The richly decorated Renaissance chateau which is included in the UNESCO List, the historical centre full of colourful town houses, one of the oldest chateau theatres in Europe and the birthplace of the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana. This is Litomyšl, a city whose cultural significance surpasses the borders of the Czech Republic. So why not set out to get to know the story of a city which will delight your eyes and ears.
The city’s greatest boast is without a doubt the Renaissance Chateau with its sgrafitto decoration, which is one of the most beautiful monuments in this style north of the Alps. The monastery gardens with a fountain quietly sounding out to the strains of classical music and a collection of five statues by the eminent Czech sculptor of the 20th century, Olbram Zoubek, can be found not far from the chateau in Litomyšl. Don’t forget to stroke the Bronze replica of a fossilised fish in the garden, as according to legend this will make your secret wish come true.
Harmony of history and the modern
Whilst wandering around Litomyšl, make sure to visit the Portmoneum here, where you can immerse yourself in the picturesque world of colours and shapes on the walls and furniture of the art lover Josef Portman. Engage your fantasy and look for mythical creatures here, illustrations of angels and devils, heavenly bodies or allow yourself to be enlightened by quotes from Hindu texts. Litomyšl does not however only live through legacies from the past, but also through buildings constructed in the style of modern architecture, which sensitively fit into the historical centre. You can for example view the building of the Chateau Brewery or the New Church of the Bohemian Brotherhood.
Celebration of music and good food
If you would like to indulge yourself in a truly top-class cultural experience, visit Litomyšl at the end of June and start of July. At this time, the city pays homage to its most famous native, the composer Bedřich Smetana, by holding the Smetana’s Litomyšl opera festival. Concerts held, among other locations, in the chateau courtyard with its superb acoustics, in the middle of enchanting arcades of sgrafitto-decorated walls, are an unforgettable experience. You can delight your taste buds during the gastronomic celebrations held in May, these being held in honour of Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová, the most famous Czech cookery book writer.
What else to visit?
You don’t have to only stay in Litomyšl. Get to know the surrounding area too. The Orlické Mountains, with their highest peak Velká Deštná, are a popular destination among hikers and cyclists. You can also climb to the top of Kralický Sněžník, which a main European watershed passes through. Make sure to also take in Hradec Králové, a city which has been labelled the Salon of the Republic due to its magnificence.