B10 – Poděbrady Glassworks (upon request) & Kutná Hora (UNESCO SITE) & Český Šternberk Castle

Trip Length:  6.5 - 8 h according to your choice of sights  

Central Bohemia: Historic City  (UNESCO SITE), Glassworks & Castle

Tour description:

Poděbrady – Our first stop will be the glassworks in the spa-town of Poděbrady. Its products were well renowned during Austro-Hungarian times. Their lead crystal enables the creation of impressive engraved patterns that highlight the natural properties of crystal, such as is its clarity and high refraction of light. A visit to cutting workshops will further draw your attention as you observe the mastery of Czech glass cutters.

Then we proceed to Kutná Hora, a city that was the largest and most powerful in the Czech Kingdom in the 13th century. This was a time when one of the richest silver mines in Europe operated here. This exceptional development of the city also enabled the construction of the cathedral of St. Barbara, the patron saint of miners. Personally, the beauty of this daringly curved star vault never ceases to amaze me. Neither does the beauty of the surprisingly Art-Nouveau stained glass and medieval frescoes. Their authors sought inspiration not only in Biblical themes, but also in the everyday life of the miners, something absolutely unusual at the time. After our visit to the cathedral, we will explore this originally medieval city with its former Jesuit College that is now an important art gallery named GASK, as well as the St. Jacob church and the famous Italian Court.

Český Šternberk Castle – This more than 700-year-old castle towers over a rocky promontory, offering stunning views of the densely forested landscape of the Sázava River. Despite the turmoil the Czech crown lands experienced throughout the course of history, this castle remained within the ownership of the Šternberk family (whose name literally means lords of the Star Mountain) until today. That’s a lot to say in the historic context of our country! Its current owner, Zdeněk Šternberk, had the castle restituted to his family in 1992 after democracy returned to the Czech Republic. 

The tour takes us through fifteen halls that are richly decorated in the style of Baroque, Rococo, Empire and Biedermeier. As examples, take note of the Knights Hall with its many artifacts, the St. Sebastian chapel or the library with its thousands of volumes. The private study surprises visitors with its impressive genealogical tree painted as a fresco on the wall. It depicts 63 portraits covering 6 generations of Šternberks. Castle tours are available April through October.

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Thank you Jana for the excellent tour of Prague Castle and Jewish Quarter! You are the best! I enjoyed all the history you have shared. I also appreciate your flexibility during the lunch break. Thank you for being so gracious and hospitable! (Joseph D. Tariman; USA) * Thank you, Jana, for your wonderful history lessons. I wish I could remember all that you told us. You were a great guide. Best wishes. (Joan Welsh; Great Britain) * My wife and I made a a tailor made trip to Central Europe last Year that Prague Arts organized for Us. It was a wonderful experience. Everthing was excellent, more than expected. JANA was was either with Us or in close touch with Us to make sure everthing was going on as planned. (Jaime Benítez and Elvia, México) * On behalf of the Nursing Students of DePaul University, Chicago, we would like to thank-you for our wonderful guided tour through Prague Castle, Strahov Monastery, and the Jewish Quarter. You are so knowledgeable regarding so many areas: art, architecture, history, literature, and more-we learned so much! Likewise, we appreciated your advice on area restaurants and other exhibits, as well. We are most grateful for your expertise and can highly recommend you for other groups desiring a most competent and knowledgeable English-speaking guide.(Linda A. Graf, USA) * We also have just returned from a magical trip to Prague and having the use of Prague Arts Tour. Jana was an exceptional tour guide who made our trip to Prague all that more interesting and informative. After the tour we felt quite at home and we were able to explore the city with a firm understanding of the history of the city that we received from Jana. Prague Arts Tour and Jana are spot on. Thanks again Jana. (Margo and Guy from Canada) * Last September we toured the main cities of Central Europe with a bilingual group from Canada. During two weeks, Jana guided us through the different cities and buildings sharing with us her vast knowledge of art, history and daily life in her part of the world. We found her to be very professional at all times and eager to make sure everyone questions and worries were answered. She was flexible to the demands of the group and always tried to please everyone. She communicated clearly the daily activities in both languages and made us feel safe at all times. Jana's greatest asset is her love for her job and as a result she paints for you a picture of the beauty, opulence and the grandeur of these imperial cities. Her passion and professionalism made it all worthwhile. Thank you Jana. (Lise and Frank Loiocano; Canada)