Domestic tourism of Czech historical landmarks is up due to the coronavirus, but the increase won’t be enough to cover the losses caused by the forced almost two-month closures earlier this year.
Castles and chateaux managed by the National Heritage Institute (NPÚ) were visited by 1.3 million people in July. This was 100,000 more than the same time last year and at the most in the past three years. The NPÚ oversees many Czech castles and historical sites but not all of them, as some are privately owned.
Despite the good July, the estimated the drop in revenues from the beginning of the year to the end of July is at 134 million CZK, according to the NPÚ.
“The assumption that people will prefer a holiday in the Czech Republic in the summer has been confirmed, and therefore an increased interest in Czech monuments can be expected. This July is the strongest in terms of attendance in the last three years, despite the fact that the number of visitors from abroad has decreased significantly,” NPÚ director Naďa Goryczková said.
“However, the fall in revenues will no longer be offset. We would like the trend of increased attendance to be maintained in August and we thank all fans of monuments for their support,” she added.
The NPÚ’s visitor season starts every year on April 1. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year the monuments did not open until May 25. The fall in revenues from the beginning of the year to the end of May amounted to almost 120 million CZK and continued in June when the monuments were in operation in a strict visitor regime and with limited-capacity tours.
By the end of June, financial losses had reached 138 million CZK. During July, the decline was reduced to the current 134 million crowns.
The total number of visitors from the beginning of this year to the end of July is 1.8 million people, which is 1.1 million fewer than in 2019.
The most visited monuments of this year are traditionally the chateaux at Lednice, Hluboká and Český Krumlov, while fourth and fifth place are taken by Karlštejn and Trosky castles.
Lednice and neighboring Valtice, which was in sixth place, are in the wine region of South Moravia. Both have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1996. Lednice is known for its neo-Gothic chateau as well as the surrounding landscape, laid out as an English garden with several small pavilions including in minaret.
Film goers will recognize Hluboká, in South Bohemia, from films like the Czech fairy tale The Proud Princess (Pyšná princezna) and Sleeping Beauty (Šípková Růženka), among others. It was also in the horror film Underworld: Blood Wars and action-comedy Shanghai Knights. It dates to the 13th century but was remodeled in the Romantic style in the 19th century.
Český Krumlov, in South Bohemia, has been on the UNESCO list since 1992. The chateau’s round tower is the dominant feature of the town, and the chateau itself boasts a unique functioning Baroque theater and Rococo garden. The 18th-century five-story bridge spanning a deep moat connects the upper castle with the theater and gardens.
Karlštejn is located in Central Bohemia, just south of Prague. The castle was built by Emperor Charles IV in the mid-1300s to, among other things, safeguard the imperial treasures. Its current look comes from a heavy-handed neo-Gothic renovation by architect Josef Mocker between 1887 and 1899, which ignored the original design. Some experts claim the poor restoration is the reason the castle has never made it onto the UNESCO list.
Trosky castle, in the Liberec region, is a gem for those willing to make the steep hike. The castle is on the summits of two basalt volcanic plugs. The lower peak has a two-story structure called Baba (Old Hag ), and the higher one has Panna (Maiden). During the Hussite Wars, the castle was a stronghold for the Catholic forces.
In the Pardubice region, the newly opened Slatiňany chateau, which has undergone a complete renovation, is also doing very well in terms of attendance. It saw 18,380 visitors in July, while last year in July it saw only 3,032 and for all of 2019 it saw 10,784.
In the year-on-year comparison for the period from the beginning of the year to the end of July, attendance at almost all monuments has decreased significantly.
Attendance was up, though, at Rožmberk, Žebrák, Krakovec, Rabí and Opočno, which improved by an average of 1,500 visitors year-on-year despite the coronavirus pandemic.
10 most-visited monuments in NPÚ care in July 2020
1. Lednice — 91,900 visitors
2. Hluboká — 67,900
3. Český Krumlov — 64,100
4. Karlštejn — 40,100
5. Trosky — 38,100
6. Valtice — 30,800
7. Bouzov — 27,600
8. Bítov — 26,600
9. Rabí — 26,500
10. Křivoklát — 26,400