Throw open the doors: Czechia’s tourist season begins April 1
Czechia’s main tourist season starts on April 1, with the country’s myriad castles and chateaux opening their doors to visitors. The National Heritage Institute which manages around 1,000 sites of cultural and historical interest in the Czech Republic also has some novelties in store – new sightseeing routes, exhibitions and a number of themed events.
If you had to pick one thing Czechia can be proud of, it might well be the hundreds of stunning castles and chateaux dotted about the country. These are often the destination for Czechs going on ‘výlety’ or excursions – on the whole, Czechs are great explorers of their own land, and this trend only increased during covid, according to Czech Tourism figures. While foreign tourists visit some of the better-known sites, many are neglected.
But if you are feeling adventurous, there is plenty to entice the hiker and history-lover this year. For 2023, the Czech National Heritage Institute has been busy preparing a number of new routes, exhibitions and events. Five major restorations supported by EU funds have been completed on national heritage sites which are now open to the public, one of which is the Kladruby Monastery in west Bohemia.
The monastery has recently completed the largest reconstruction in its modern history, with three new tours open from 1 April. The first tour will give an insight into the everyday life of the monks in the baroque Benedictine monastery: their accommodation, meals, spiritual life, work and rest, as visitors are guided around the restored parts of the new and old convent, the courtyard, and the original interior of the Baroque Gothic Church of the Assumption.
The second tour presents the history of the famous aristocratic Windischgrätz family via rooms dedicated to the family and their use of the former monastic estate, and also includes the original interior of the princely library from the first half of the 20th century.
The third circuit is dedicated to Jan Blažej Santini Aichel, the architect behind the monastery’s Church of the Assumption, presenting the church and the architect in depth. 2023 is the 300th anniversary of his death, so there will also be other events commemorating him, as well as events around the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the National Heritage Institute itself.
As well as new tours, many castles and chateaux are preparing a themed program for Easter from April 7 to 10. Traditional popular events such as Castle Night on August 26 are also in the programme, with national heritage sites also set to open during the Night of the Churches, Open Gardens Weekend, European Heritage Days, and at the end of the year as part of the traditional Castle Advent event.