moravia. Enormous and splendid palace in Baroque style, rebuilt from an earlier structure in the 17th – 18th centuries. Most of the interiors have not been preserved but palace forms a centerpiece of enormous system of parks and alleys.

Family houses, villas

Villa Tugendhat, Czech Republic
Villa Tugendhat / Vít Švajcr, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Letohrádek Hvězda – Prague. Unusual villa from the times of Renaissance, built in 1555 – 1558. In the plan villa has a shape o six-pointed star.
  • Villa Müller – Prague. Private house which was built from concrete in 1928 – 1930. It has innovative design for its time, especially the inner planning.
  • Villa Tugendhat – South Moravia. One of the most important modernist buildings, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and built in 1928 – 1930. It introduced a wealth of new concepts, technologies and materials.

Churches

St. Barbara's Church in Kutná Hora
St. Barbara’s Church in Kutná Hora / Jerzy Strzelecki, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0
  • Church of Our Lady before Týn – Prague. Beautiful church in Gothic style, with two 80 m tall towers. Church was constructed in the 14th century.
  • Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist in Kutná Hora – Central Bohemia. One of the most impressive Gothic structures in Czech Republic, with valuable Baroque style additions in its interior. Construction started around 1300 and after the fire it was rebuilt in 1708.
  • Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk – Vysočina. Unusual and gorgeous church in Baroque style with many unique elements showing influence of Gothic style. Built in 1719 – 1727 and designed by outstanding Bohemian architect Jan Santini Aichel who tried to introduce new concepts in design.
  • Sedlec Ossuary – Central Bohemia. Small chapel with worldwide fame because it contains bones of some 40 – 70 thousand people. Many bones have been used to decorate the interior of the chapel.
  • St. Barbara’s Church in Kutná Hora – Central Bohemia. Gorgeous cathedral in Gothic and Baroque styles, built in 1388 – 1905.
  • St. Procopius Basilica in Třebíč – Vysočina. Church in the late Romanesque – early Gothic style, built in 1240 – 1260. It is nearly unique example uniting both these architecture styles in a single, harmonious structure.
  • St. Vitus Cathedral – Prague. Outstanding example of Gothic architecture. The enormous church is 124 m long, with 96.5 m high main tower. Here are buried many Holy Roman Emperors, Bohemian kings. Design of this church left impact on the design of numerous other great European churches.
  • Všemily Rock chapel – Ústí nad Labem. This chapel was made in a hollowed-out block of sandstone before 1835.

Monasteries

Theological Library in Strahov Monastery, Czech Republic
Theological Library in Strahov Monastery / Pascal Hassenforder, Flikcr, CC BY 2.0
  • Osek Monastery – Ústí nad Labem. Medieval monastery with buildings in Gothic and Baroque style, founded in 1196. Church and monastery premises are adorned with beautiful frescoes.
  • Porta coeli Convent – South Moravia. This Cistercian convent was founded in 1233 and has important features in Gothic style – vaulted cloister, chapter house and the church (1239) with gorgeous Gothic portal.
  • Strahov Monastery – Prague. Large historical monastery, founded in 1143. This Premonstratensian abbey contains several rooms with ornate interiors and art values such as the Theological Hall and the Philosophical Hall.

Synagogues

Great Synagogue in Plzen, Czech Republic
Great Synagogue in Plzen, Czech Republic / Miaow Miaow, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
  • Old New Synagogue – Prague. Oldest active synagogue in Europe, built in 1270 as one of first Gothic style buildings in city. Linked to legends about Golem.
  • Spanish Synagogue in Prague – Prague. Beautiful structure, built in 1868 in Moorish Revival style. Synagogue has got very ornate interior.

Public buildings

Tower of the Prague Old Town Hall
Tower of the Prague Old Town Hall / Hynek Moravec, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Prague Municipal House (Obecní dům) – Prague. Very ornate building in Art Nouveau style, built as a place for civic events.
  • Prague Old Town Hall – Prague. Large medieval structure in the Old Town which consist of several structures. Development of town hall started in 1338. There were added several smaller residential houses around the town hall, uniting this all into single building. Here are many interesting features and art values but one is especially interesting – The Horologe or astronomical clock which was built in 1410. This is very complex mechanism with moving statues, this is the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one which still operates.

Bridges

Charles Bridge, Prague
Charles Bridge / Roman Boed, Flickr, CC BY 2.0
  • Charles Bridge – Prague. One of the best known medieval bridges in Europe, built in 1357 – 1402 over Vltava, once important element of trade routes in this part of Europe. Bridge is 621 m long, built in Gothic style with three beautiful watchtowers. Bridge is adorned with some 30 sculptures.
  • Písek Stone Bridge – South Bohemia. The oldest bridge in Czech Republic, built in Gothic style in the 3rd quarter of the 13th century. Bridge is 109.75 m long, with 7 arches.

Other man made landmarks

Kuks Spa, Czech Republic
Kuks Spa / MiPi, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc – Olomouc. Outstanding monument in the center of Olomouc, built in Baroque style in 1716 – 1754 to celebrate the end of plague. the 35 m high monument is adorned with sculptures of saints which are linked to Olomouc.
  • Kuks Spa (Hospital Kuks) – Hradec Králové. Enormous palace – spa, built in 1707 – 1722. Comples of Spa buildings and the numerous sculptures are masterpieces of Baroque architecture and art. Spa complex extends into the surrounding forest where nature trails and beautiful sculptures (including the outstanding Betlém Sculpture group) are located.
  • Powder Tower in Prague – Prague. Beautiful gate tower between the Old and New City of Prague. Constructed in Gothic style in 1475.
  • Velké Losiny paper mill – Olomouc. Oldest paper mill in this part of Europe, working continuously since the 1590ies. Paper mill is located in Renaissance style building and still produces high-end paper.

Described wonders of Czech Republic

loading map - please wait...

St. Vitus Cathedral: 50.090765, 14.400365
Hranice Abyss (Hranicka Propast): 49.532225, 17.750665

The heritage of Czech Republic is very diverse and especially rich and diverse is man made heritage – from archaeological landmarks to the achievements of modern architecture. Among the numerous amazing landmarks the most interesting here are:

Pravčická brána, Czech Republic
Pravčická brána / gravitat-OFF, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

  • Historical cities and towns. Czech Republic has one of the most beautiful historical cities in the world – Prague, but there are many more great towns – the beautiful Český Krumlov, exotic Znojmo with its underground part and the Renaissance gems – Slavonice and Telč.
  • Castles. The largest castle complex in the world is Prague Castle, but here are other very impressive castles – the unique Karlštejn, fairy-tale Hluboká Castle and others.
  • Churches. The most impressive churches in Czech Republic are very diverse: the magnificent St. Vitus Cathedral belongs to the most impressive Gothic churches worldwide but the eerie Sedlec Ossuary – one of the creepiest worldwide.

In the country are found also very interesting and diverse rock formations – "forests" of tall sandstone needles, oversized stone "pillows" and very deep holes.

Featured: St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague
St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague / Marek Bakajsa, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

The gorgeous Prague has it all… even one of the greatest Gothic cathedrals in the world! Construction of St. Vitus Cathedral lasted for centuries and, most likely, many generations dreamed to see it completed. We have this privilege now.

Recommended books

National Geographic Traveler: Prague and the Czech Republic, 2nd Edition


In response to the modern vacationer’s interest in more meaningful journeys, we have relaunched the acclaimed National Geographic Traveler guidebook series to embrace experiential travel—with emphasis on soft adventure and hands-on involvement in local life and culture. This guide to beautiful Prague and the Czech Republic is chock full of attractive new features to make your trip uniquely memorable: Insider tips from National Geographic and local experts reveal favorite little-known sites and events.

Rick Steves Prague & The Czech Republic


Inside Rick Steves Prague & the Czech Republic you’ll find:
– Comprehensive coverage for spending a week or more exploring Prague and the Czech Republic
– Rick’s strategic advice on how to get the most out of your time and money, with rankings of his must-see favorites
– Top sights and hidden gems, from the city’s stunning Old Town Square and Prague Castle to charming neighborhood bars and restaurants
– How to connect with local culture: Take a dip in freshwater peat spas, explore the medieval villages of Bohemia, or enjoy a wine-cellar serenade with friendly vintners

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