Tucked away among the spectacular landscapes of South Bohemia is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. This idyllic village has a charm and magic which can rival that of Europe’s tourist hotspots like Milan, Paris or Dubrovnik.
Granted, this tiny village of 140 inhabitants may not have the sheer flamboyance of a Milan or Paris. However, in terms of historical significance, it can offer a unique experience which cannot be got anywhere else in Europe.
The village is called Holašovice – a name most travelers to Europe have probably never heard of. Those lucky enough to have visited this treasure-trove have been pleasantly surprised, becharmed and delighted.
Holašovice has been in existence for over 800 years. What makes this village unique is that many of its buildings have been standing for most of its 800 years of existence. As such, it is considered one of the best preserved Baroque settlements in Europe.
Basically, visitors can get up-close and personal with a number of picturesque Baroque buildings, farms, a town square and even a foundry. Many of these have been in existence for centuries. This fact is what caused Holašovice to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1998.
Despite having historic buildings, Holašovice is no museum. It is a living, breathing village. The buildings and farms are all inhabited. The inhabitants seem frozen in time – living the traditional rural Bohemian way of life. This makes visiting the village akin to taking a time machine and getting teleported to the 17th or 18th century.
Visitors to the village can tour the ancient Bohemian buildings, explore the medieval-style stables or even check in on the local blacksmith. Those lucky to visit during one of the cultural events often organized by the locals can have a unique taste of Bohemian myth, mystery and lore.
The most popular cultural events organized in Holašovice are the Shrovetide festival (held in February), the Building of the Maypole (April) and the Rural Festival in July. These festivals offer a number of exciting experiences including colorful costumes, pulsating music and dance; as well as an overall atmosphere of mirth and celebration. The Rural Festival is renowned for its Old Bohemian Fair.
Holašovice’s excitements aren’t limited to its festivals. One of the village’s top attractions is what has been christened “the Holašovice Stonehenge”. This Celtic stone circle – erected on a raised ground above the village – is as mysterious, as it is invigorating.
Visitors to the stone circle often speak of a strong “presence” – an energy field which seems to encircle the place. Visiting the stone circle often leaves people in a mixture of awe and wonder – with a slight tinge of dread.
Those looking for a more mundane experience can visit the ceramics workshop and have an artistic cup, mug, jug or nameplate made for them. These artifacts make for great mementos to take home, especially as gifts for those who appreciate Bohemian art.
Holašovice is also within the range of Southern Bohemia’s other tourist attractions. Within a stone-throw of the village are two well-known Chzech chateaux, the Vltavou and Hluboká. Just beyond the village is the famous Český Krumlov chateau with its antique Baroque theatre.
Ultimately, Holašovice is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a truly unique cultural experience. Nowhere else in Europe can someone have a taste of medieval Bohemia. Therefore, if you are looking for a truly spectacular cultural experience, just pop into Holašovice. You will be glad you did.