Cesky Krumlov: the haunted town
Coordinates / 48.81056,14.31472
Country / Czech Republic
Region / Cesky Krumlov
Population / 13 347
The Earth is rich in places where time flows differently, legends come to life with the sunset and mysterious things happen. So we were lucky to find such a city «with a kind of devilry» that can reveal its secrets only to fearless fans of the enigma and mystery. It is obvious that the stories about witches, ghosts and treasure have been powdered by the dust of ages, spiced with a delicious glass of Czech beer and framed by medieval walls and cobbled pavements - are exactly why one needs to go to Cesky Krumlov.
Authoritative Wikipedia tells us that Cesky Krumlov is a city situated on the banks of the Vltava River on the edge of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic. Historians believe that the construction of the fortress city began in the first half of the 13th century, the obvious reason for the construction was a close proximity to the trade routes of Bohemia. The first owners of the fortress city were a family of feudal lords, Vitkovich of Krumlov, then paste down to Vitkovich of Rosenberg, the red rose being their family coat of arms ( which to this day remains the coat of arms of Cesky Krumlov). More recently Ferdinand II, followed by the Eggenbergs, then Schwarzenbergs up to the Second World War. Since the ninety nineties the city has come under the auspices of UNESCO, and thereby retained its authentic look.
Any blogger writing their travel notes will mention, the fabulous red tiled roofs, reminiscent of toy sets, where time has stopped in the Middle Ages, and every house and single stone has its own history. There are many entertaining dark stories to frighten the children. However, kids can wander through the narrow streets of the city without coming to any harm, because cars are not allowed and the only troublemakers are the old gnomes and the restless ghosts known by every self-respecting resident of Krumlov.
We decided to leave all the dates and historical information for historians and statisticians. Instead, we will acquaint our readers with the ghosts of the old town and tell some of the stories.
The mystery of «Latran» the old town
In the deepest Middle Ages, when Cesky Krumlov was not a castle nor a town and only dark forests covered the banks of the Vltava River. The trade route from Austria to Czech passed through this place. A gang of robbers and murderers ruled, they called themselves «Lotri». And so «Lotri» continued to rob every merchant, who passing through on the local forest roads. Until a brave «Vitek» dared to track down and destroyed the robber’s nest. When the worthless thugs were defeated, the knight Vitek built the impregnable castle of Krumlov, which became the guardian of the fortress around the Vltava River. Since then, the longest road in the old town has borne the name «Latran», derived from «Lotri». This is just an example of one of the many explanations for the naming of the old town.
The story of a priest and the devil.
Once, the richest man of Krumlov, began to loose his youth, and with it the calm and serene night’s sleep. Soon, he decided to reveal the secret of his pain to his wife. It transpired that the money that the rich man received in one single night, turned out to be a payment for his soul, which he promised to the devil at the end of his life. The wife of the rich man, in dismay, went for advise to the priest. But the priest had a huge majestic power, he was able to cast out the devil, and to call angels. Therefore, summoning the devil with a single word, the powerful priest demanded the contract and read it aloud. However, in a fit of terror before his Eminence, the devil mixed agreements confusingly and he gave the priest the wrong one, which belonged to another citizen. The priest withdrew tearing both contracts up and thus saving the lives of two residents of the city with just one gesture.
The zealous butler
In ancient times, one of the caretakers of the Cesky Krumlov castle would often visit the wine cellar to inspect and check the vine for its excellent flavour and aroma. This man did his job with such meticulous dedication that even after his death, he can be seen among the wine barrels continuing his favourite pastime.
The White Lady
In the 15th century, a noble lady called Perhta von Rosenberg lived in the castle, known to many as the «White Lady». Her father, Ulrich II von Rosenberg, despite the resistance of his daughter, married her to Moravian lord Jan von Lechtenstein, having a nasty temper, he treated his wife extremely badly. However, on his deathbed, he repented and asked his wife for forgiveness for the suffering he had caused to her. However, she refused to forgive him, whereupon he placed a curse on her. Since then, Perhta’s soul has wandered the dark corridors of the castle and cannot find peace. It is said that, the White Lady appeares before a significant events. In her hand she holds a glove, a black glove foretells misfortune, and a white - joy and prosperity. Many legends about the White Lady can be heard not only in Cesky Krumlov, but also in the entire Czech Republic.
Namesti Svoronosti - The plague pillar in the middle of the town square.
During the times of the church’s struggle with heretics and dissidents, in the main square, where now stands a plague pillar, a merciless fire would range, consuming the unfortunate «witches» executed by the Holy Inquisition. Their curses and insults would often be heard here.
Namesti Svoronosti 9. The silly debater.
Once there was an inn «At Undel». It was a very cosy place, where people came after a successful days trade for a glass or two of beer. One day, two men were arguing as to who could drink two steins of beer the quickest the prize being a cow. However, the winner as lucky as he was, was unable to enjoy his win, as he died the same night. After his death he would appear to the owner of the inn as a ghost, blaming him for his own stupidity. Only after praying for the soul of the deceased victor at St. Vitus church was the innkeeper able to get a peaceful night's sleep.
Panska 20. The cunning landlord
The building on Panska street has a very bad reputation. All because the evil landlord who lived here, he ill-treated his employees and had a violent temper. His wealth was not enough for him and so he decided to sell his soul to the devil in return for power and authority. When the time came to settle up, he decided to cheat and delay the time of reckoning. One day, he drew crosses on all the doors and windows in his house, so that the devil could not enter. He forgot to mark a small lavatory window, through which the devil entered and dragged him straight to the hell, tearing his skin and severely disfiguring his body. To this day, the ghost of the evil landlord appears in the city. The moral being bargaining with the evil spirit can only end badly.
Panenska 38. The street of chaste women.
A brothel once existed here. In the old days, the men checked their brides and wives for honesty and integrity, taking them trough the street near the house. If the woman blushed, then the man had a very persuasive reason to doubt her honesty and righteousness. Who knows whether this ritual works or not but nowadays women, who know this story are reluctant to walk the same street for fear of incriminating themselves.
Siroka 77. The enterprising crook.
An alchemist lived in this house, he served in the court under William and Peter Rosenbergs. His name was Antonin Michael of Ebbersbach. Claiming himself to be the greatest alchemist and scientist, in fact, he was a simple fool and fraud. He invented many ways of fooling the citizens such as: growing golden coins, from a single ducat by putting it in the earth like a seed and watering in a special way "known only to him personally", another being selling the elixir of youth and longevity to the naive victims. According to the legend, Michael was sent to prison, where he ended his life. But it is not true, he was arrested, and released and died at home and buried in the courtyard of the monastery, honoured as an aristocrat. Now, the ghost of Anthonin Michael often walks up the stairs and around the house singing songs.
The church of St. Vitus in Cesky Krumlov. The sleeping vicar.
There are a lot of legends about this church. One of them is about a local vicar who fell asleep in the confessional box, and did not notice how the congregation had dispersed, the doors closed and bolted. It was a midnight, when the poor curate woke up and saw a congregation of ghosts attending service. The next morning he woke to find that he now had a white head of hair.
Kostelni 161. The haunted house.
People visiting the music school, feel the presence of a crowd, even when there are almost no people present. This house is literally filled with ghosts. Previously, a Jesuit school was here. Once, a local teacher lost his temper and bit his pupil to death with a wooden pointer. Parents of the student cursed the teacher and a year later he died. And since then, all ghosts in the district flock to this house.
Latran 1. The unhappy Markita.
In the early 17th century, this building served as the public bath. A beautiful girl named Markita Pihlerova, the bathhouse attendant's daughter was born here. She became famous for being loved by the mentally ill Julius of Austria, son of Rudolf II. He was so moved by her beauty, that he took her to live in his castle, unfortunately his psychological problem separated the couple. One day, Markita was found barely alive beaten and disfigured by Julius on the rubbish heap under the castle. Markita’s parents managed to resuscitate their daughter but were forced to return her to the castle. Unfortunately, she fell victim to Julius’s schizophrenia. The citizens of the city were so incensed by the events, Rudolf II had to lock his son in the same room in the castle, where the murder took place.
Latran 6. The devil’s church.
This house is a former church. Once strange things, happened here. People have heard footsteps and devilish laughter on the stairs to the church’s tower. Rumour has it that the devil personally chose this location to conduct his mass. After the church closed, a musician who had played the organ here, missed his job so much so, that he pined away and died. Now, he can sometimes be seen weeping in the shadows.
Latran 39. A mysterious woman in mourning.
The magistrate of the city lived in this house. One day, a woman knocked at his door, dressed in black, with her face hidden by a black veil. She told the magistrate’s wife that her name was Lidmila and she had nowhere to go. The owners of the house allowed her to live with them because Lidmila was sweet and able to look after the children. The magistrate’s family became fond of her. When Lidmila passed away, she left a large sum of money to the owners of the house. But no one ever saw her face, knew of her past and even her name was doubted. To this day, we only know that Lidmila’s ghost can be seen walking through the streets of the neighbourhood.
Latran 67. The divine Margaret.
This house is in the St. Claire Monastery area. A charming nun, called Margaret lived here. She treated patients during an epidemic of the plague in the 16th century. She facilitated the life of the seriously ill people and knew how to blend miraculous teas and medicines by mixing herbs. People were very fond of Margaret because of her kindness and caring nature. On Margaret’s deathbed, she promised to help the monastery and the people after her death, and so it happened. Legend states, that the ghost of Margaret will appear beside the bed of seriously ill patients and her appearance will herald a speedy recovery.
So many amazing stories are passed from mouth to mouth in Cesky Krumlov. Most of them can be heard in the different interpretations from the local guides. After all, such kinds of tours are very popular among the tourists who come here.
While in Cesky Krumlov, do not be surprised to be approached by a gnome asking: "Is it your gold?", holding a heavy ingot in his hand. Do not accept it, instead tell him to take it back to where he got it. This ensuring good fortune.