Wonders of the Czech Republic
Beautiful Architecture – Stunning Landscapes
For nearly 400 years, the Austrian Habsburgs ruled the Czech lands called Bohemia until following the collapse of Austria-Hungary after World War I the region became a Republic in the 19th century. The legacy of the Habsburg rule in so many European countries includes stunning architecture and tasty cuisine. We especially owe fantastic desserts to the Habsburg sweet tooth. The communist rule that followed ended in 1989 with the Velvet Revolution and restored the country’s democracy.
A few interesting facts:
The Czech Republic, also known as Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe and borders Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the southeast, and Austria to the south. In fact, when we travel in the southeast of the country and photograph the beautiful rolling hills of Moravia, we’re closer to Vienna than to Prague.
The Czech Republic is now a parliamentary republic with an advanced high-income social market economy and follows the European social model of universal health care and free-tuition university education.
From The Lonely Planet travel site, we learn that:
“Since the fall of communism in 1989, the Czech Republic – and its capital in particular – has evolved into one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations.”
And rightfully so. As nature and architectural photographers, we love this beautiful and versatile country. For many years, we’ve been taking our clients on photo tours to the photogenic Czech Republic. The timing of our Czech Republic & Prague Photo Tour is scheduled to coincide with the intense spring green of the rolling wheat fields and the golden bloom of the canola fields of Southern Moravia in April. This countryside resembles the popular rolling wheat fields of the Palouse in America’s Washington State except it’s a bit steeper which allows us to capture excellent graphic compositions. Combine this with three nights in Prague, one of Europe’s most magical cities (its stunning medieval inner city remained unharmed during the second world war), and two days based out of Bohemia’s fairytale medieval town of Česky Kumlov and you have the makings of a very thrilling photo adventure.
We hope that these images will inspire your own travels and photography. And if you want to travel in the company of like-minded photo enthusiasts, have transportation and accommodations all arranged for you, and learn a few new photographic skills from 2 award-winning professionals, we’d love to have you join us in 2024. Enrollment is now open.
Beautiful Medieval Prague
Prague is also called The City of 100 Spires. It was spared the bombings and destruction so many other European cities had to endure. We have a great view of the Old Town Square with its original medieval buildings from the Old Town Hall Tower with its famous astronomical clock. The river Vltava runs through Prague and the Charles Bridge is the most famous of 18 bridges spanning it.
BTW, the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana wrote a beautiful symphonic poem that follows the flow of the Vltava River (the Moldau in German) from its source as a small creek in the mountains of the Bohemian Forest, as it grows and gathers strength through the Czech countryside, until it arrives in full force and majestic beauty in the city of Prague. You can listen to this stunning piece directed by Herbert von Karajan on Youtube here. »
Prague has the largest castle complex in Europe with a magnificent cathedral and many grand historic buildings but also small cobblestone streets and you can also find many well-preserved beautiful Art Deco and Art Nouveau buildings. At the House of the Black Madonna, we love to photograph a very graphic interior staircase which takes a bit of contorting to get the composition just right. If you visit this building in the Old Town, make sure you also get a treat at the lovely period Café on the first floor.
Charming Kutna Hora
Years ago, we found Kutna Hora to be post-war and post-communist era gray and depressing. This small city made a remarkable recovery over the past 10 years or so, digging down to its lovely medieval, renaissance, and baroque bones and giving them a coat of pastel paint and new life. Cute Hora is only a 30-minute drive from Prague and well worth a visit. Especially the beautiful Santa Barbra church with its vanilla cream-colored interior and sculptural staircase. We photograph the staircase lying down on the marble floor and shooting straight up when nobody is looking.
The Rolling Hills of Moravia
Similar to Washington State’s Palouse area, these hills are aglow with bright green spring wheat and miles of golden canola fields in full bloom. The “Ribbons” are a specific photo location that we found by following a local’s directions: “Take a right at the junkyard and a left at the dung heap.” And sure enough!
Telč – A stunning UNESCO World Heritage Town
The main square of this town has the unreal feel of the gorgeous stage setting for a Mozart opera. The Renaissance buildings circling the main square have been lovingly restored and glow in many shades of pastel colors. We watch our photo tour participants enter the square and pause in amazement at the first view of this stunning square.
Romantic Česky Kumlov
The Vltava, the same river that flows through Prague, circles the medieval center of this charming town in an unlikely horseshoe shape. The town has the second-largest impressive castle district after Prague and is home to many creatives and artists. Strolling through the narrow lanes, we find beautiful architectural details.