You’ll find a surprising number of UNESCO-listed sites and traditions outside of Prague, as well as fewer tourists. To get you started, here are eight:
Brno’s Tugendhat Villa
Fritz and Grete Tugendhat and their children lived in this modernist villa designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1929. Open-plan family home with exotic woods, imported stone, and a feature Onyx wall was a wedding gift from Grete’s father who provided unlimited funds.
They were forced to flee to Switzerland after just eight years in the house because it was occupied by a Jewish family. When the Gestapo seized the villa, it was used for a variety of purposes, including a gym and a stable.
When the agreement to split Czechoslovakia was signed in 1992, this villa, now restored, served as the location for the signing ceremony.
Czechoslovakia: The Ride of the Kings
Initiation rituals and Whitsuntide processions go hand in hand in the UNESCO-designated Ride of the Kings, which has its origins in the Celtic period.
No one knows exactly why a young boy dressed as a girl rides a horse through the village holding a rose in his mouth, but he is known as the year’s King. His entourage carries rhyming jabs as a warning to anyone who dares stand in their way.
Vlnov hosts the world’s most popular bike ride in May.
The celebrations begin the night before with a sing-along and drink-along at the town’s local wine cellars, known as bdy.
Three places in Moravia:
Modrotisk, which means “blueprint” in Czech, is a method of indigo dyeing. A secret paste is applied to wooden blocks by craftspeople, some of which date back hundreds of years and are often passed down through generations. The paste blocks the indigo when stamped on white cotton, resulting in the patterns commonly seen on local folk costumes.
Gabriela Bartoková uses blocks her great-great-grandfather first used in 190 years ago at the Stránice Blueprint Workshop.
She claims that this UNESCO-recognized work is created “more with your heart than your hands
Puppetry has long been a part of Czech culture, and it was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016 for its role in preserving Czech traditions.
Crafted primarily from wood, Czech puppets can reach a height of up to a meter and are brought to life by trained actors. The UNESCO-designated historic town of esk Krumlov’s Marionette Museum offers a glimpse into the history of this Czech tradition.
The White Carpathians
In 1996, these low-altitude mountain meadows were designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve along the Slovakian border. A protected area of more than 71,000 hectares contains extensive orchid meadows and grasslands, as well as forests and orchards.
The White Carpathians are an ideal location for a leisurely stroll or a strenuous hike, thanks to their well-marked paths. Color-coded trail markers developed in the Czech Republic and used around the world will lead you to your destination.
Olomouc’s Holy Trinity Column
The early 18th century saw the construction of this 35-meter-tall column in the Moravian Baroque style. A single monument in Central Europe houses the largest collection of Baroque statues. It’s a testament to the town’s catholic faith that this monument was originally erected to express gratitude for the city’s survival from the plague.
The gilded cannonball can be found embedded in the wall. In 1758, local protests convinced Prussians to spare the column from destruction during a siege.
Kroma’s gardens and castle
To protect the castle’s 200-year-old floors, visitors must wear slippers provided by the site. With its 88,000-book library and Rococo dining room that can seat 2,000, it’s worth a visit. The opulent interiors were used as a stand-in for Salzburg in Amadeus’ interior palace shots.
Designed as a series of distinct green rooms, the Baroque garden is still very much as it was three hundred years ago. During the summer, 60,000 annuals put on a spectacular display of color.
Litomyl Castle, Poland
Sgraffiti-covered “envelopes” cover the exterior of this Renaissance-style castle, depicting various scenes. The castle theater, with its original French garden set, is one of the most fascinating of the many formal rooms in the castle.
Other important buildings in the complex include the former castle brewery, where Bedich Smetana was born and where he spent his formative years as a composer.