Holašovice – A stunning UNESCO rural historic village

Did you know there are 14 stunning Czech Republic UNESCO sites? I am not even surprised. Czech Republic is full of gorgeous towns, filled with history and culture. One of the UNESCO sites is the historic village of Holašovice (not the Prague neighborhood Holešovice).

Holašovice is a great representation of a traditional village, located near the Češke Budejovice, set in the beautiful landscape of South Bohemia. You can get an idea of how the rural life looked like here.

Holašovice is very small and very quiet. No shopping centres, big squares and hotels. The town is remote and it doesn’t see the hoards of tourist like other UNESCO sites in Czech Republic do. You’ll probably have the village to yourself, unless there’s a tour bus while you’re visiting.

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The village is about 20km from the city of Češke Budejovice – about 25 minutes drive from there. It’s also less than an hour drive from another Czech UNESCO site, the charming medieval town of Cesky Krumlov. The Czech capital, Pragues, is about 125km away.

History of the village

There was a bubonic plague between the 1520 and 1525 and the entire population of Holašovice was almost wiped out. It took many years for the population to recover. As if it wasn’t hard enough, many people left the village during the Communist regime after WWII and the village was almost uninhabited for many years – until 1990. People started moving again and restoring the buildings.

There’s a good side of it – the village is well preserved and it’s a great example of traditional rural village. Many of lookalike villages of Central Europe (probably most of them) have already disappeared and Holašovice is one of the few that remain and that hasn’t been changed for centuries.

Holašovice today

Holašovice is one of the loveliest World Heritage Sites on the list. Besides that, it’s also one of the smallest with only 23 farmhouses. There is just one street in the village and all the houses are placed around the central square with a pond. Most of the houses/farmyards have an entrance gate and a yard behind the wall. First you will see the facades of these houses. Each is different, with its unique design and ornaments.

The decorations on the houses weren’t there for the whole time. They can be placed in the 19th and early 20th century, when farmers had more money to spend and they have decided to spent it on aesthetics. That created a completely new style called as South Bohemian Folk Baroque. Similar houses can be seen in the nearby villages of Zaboři and Čakov, but in both villages newer houses have been built around them and they have lost the historical integrity.

What to do in Holašovice?

The main thing to do in Holašovice is admire the farmhouses and their architecture. They are very photogenic and that’s why they make wonderful photographic subject. Take all the time you need to see all the houses. There are also a few restaurants serving various traditional Czech foods and local Budvar beer.

You don’t really need more than a couple of hours there. Two to three hours will be enough to see everything and have a drink or snack at the restaurant. The best is to combine Holašovice with visiting somewhere else in South Bohemia. We stayed a few nights in Češke Budejovice and did some day trips around South Bohemia. Places worth visiting are Češky Krumlov and Hluboka Castle.

So, is it worth visiting? Absolutely yes. We loved the place and we think that the Holašovice is one of the best place to visit in the Czech Republic. South Bohemia was on my travel radar for a long time and I’m so glad that I finally made it to get there. If you’re heading anywhere in South Bohemia, try to put Holašovice on your itinerary.

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