Český Krumlov (literally means Czech Krumlov) is a unique architectural jewel whose importance is underlined by its inclusion in the UNESCO list of the World Heritage sites in 1992. Cesky Krumlov is one of Bohemia's most beautiful towns, with a well protected historical centre. The city's castle is the second largest in the Czech Republic (after the Prague Castle) and it dominates the town from a hill overlooking the Vltava River.
It was known as Krumau until after WW II when the German-speaking population was evicted. Construction of the town and castle began in the late 13th century at a ford in the Vltava River which was important in trade routes. Most of the architecture of the old town and castle region dates from the 14th century through 17th century, structures are in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. Above the meanders of the Vltava River, a unique complex of municipal housing developed, mainly in the 16th century, along with an extensive castle and chateau complex. The core of the old town is within a horseshoe bend of the river, with the old Latran neighborhood and castle on the other side of the Vltava.
The historical seat of the Rosenberg family includes a variety of chateau buildings, the famous Hall of Masks, a unique Baroque theater, a chateau garden with a Rococo fountain and the summer residence Bellaria with a revolving auditorium, where seasonal theater performances take place. The whole downtown area is cleared of traffic and turned into a 'medieval' town again with craftsmen, artists, musicians, and local people dressed in costumes ranging anywhere from peasants to members of the court and nobility. Various activities such as jousting, fencing, historical dance performances, and folk theatre plays take place all over the town including the castle, the local park, and the river bank.
The Cathedral of St. Vitus, a valuable architectural work of the Czech Gothic style, is a significant feature of the town.
Numerous cultural activities contribute to the lively atmosphere of the town, among them the International Music Festival, the Old Music Festival, exhibitions at the Egon Schiele Center, and the Five-Petalled Rose Festival (the rose was a symbol of the Rosenberg family).