After passing through the 1st courtyard, it was time to cross the Moat where the Bear pit is.
On the Coat-of-arms, two Bears are shown as shield-bearers. The Rosenberg family legend states they were related to the noble Italian family of Orsini. "Orsa" means she-bear in Italian.
Bear keeping dates back to the 16th century, when Wilhelm von Rosenberg kept Bears.
It is believed they were not kept in the pit I saw, as this was built later. Bears were first kept in this pit in 1707.
Bears have been born at the Castle, some have come from zoos, and others donated by aristocrats.
In 1907, Prince Sigmund Schonburg-Waldenburg gave the Schwarzenbergs a gift of two female bears called Ruschi and Ajax. The first bear lived until 1930, the other until 1935.
I saw two Bears in this Moat, and felt it was a very sorry sight. I DID NOT LIKE IT AT ALL!
I could see the poor Bears were terribly bored, just walking around and around in circles. I do wish they would give them a good life somewhere else. They were in good condition, but not living the life of a Bear.
In this day and age, it was sad to see such a sad sight.
The 2nd courtyard of the Castle, and located here is the Little Castle with tower, New Burgrave's House, Mint and Dairy. The courtyard appearance is what it would have looked like back in 1640, while in the Middle Ages the courtyard consisted of few buildings creating a fortification between the Lower and Upper Castle.
Located in the middle is a Fountain. This isn't the original fountain, nor is it located where the original once stood at the corner by the Castle Mint building.
This Fountain was built in 1996 with some of the original stone slabs. People were enjoying the water on quite a warm day in Cesky Krumlov!
I really thought this was a beautiful Tower!
The Tower is six stories high, and is surrounded by the residential palace of the Little Castle.
The lower part is wider than the upper, and the whole facade is painted. The Belfry is located on the 4th floor where four bells are located, and on the 6th floor, is the Clock. At the very top of the Tower is a Lantern with bells. The Tower is from the 13th century, and is a bit of a mix of Gothic and Renaissance styling.
In 1994 - 96 the paintings and murals on the facade were restored, so now they look lovely.
THE TOWER IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
Climb is 162 steps.
OPEN....Hours and days vary, so please check the listed website for details.
Prices vary also.
If you enter the Castle complex from Latran, then you will pass through the Red Gates like I did.
Not much originality in naming the gate, as Red Gate referred to the colour of its paint. The upper part of the gate with the Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms, partly represents the original gate dated from 1861. The wings of the gate and other details were reconstructed in 1988.
The building in my photo is the 'Salt House," which was used for storing grain and horse feed.
It was in the 18th century the building changed function, as a new salt trade route led through Krumlov, so the ground floor of this building was used for storage space.
The house is supposedly haunted!
It is said that two guards who used to watch over the salt here often played dice. One of them, always used to win, and the other, nearly always lost. Sick of this, he decided to take revenge and picked a fight with the other Guard. It was so vicious, that neither of them lived! Today you can sometimes hear the sounds of a fight, enraged voices, and sighs of the dying.
On the ground floor is the Unios Tourist Service and Internet Cafe.
This Castle is located on a rocky promontory, sculpted by the Vltava river and Polecnice stream. The Castle dates back to 1240, contains 40 buildings and palaces situated around 5 castle courts and a castle park, making it one of the largest Castles in Europe.
Entry is free to stroll around the gardens and courtyards, if you want to visit the inside, then this can be done on a tour.
The Castle is open from....Tuesday to Sunday, mainly from 9 - 5pm
Check this website for more details as there are a lot of different prices and tours.
One of the Organs dates to 1716, and used to stand in St. Jost Church in Cesky Krumlov which is closed these days, so now it is here!
The Organ is decorated with Baroque patterns with several shades of marble, and its decoration is polished white, it's quite elaborate!
Also, when you enter the Church, have a look at the Door and door handle, I just love those old style locks!
The St. Vitus Church is quite beautiful inside! Outside, the tall Church spire can be seen from most parts of the City, this isn't the original, but a replacement of the Onion shaped Baroque Tower.
This Parish was established in 1317 in a smaller Church, how-ever the congregation grew and the new larger Church was built, financed a large part by public donations, was completed after the Hussite Wars and consecrated in 1439.
The main altar has a painting of St. Vitus and the Virgin Mary dating to 1673-1683, this has been repainted over in 1897.
The side Altars have an interesting story........Each Altar represented individual craft brotherhoods living in the town, so there was an altar of tailors, shoemakers, butchers, bakers of white or dark breads, stone masons, cooks and of course, a brotherhood of brewmasters.
The frescos on the wall next to the St. Jan of Nepomuk chapel, are dated to the first half of the 15th century and depict the scenes of the Crucifixion, St. Veronica, St. Elizabeth, St. Magdalena and St. Catherine.
Another building I liked in the Town Square, was no.14, with dates before 1800, and is a classical styled two story building, also with a bay in the front facade.
Located on the front facade is a mural of St. Jan of Nepomuk. I just thought it was nicely decorated, and if you go to Soucenicka Street, you will see the wall decorated with sgrafitto.
The original Gothic foundation of this building dates from the 14th century. During the 1500's, the building was reconstructed, the arcade was created, the sgrafitto work on the facade was added, some of the interior rooms were decorated with themes from ancient mythology, one of the rooms is known as the "Pink Salon."
It is presently used as....
Hotel The Old Inn, Restaurant - Alehouse Katakomby, Restaurant Lab, Tanya - jewellery
Next we walk down Panska street which is lined with many noted historic buildings.
My favorite here was no 22, a building built during the Gothic period.
Since then, the original plaster design was changed during the Baroque-Classicism period.
The building dates to 1459 and over the years has had many owners including a Stone Mason, Architect, Burgess, Merchant, Councillor, Tailor, Draper, and the owner of the town brewery between 1781 - 1800, and still more after this date!
It is now used as a Bank.
At The Blue Horse, funny name for a building that is painted green!
It's one of the many buildings that are of interest in the Town Square.
This building dates to the Gothic period, from the beginning of the 14th century. Reconstruction work was completed in the Renaissance period, between 1552-1589, and it was during this period that the richly painted decorative work was added to the front facade.
What I liked, was the bay on the front facade of the building
Stop and have a look at the Renaissance painted murals with a horse motif, and the marble wall basin from the late Gothic period in the cafe on the ground floor.
There are several references to Horses that relate to this building. When the Tluk family lived here in 1568, there was a large fire which burned the stalls in the back of the house, during which Jan Tluk lost two horses.
In 1625, the Inn "At the Blue Horse" was located in this building, where according to records from 1654, they brewed beer and served both beer and wine, and in 1821, it was used as a Brandy Distillery.
The green building in my photo is "At the Blue Horse."
A walk around the Town Square revealed many different styles of buildings, painted in many different colours.
Located here is the Plague Column in the upper part of the Square. The column is surrounded by a six-sided fountain that was erected between 1714-1716 in memory of the plague epidemic that struck the town during 1680-1682. The sculptures are of anti-plague saints and town protectors. Sculptures of St. Vaclav, St. Vitus, St. John the Evangelist, St. Juda Thaddeus in the upper row, and St. Francis Xavier, St. Sebastian, St. Kajetan and St. Rocchus in the lower row are the masterpieces of a Prague sculptor, as well as a sculpture of the Virgin Mary situated on top of the column.
The Town Hall is a single story renaissance building that sits on the corner of the town square.
In the front of the building, on the ground floor, there is an arcade of six pointed arches, and its here, on the far right side wall, a ceramic map of Cesky Krumlov is located.
In the second half of the 16th century, the two or more separate Gothic buildings (the original town hall and a burgher´s home) that stood next to each other, were joined together to make it what I saw today.
It was during reconstruction in 1924, that the arcade that had been formerly enclosed, was opened up and the emblems on the front facade were revealed.
We are now in the old town, and straight away a Museum catches my eye!
It is the Puppet Museum.
Back in the medieval ages, Czech puppets were used to tell stories and entertain crowds around Central Europe, then at the beginning of the 19th century, Czech puppetry developed into an art form. Much care and detail were put into the faces of Czech puppets created during the Baroque period.
I went inside the tiny building, and inside was a most impressive display of historic Czech puppets, both string and rod, mostly dating from the late 19th and 20th centuries. I have never seen such an array of puppets, with so much detail in each and every one, I loved them!
There were animals, monsters, birds, houses and planes, what ever you can think of, there was a Puppet! Would you believe there are 300 Puppets at the Museum!
The trouble for me here, was a large tour group of young school children making the shop pretty crammed.
The admission ticket (100 Kc) includes a guided tour, including the souvenir and puppet show watching area and a room full of different types of puppets. It's a chance to find our about the art and mechanics of puppetry.
OPEN 10 - 6PM
After spending some time watching the canoeists, it was then time to head across the nearby bridge and into the old Town.
Now, if you want some good, unobstructed views of the Castle, then find this Bridge, because I thought it was a pretty good spot for photography!
After emerging from the Viaduct, the path led us to the River Vltava and the Old Town.
The Vltava River snakes through the town, so you will find the Old town in the centre of the horseshoe bend in the river, and the old Latran neighborhood and castle on the other side.
I was enjoying viewing the Ford, for here were a group of students trying to negotiate the Ford in Canoes. It was fun watching them, only a couple of girls in a canoe ended upside down and very wet!