The Křivoklát Castle is an attractive tourist destination; it was founded at the beginning of the 12th century by Prince Vladislav, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.Prague - Malá Strana, Vltava River, and Charles Bridge, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.Prague towards the northwest, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.The beauty of the countryside, known as Bohemian Paradise, has enchanted many artists, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.Český Šternberk Castle, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.Koněprusy Caves, the largest cave system in Bohemia, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.Mělník Chateau and tower of the Church of St. Peter and Paul as seen from the historic locks in Hořín, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.
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Central Bohemia - Mladá Boleslav area

The Mladá Boleslav area today is one of the economically most vibrant areas of the country. In the past, settlements were mostly on the initiative of the nobility. The Romanesque churches in Mohelnice nad Jizerou (12th century) and in Vince near Mladá Boleslav (12-13th century) heralded the future in their own monumentality as well as in their significance for the development of art in all Bohemia, future prosperity, and their role in the region. Former noble Gothic castles are now romantic ruins (Valečov, Zvířetice, Michalovice and Dražice), but were never true centres of the area.

Mladá Boleslav

The Mladá Boleslav Castle (today a museum) has its foundations in the 12th century. Its original Gothic core gave way to a Renaissance reconstruction in the 16th century, which is the most visible today, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.The main centre of the region from the 13th century was the city of Mladá Boleslav. The humanist Bohuslav Hasištejnský of Lobkowicz (1595) allowed his burghers to purchase their freedom. The prosperity of the time is reflected in a number of preserved Renaissance houses, the Town Hall (1554- 159), the Protestant Church of the Czech Brethren (1544 to 1554), and the other municipal churches (the Virgin Mary and St. Havel), as well as the water tower (1493- 1554, reconstructed in the 18th century). The bell-making and book-making trades were active here, and two local Renaissance hymns come from here, today located in the museum. This Protestant city (a royal city from 1600) flourished until the Thirty Years War and the subsequent persecution. Building activities resumed in the 18th century, and the city once again returned to economic prosperity. This continues today, primarily due to the automobile industry which has been successfully developing here since 1905.

LAURIN AND KLEMENT

1905: The first automobiles of Laurin & Klement were born – model Voiturete A with a 7-horsepower two-cylinder motorThe largest Czech car maker is inextricably linked to Mladá Boleslav – Škoda Auto Czech Republic. The following brief historical overview demonstrates how quickly the company developed after its founding: 1895: In a workshop at No. 149 Prague Street, Mechanic Václav Laurin and book merchant Václav Klement began manufacturing bicycles under the brand name Slavia. The newly formed company had an additional 5 employees plus its founders. 1896: The Laurin and Klement company produced a number of bicycles of their own construction, offering a 2-year warranty on their products.
1898: The Laurin and Klement company had 32 employees, and their new manufacturing facility occupied an area of 1100 m2.
1899: In Prague, Václav Laurin and Václav Klement presented reporters with their first motorcycles – machines bearing European parameters, the first in all of Austria-Hungary and Germany.
1905: The first automobiles of Laurin & Klement were born – model Voiturete A with a 7-horsepower two-cylinder motor. The company now employed a staff of 355, and the manufacturing facilities now occupied an area of 8000 m2.

ŠKODA AUTO NA KARMELI EDUCATIONAL CENTRE

The Škoda Auto Na Karmeli Educational Centre - monumental timeline installed in 2012 that presents the history of the world, the Czech lands, Mladá Boleslav, and the automobile factory from 2000 BC to the present, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.The Škoda Auto Na Karmeli Educational Centre is part original monastery and part new building. In 2007, historic and modern architecture were sensitively joined together to form an extraordinary representative space for holding educational and social events. The complex offers modern equipped classrooms, conference rooms, and two halls that can be joined into a large lecture auditorium. The complex also includes the Church of St. Bonaventure, founded in 1345 as part of the Minorite monastery complex. The church is presently used for exhibitions, fashion shows, and musical performances. The large terrace of the educational centre is a regular venue for open air events for the public. The Na Karmeli Centre is where the past joins hands with the future – this idea is even represented by a monumental timeline installed in 2012 that presents the history of the world, the Czech lands, Mladá Boleslav, and the automobile factory from 2000 BC to the present.

Bělá pod Bezdězem

Smaller towns also flourished in the shadow of the main centre. The town of Bělá pod Bezdězem, with its preserved remnants of original fortifications from the 14th century (Czech Gate) is mostly known for its Renaissance castle which belonged to the famous local Wallenstein family. Chateau residences are very typical for this region, once ruled by the nobility.

Benátky nad Jizerou

Benátky nad Jizerou – courtyard of the Renaissance chateau, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.In Benátky nad Jizerou, on the ruins of a Gothic monastery, Bedřich of Donín built a castle sometime before 1526 which still bears original sgraffito decorations with rich figural scenes, landscapes, and ornaments. This is where the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) carried out his observations, and Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) worked here as a music teacher from 1844 to 1847. The local statues from the workshop of M. B. Braun come from Lysá nad Labem, from the centre of Sporck’s patronage. The castle interiors are furnished in Rococo style.

Kosmonosy

Kosmonosy - Loreta, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.A similar but smaller centre is the town of Kosmonosy, which flourished after the Thirty Years War. During the rule of the Černín family of Chudenice, a castle was built in 1697-1709, as well as a Piaristic monastery, Loreta, and many other buildings. The sculpted works are the works of the local workshop of the Jelínek family, whose significance extended beyond the borders of the region.

Mnichovo Hradiště

The original Renaissance castle in Mnichovo Hradiště originally belonged to the Protestant Václav Budovec of Budov (executed on Prague’s Old Town Square in 1621) and was later acquired by the Wallensteins. They had it reconstructed by Mar. Ant. Canavalle into remarkable dimensions, then after 1711 surrounded it with a park with a Capuchin monastery and family tomb. The castle complex is supplemented by agricultural buildings, a pavilion, and a fountain. Following repairs in the 19th century and between 1919 and 1921, the furnishings of the Duchcov Chateau were brought here (including 22,000 volumes of the Wallenstein library). Mnichovo Hradiště today is one of the largest noble residences in the Czech Republic.

Drábské světničky

Drábské světničky ruins – shelter carved in the rocks, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.Economic prosperity, as well as other human activities, always took place in the Mladá Boleslav area without excessive damage to its natural beauty. Even the Hussite Wars left very romantic sites in the castle ruins of Drábské světničky. Sometime in the 1420’s, the Hussites carved out a castle on seven blocks of sandstone with 18 rooms and 8 corridors. They abandoned it after the Battle of Lipany, and this formerly dreaded place became today’s romantic castle ruin.