National Cultural Monuments of the Czech Republic

Prague Astronomical Clock

The Prague astronomical clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still operating. It is mounted on the southern wall of Old Town Hall in the Old Town Square. The clock mechanism itself is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; &apos ...
Founded: 1410 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Historic Centre of Prague

Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe in terms of its setting on both banks of the Vltava River, its townscape of burger houses and palaces punctuated by towers, and its individual buildings. The Historic Centre represents a supreme manifestation of Medieval urbanism (the New Town of Emperor Charles IV built as the New Jerusalem). The Prague architectural works of the Gothic Period (14th and 15th centuries ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Jan Hus Memorial

The Jan Hus Memorial stands at one end of Old Town Square. The huge monument depicts victorious Hussite warriors and Protestants who were forced into exile 200 years after Hus, and a young mother who symbolises national rebirth. The monument was so large that the sculptor designed and built his own villa and studio where the work could be carried out. It was unveiled in 1915 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Jan Hus ...
Founded: 1915 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Church of Our Lady before Týn

The Church of Our Lady before Týn is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires. In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Castle

Prague Castle, dating from the 9th century, is the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept within a hidden room inside it. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, occupying an area of almost 70,000 m2. ...
Founded: 870 AD | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

St. Vitus Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert is the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. Up to 1997, the cathedral was dedicated only to Saint Vitus, and is still commonly named only as St. Vitus Cathedral. This cathedral is an excellent example of Gothic architecture and is the biggest and most important church in Czech Republic. Located within Prague Castle and containing the tombs of many Bohemian ...
Founded: 1344 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge is a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. The bridge replaced the old Judith Bridge built 1158–1172 that had been badly damaged by a flood in 1342. This new bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or the Prague Bridge (Pra ...
Founded: 1357 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Clementinum

The Clementinum is a historic complex of buildings in Prague. Until recently the complex hosted the National, University and Technical libraries, the City Library also being located nearby on Mariánské Náměstí. The Technical library and the Municipal library have moved to the Prague National Technical Library at Technická 6 since 2009. It is currently in use as the National Library ...
Founded: 1622 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Historic Centre of Cesky Krumlov

Situated on the banks of the Vltava river, Český Krumlov was built around a 13th-century castle with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. It is an outstanding example of a small central European medieval town whose architectural heritage has remained intact thanks to its peaceful evolution over more than five centuries. The historic city center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Construction of ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

St. Vitus' Church

St. Vitus" Church in Český Krumlov is together with the castle an architectural landmark of the town. The church was built on the site of an older building around 1400. The consecration was carried out in 1439. Around 1500, the burghers built a large music gallery in the western part of the church, and further important remodelling followed in the Baroque period. Apart from other things, a new sacristy wa ...
Founded: 1400-1439 | Location: Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

St. Nicholas Church

The Church of Saint Nicholas was built between 1704-1755 on the site where formerly a Gothic church from the 13th century stood. It has been described as the most impressive example of Prague Baroque. In the second half of the 17th century the Jesuits decided to build a new church designed by Giovanni Domenico Orsi. A partial impression of the original planned appearance of the church at the time the Jesuits chose the in ...
Founded: 1704-1755 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov Castle

Český Krumlov Castle dates back to 1240 when the first castle was built by the Witigonen family, the main branch of the powerful Rosenberg family. By the 17th century the Rosenbergs had died out and the dominion of Krumau was given to Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg by Emperor Ferdinand II and Eggenberg was named Duke of Krumau. After the death of Hans Ulrich's son, Johann Anton I von Eggenberg, the castle was administrated ...
Founded: 1240 | Location: Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Karolinum

Karolinum is a complex of buildings located in the Old Town of the City of Prague. Karolinum, the seat of the Charles University in Prague, is one of the oldest dormitories situated in the Central Europe. Shortly after the establishing of Charles University in 1348, the young institution encountered several organizational problems. One of the major complications was the lack of lecture and accommodation rooms for teacher ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

House of the Black Madonna

The House of the Black Madonna is a cubist building designed by Josef Gočár. It is currently in use as the Czech Museum of Cubism and includes the Grand Café Orient restaurant on the first floor. The House of the Black Mother, sometimes referred to as Black Mother of the Lord, was designed and built between 1911 and 1912 on the corner of Celetná Street and Ovocný trh. Josef Goč&aacut ...
Founded: 1911-1912 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Estates Theatre

The Estates Theatre (Stavovské divadlo) is a historic theatre in Prague. It was built during the late 18th century in response to Enlightenment thought regarding general access to the theatre, and theatres themselves demonstrating the cultural standards of a nation. The Estates Theatre was designed by Anton Haffenecker and built in a little less than two years for the aristocrat František Antonín Coun ...
Founded: 1783 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Wenceslas Square

Wenceslas Square is one of the main city squares and the centre of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague. Many historical events occurred there, and it is a traditional setting for demonstrations, celebrations, and other public gatherings. The square is named after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. It is part of the historic centre of Prague, a World Heritage Site. Less a square than ...
Founded: 1348 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Bethlehem Chapel

The Bethlehem Chapel is a medieval religious building in the Old Town of Prague, notable for its connection with the origins of the Bohemian Reformation, especially with the Czech reformer Jan Hus. It was founded in 1391 by Wenceslas Kriz and John of Milheim, and taught solely in the Czech vernacular, thus breaking with German domination of the Medieval Bohemian church. The building was never officially called a church, ...
Founded: 1391 | Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Sedlec Ossuary

The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel and one of twelve World Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic. The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have, in many cases, been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. The ossuary is among the most visited tourist attractions of the Czech Republic. Four enormous bell-shaped moun ...
Founded: 1278 | Location: Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

St. Barbara's Church

Saint Barbara"s Church is a Roman Catholic church in Kutná Hora. It is one of the most famous Gothic churches in central Europe and it is a UNESCO world heritage site. St Barbara is the patron saint of miners (among others), which was highly appropriate for a town whose wealth was based entirely upon its silver mines. Construction of the church began in 1388, but because work on the church was interrupted sev ...
Founded: 1388 | Location: Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

Brno Ossuary

Brno Ossuary is an underground ossuary. It was rediscovered in 2001 in the historical centre of the city, partially under the Church of St. James. It is estimated that the ossuary holds the remains of over 50 thousand people which makes it the second-largest ossuary in Europe, after the Catacombs of Paris. It's been opened to public since June 2012. A three-chamber crypt was established under the paved floor of St. James ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Brno, Czech Republic

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.