Dominican Monastery is the oldest gothic monument in České Budějovice. It consists of Church of Presentation of Virgin Mary and town fortifications. Today, the monastery belongs to the cultural heritage of the Czech Republic and there is placed the Artistic school.
The Dominican monastery in České Budějovice with the well-preserved Gothic cloister was built at the same time as the city. It was probably the first town building in the city of České Budějovice. The city was ranked among royal towns during the reign of king Ottokar II of Bohemia. The city was founded in 1265 by the Czech king Ottokar II of Bohemia. The monastery was founded probably a few years before by the same king.
The monastery was part of the town fortifications as was usual at that time. The monastery belonged to the order of Dominicans since its beginning. The cloister of monastery and the Church of Presentation of Virgin Mary are the only remains of the early gothic complex. Plans of the monastery were changed even during the construction in 13th century. The whole monastery complex was probably completed at the beginning of 14th century.
Numerous fires are the reason of a lot of reconstructions. The most devastating fire destroyed convent buildings in 1723. The monastery was abolished by Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor in 1785. Piarists took it over and they set up the dormitory. They were replaced by Redemptonstis in 1885 who rebuilt the monastery in Neogothic style and they left in 1949 because of the communism regime.
The exterior of monastery unlike the church is marked by numerous, mainly Baroque, reconstructions. Reconstructions are visible on the facade chiefly on the roof extension with noticeable baroque elliptic windows. Original gothic tower with the bulb dome was completely rebuilt in Baroque style except one Gothic window which remained on the first floor. All exterior portals are also Baroque apart from the Gothic one in the south-western part of the monastery´s wall. The arches of the cloister and the first floor towards the heavenly court are maintained in the Gothic style. The tracery of windows isn’t original; windows in two arches of cloister and neogothic extension in court have neogothic division. The first lanced arch consists of small saddle portal; tapered tracery with three and four-leaves, is decorated by another tracery in flamboyant style. The second tracery is divided by more dense net of spherical triangles and three and four-leaves. Narrow windows on the five-side extension in the court are divided into two parts and triangle with three-leaves.
The most significant interior architectural monument is the inner wall of cloister. On the wall of cloister there are visible wall-paintings, remains of former portals, niches and windows with preserved metal division which are wall up nowadays. Some parts which are surrounded by the arch and the bracket contain both the right window and the portal beside it. The rest of the field was decorated by wall-paintings.
Vault is cross like in the church and ribs have similar profile as the ribs in the church. Brackets in inner side of cloister are simply formed without decoration; we can also find atypical supports with vegetable motives. In the court direction the arc is supported by two columns with heads decorated by vegetable motives. In other corners pillars with undecorated heads step 10 cm in space. Each bay of the vault between ribs was decorated as well as walls. The most valuable wall-picture is located in the cloister and shows Holy Virgin, the patron of České Budějovice, who hides real figures of the emperor Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and his son Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia under the open coat. Painting dates back probably to 1378. Between 5th and 7 May in 1378 the emperor Charles IV with his 17-year-old son spent their time in the royal town České Budějovice where they were attending meeting with Czech aristocrats, ecclesiastics and the nobleman of the Holy Roman Empire.
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.