The Heart of Storytelling in the Czech Republic and Slovakia
By: Casey Conniff
One of the first things that comes to mind when you think about the Czech Republic and Slovakia is the many, many, many beautiful castles that cover their lands. If you are taking a trip to either of the countries, you have to make sure that you stop by at least a few of these marvelous gems.
Both countries have one of the highest density of castles in the world with the Czech Republic boasting over 2,000 castles and Slovakia having over 600 including castles, ruins, and chateaux. The creation of the castles span over centuries of time intertwining the history of the countries and their castles. The castles have origin dates spanning all the way back to 993 AD up until the 18th century. As a reflection of the wide span of years the castles were built over and the many renovations the castles have undergone throughout the years, the architecture varies greatly from traditional Czech to Italian Baroque, to Gothic, to French styles.
Not only are the castles impressive in number, dates, and styles, but they also include a large variety of amenities throughout different castles. Prague Castle itself is the largest castle complex in the world. Other castles across the Czech Republic and Slovakia include features such as wineries, hotels, wedding venues, old prisons, old monasteries, golf courses, theaters, libraries, museums, and in two cases even a zoo.
This wide array of castles is reflected in both the history and the storytelling of these two nations. Research any one of the numerous castles and you will be sure to find legends, myths, and other folklore about the origins or inhabitants of the castles. The castles are also present in modern storytelling through their use as filming locations for movies.
Tri Orisky Pro Popelku the very popular Czech film, Three Nuts/Wishes/Gifts for Cinderella depending on different English translations, is centered around a castle and while some of the filming was done at a castle in Germany, Svihov Castle in the Czech Republic was also used as a filming location. This film is particularly relevant today as the lead actress, Libuse Safrankova, who got her breakout role through the film, has recently passed away at the age of 68 on June 9th 2021. The castles in the Czech Republic and Slovakia have also been used in recent years to make other popular Hollywood films including The Brothers Grimm (2005), The Prince and Me (2004), and Shanghai Knights (2003).