The countryside you'll see on a drive down to Cesky Krumlov makes the trip worth the gas money. Roll over the hillsides along the E-55 highway - some are bright green with grass, others are golden canola fields that stretch for miles. The views make the three hour trip pass quickly, and give you high expectations when you pull into the old South Bohemian town. Expectations that the town exceeds.
The small, picturesque town of Ceska Kamenice is situated in northern Bohemia, about 105 km away from Prague. It is a late gothic town on the river Kamenice, where three protected landscapes - the Lusatian Mountains, Czech Switzerland and the Bohemian Central Highlands - meet. Despite its modest population of 5,500, the town has 34 monuments, the care of which earned it the title "Historic Town of the Year" for 2005.
It's not often you get the chance to talk about history with those who participated in it. But recently while covering a festival of Jewish culture in the south Moravian town of Mikulov, I had that chance. The festival marked the 70th anniversary of the foundation of Mikulov's Jewish museum for Moravia and Silesia, which was closed when the Nazis arrived in 1938. Among the guests was William Teltscher, son of the museum's founder Richard Teltscher. William Teltscher fled the Nazis in 1938 and emigrated to London, where he's lived ever since. Now
The North Bohemian town of Litomerice has long enjoyed the reputation of being one of the Czech Republic's most beautiful sites. Founded roughly 1,000 years ago, Litomerice lies in one of the Czech Republic's hilliest ranges on the confluence of the Elbe and Ohre Rivers. The town's beginnings were originally a Slavonic fort overseeing a number of small municipalities, later replaced by a castle and emerging town in the 11th century.
Every year the Association of Historic Towns and Villages in the Czech Republic holds a competition, to award the town it feels has done most to preserve its architectural heritage. Dozens of towns traditionally take part but only one can win the prize which includes a cheque for 1,000, 000 crowns (around 43,000 US dollars). This year the award went to north Bohemia's Ceska Kamenice.
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