The landscape of South-Bohemian monasteries
South Bohemia is a land of monasteries; many of them gained spiritual importance and underwent constructional improvements under the reign of Emperor Charles IV. Look for peace and tranquillity under their Gothic vaults, search for mysterious places in their surroundings and taste traditional South-Bohemian cuisine with many specialities, such as the delicious Třeboň fish soup, mushroom pate, potato pancakes called “cmunda”, and of course “kulajda” - a creamy soup made of potatoes, mushrooms and dill. The towns of České Budějovice and Vyšší Brod make up a perfect combination for travellers who like to visit busy cities as well as peaceful rural areas.
Would you like to visit a perfect cultural landscape and find peace for both your body and mind? Then South Bohemia is the right place for you. In this region of European Christian tradition, there are dozens of monasteries, many of them still inhabited by monks today. In the silent monuments of Gothic architecture, you can simply meditate or you may like to admire the unique works of art. Undoubtedly you will be pleasantly surprised by the local cuisine and beer.
In the Dominican Monastery of České Budějovice, you may be able to visualise Emperor Charles IV and his son Wenceslas IV who walked through the arcades of its Gothic hall in 1378. The city of České Budějovice, centre of South Bohemia, is an ideal starting point for trips to monasteries scattered all around the region. Zlatá Koruna is a Cistercian monastery founded by Czech Kings. The monks do not live there any longer, but the tradition of worshiping a thorn from Jesus’s crown has survived for centuries. Another Cistercian abbey in Vyšší Brod is still the residence of monks and you may visit their unique library, the gallery of Gothic paintings or attend a mass held in the monastery church.
One exclusive destination is the former combined monastery of the Minorites and Poor Clares in Český Krumlov, founded during the reign of Charles IV in 1350. It used to be the centre of a feast during which holy relics were shown, this was inspired by a similar event held in Prague that was also initiated by Charles IV. Today it is in the possession of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star.
A little further from České Budějovice, lies the town of Třeboň, the centre of Czech fish farming famous for its castle and artificial lakes. There is also the Augustinian Monastery founded in 1367 by the Rosenberg family, which has conserved its Gothic beauty up to the present day.
You certainly should not miss the town of Písek with its beautiful Gothic bridge leading to the castle, another favourite place of Chares IV, and to the Renaissance Dominican Monastery with its church, which today belongs to the Czech congregation founded by the priest Václav Petr. We must not forget the town of Strakonice with its unique Gothic castle that used to be the most important Czech centre of the Military Order of Malta.