Well, spring is truly here, and Sunday saw the official opening of the tourist season in the Czech Republic. After a hiatus during the long, cold winter, the country's chateaux and castles will finally throw open their doors to visitors from both this country and around the world. Kveta Krizova is from the state body responsible for the preservation of historic monuments, and earlier she told Radio Prague why Czech cultural landmarks drew millions of tourists to the country each year.
"We are a very rich country. We have more than 2,000 castles and village houses. Each of them also has a nice collection of art."
Opočno chateau|Photo: Pavla Horáková, Radio Prague International
Each of the Czech Republic's 14 new regions receives a grant from the Ministry of Culture for the maintenance of local castles. Ms Krizova noted, however, that financial problems remained a challenge to keeping historic monuments in shape.
"We have many problems. We need very much money for reconstruction, not only for the architectural foundations of these castles but also for reconstruction and renovation of parts of our collections of pictures and old furniture. Sometimes they're [in a very bad shape]".
Litomyšl Castle, photo: Zdeňka Kuchyňová
There are hundreds of concerts and festivals planned at castles and chateaux throughout 2001, but Ms Krizova personally recommended visiting the new exhibition at Litomysl Castle.
"I can recommend visiting a castle which is both a UNESCO and a national monument: Litomysl Castle. In Litomysl you can see a new arrangement of interiors from the 18th century and there is a very nice collection of pictures."