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Tales and Legends of Český Krumlov

About Latrán and the Founding of the Krumlov Castle
Perchta von Rosenberg, portrait In the days of the dark Middle Ages, when on the site of today's Český Krumlov was neither town nor castle, a dark and deep forest covered the Vltava River valley. It was through this very forest that a trade route led from Austria to the Czech inland. On the rock cliffs above the river ford, there in the forest, a band of thieves and robbers, in short looters (lotři) had their lair, and attacked and robbed every travelling merchant's wagon which was passing through the woody countryside. One day, of course, the robbers' time came, because the heroic knight Vítek discovered the hideout and burned it to the ground. He then built an invincible castle Krumlov which was to forever guard the ford across the Vltava. And the longest street in the town which arose alongside and below the castle was named in memory of the looters - Latrán. History, of course, names this street in a much more practical manner, as it took its name from the Latin word Latus (side, lateral), indicating the side street along the castle and leading to the old town.

A legend about the stone brothers
Near Český Krumlov on a cross of two field paths stood two sculptures. Both sculptures looked very much alike, and so people called them the stone brothers. Pilgrims used to come to them from far away. Because too many people used to meet at these sculptures, a town council decided to removed them. Two deep holes remained at the placed where the sculptures were dug out and nobody was able to back-fill them. Both sculptures were placed in a shed. Very strange light and strange voices came out of this shed each night. A steward got worried and he rose the sculptures again - one of them was placed in the centre of his farm and the second one in Trinity forest. And again many people came to them but as many people came to these sculptures, less of them came to a pilgrimage place Kájov. And again the sculptures had to be removed. By order of a consistory of České Budějovice two men carried both sculptures covered with a cloth away on a wagon. Everywhere they passed the bells of chapels and churches rang on their own. All signs of this strange yoke disappeared in České Budějovice.

A legend about a prelate and the devil
When a rich citizen of Český Krumlov Gruntherer, who became rich almost overnight so much that he did not know what to do with his money, aged, he began to have restless nights. He told his wife that he had sold his soul to the devil for all the money. The worried woman ran for advice to the prelate of Český Krumlov. This powerful man who was able to lay the ghosts and devils called the devil with a single word and began to read a paper that had been signed by the rich man's blood some years earlier. And suddenly the prelate found out that the devil had given him the paper of a different wealthy citizen of Český Krumlov. So he used an even more powerful magic formula and the devil had to fetch the right paper. The prelate burnt both papers and he saved the souls of the both wealthy citizens from the fires of hell.


Tales and legends about some places and buildings in Český Krumlov:

Náměstí Svornosti - the plague pillar (Fountain in the Square in Český Krumlov)
Many times a fire flashed up in this place and the lives of many women who were accused of witchcraft were ended there. The story of one gypsy girl was one of the most horrible - the girl let herself be locked in a church in Kájov and she stole a ring from the Holy Virgin. The very next day a parish clerk accused her of sacrilege. She gave the ring back, but the Jesuits from Český Krumlov came to hear of that. Although she was set free by the vicarage in Kájov, the Jesuits caught her, tortured her and she confessed to things she hadn't done. She was burnt to death in fire in the square at the plague pillar.

Náměstí Svornosti No. 2
An inn "U Slunce" used to be in this house. The innkeeper Jan was very distrustful of men and did not trust the chief butler in the brewery. He accused him all the time that he gave him only half filled butts and he complained to the brewer in the brewery. Because the brewer did not want the innkeeper to buy beer from somebody else, he discharged the butler from service. The innocent man said a curse and a few days later the innkeeper slipped down the cellar stairs and the butts covered him. His soul can not find peace in eternity, and from time to time it walks around the house.

Náměstí Svornosti No. 9
Once there was an inn "U Anděla" in this house. It was very cheerful place especially at the time of the markets. Once a very strange bet was placed there. Two men bet a recently-purchased cow who could drink two tubs of beer more quickly. The man who won the bet did not enjoy his luck, as he got sick that night and died. The dead man appeared to the innkeeper and reproached him that he did not dissuade him from the bet. The innkeeper had a mass officiated several times for the soul of that dead man in the St. Vitus church to sleep well at night.

Český Krumlov on a stormy night , foto: Libor Sváček

Panská No. 20
According to legend a very bad landlord lived in this house. He had no mercy with his servants. The most horrible thing was that he sold his soul to the devil. The devil gave him power and richness. The time to go to hell came and devil came for the landlord. He was afraid of this time, he bargained with the devil and tried to cheat him. One day he painted crosses on all the doors and windows in the house and he thought he pulled a good one on the devil. Unfortunately he forgot to paint the cross on one small window in the lavatory. The devil pulled him out of this window so brutally that he flayed his skin off his body. Those awful remains of the landlord's body were on the window for very long time as memento for people not to make any agreement with the devil and not to become addicted to evil. Even today the soul of the evil landlord appears.

Dlouhá No. 31
A restaurant called "Cikánská jizba" is today in this house. Once a businessman lived here whose son Walter fell in tragic love with a beautiful young gypsy girl. The whole town was shocked by this, because the young man was dating a very nice and proper girl Růženka from Český Krumlov. But betrayal was hidden in the heart of the black beauty. Her gypsy fellows from a camp near Český Krumlov poached in a river and fished for pearls, which the gypsy girl then sold to a witch Annabella. One day the gypsies left the camp and unhappy and lonely Walter married Růženka, who was very much in love with him. He never forgot his gypsy girl, her love and passion. He told his great secret to his son.

Dlouhá No. 32
Vlašský yard. A long passage leads from this house to the river. Thanks to this passage, people in town did not suffer from thirst when Český Krumlov was attacked by the enemies.

After World War II, in 1947, much research was done in this house and the passage was immured.

Soukenická No. 35
This house was called "U Baziliška" in the past. Its owner, lady Rozálie, did not heed the advice of a healing woman who told her to kill a black hen. An horrible basilisk came out from hen's first egg. Since then, all members of Rozálie´s family had very bad fortune. Only the owner and her young daughter stayed alive. A witch Annabella told Rozálie what to do to get rid of the bad curse. A young journeyman who looked for bed and breakfast in the house helped Rozálie to remove the basilisk. And when the basilisk died, the person who had said the cruel curse also died.

Soukenická No. 37
Cross on the shore of the Vltava River in Český Krumlov, winter, foto: Libor Sváček Miss Stázička was said to have lived in this house. She was a person who cast a cruel curse on lady Rozálie who lived next door in house no. 35. She did it because of her unhappy love. When Stázička died, many times people could hear grievous cries and sighs coming from one room of the house. They say it happened because this woman never made a clean breast of this sin.

Panenská No. 38
This house had a special function in the past, as so-called fallen girls lived there, girls who sold their love for money. That is why the street was called derisively "panenská" (virginal). Many happy and sad stories happened there. It used to be said that when a girl who has not yet married and has already lost her virginity goes through this street, her face blushes. Some boys took their girls to this street purposely, where they watched their girls very carefully. Nobody knows if this test is valid today.

Soukenická No. 42
A very unhappy young man called Helmut lived in this house. He fell in love with a young girl, and they vowed their lives to each other. But Annabella, a witch from Český Krumlov, managed to break her promise and persuaded her not to marry Helmut. At the end she married an old humpbacked man and left Český Krumlov with him. Helmut could not cope with the situation and he hanged himself. The strange noise could be heard from the loft, and even the beam which Helmut hanged himself on cracked.

Kájovská No. 56
The legends about the mills of Český Krumlov tell that each of those mills had its own patron coming from the water animal kingdom. A river nymph took care of Mrázek´s mill. Many times a white fog hung above the millrace, and contour lines of a woman were visible. The legend says that the nymph was very careful and she did not allow anybody to draw near the mill. Once a little child fell into the Vltava river. His mother said that she saw gentle small hands carrying her child above the water and then to a river bank.

Festival of the Five-petalled Rose in Český Krumlov 1998, Jan Kačer as Wilhelm von Rosenberg

Kájovská No. 68
This house is marked with three legends.

A coppersmith called Hollengammer lived here around 1460. He used to buy old copper from a Jew and he made of it non-decorative goods. Once happened that one piece of copper did not melt in a melting furnace. It was a cross that had been passed down from father to son. In the middle of the 17th century the last descendant of the family, a widow Reikinová, gave the cross to a councillor. At that time the whole region suffered from severe storms and hailing. The councillors decided to place the cross on a top of a hill from where such weather came. Since that time the hill has been called Křížová hora (Mountain of the Cross). But the cross has its origin in this house.

An inn with a stable used to be in this house. The stable man was not a good person and he often tormented horses. Once a visitor put a very nice horse in the stable. The stable man could not wait to harm this horse. But the horse very badly injured him and he died in stable without any help. People could hear very often his cry coming from the stable.

The house had very nice vaulted cellars, but quite dangerous stairs lead to these cellars. They became fatal to a waiter. Just at the moment when he was very happy because he had proposed to his love Klára, he fell down the stairs and broke his neck. Klára, who went crazy, and her lover meet each other from time to time in this house, because their souls can not find peace in eternity.

Široká No. 77
Map of cemetery at the chapel of St. Martin A legend tells us that an alchemist who served at the court of last two Rosenbergs - Wilhelm and Peter - lived in this house. His name was Antonín Michael z Ebbersbachu and he passed himself for a famous alchemist and scientist, but he was really only a cheat and impostor. He extracted plenty of gold ducats out of Rosenberg and said that if he would plant and water them with a special solution they would grow and he would have more of them. Then he promised to make an elixir of life and youth. According to legend he was put in jail in the tower and people said that "he pegged out as a dog". But this is not true. He was persecuted but he died in his house. He was buried in a quiet aisle of a minorite monastery as a real aristocrat. He probably did not have a clean conscience because he appears from time to time in the house and he walks here and there and up and down the stairs and sighs a lot.

Široká No. 80
According to legend this mill was protected by a water elf that cared for pearls and pearl shells. Some people called him the "Pearl man". According to the story his suit was decorated with beautiful rainbowlike pearls. From time to time he allowed people to fish for pearls on a small river island. Whoever wanted to find a really big and nice pearl had to ask the elf politely. Whoever did not ask politely, he could not even open a shell or he fell into the river - always something bad happened to him or he lost the pearl.

The second legend tells that an owner of this mill had financial difficulties and even an illness came to this house. The miller´s wife could not carry all those troubles any longer and so she came to the river and sat on its bank. Tears ran down her cheeks. Ssuddenly a pretty little girl appeared in front of her. She caught the miller´s wife´s tears in her little apron and said, "Stop crying. From now everything is going to be all right!" - and the tears changed into pearls. The little girl told the miller´s wife what to do with those pearls and that she must not forget poor people who needed her help. A short time later peace and happiness returned to the mill.

A river bank
The town council and lordship allowed the Wolf family to fish for pearls on this place. A pearl shell called Margarita margaritana lived in the Vltava river and beauty of the Vltava pearls could compete with their beauty with the sea pearls.

Dlouhá No. 94
A witch Annabella lived in this house. It is a pity that in 1947 the room with an open fire where the witch did her witchcraft was not preserved. Everything was reconstructed and the fireplace was destroyed at that time. The whole room with the open fire gave the impression of the mysterious and dreadfulness of the witch, and later even more when people found the strange pots on the fire place that were beautifully decorated. Hherbs were inside some of them, bones in the others.

Gypsies coming from Slovakia were accommodated in this house. They came to Český Krumlov as the new settlements after an action of the then District national committee to find new manpower. The gypsy children explored the house and they came to the cellars with the casemates. These were small cells - 1 x 1 m - for prisoners and handcuffs were hanged of the walls. A prisoner could not sit there, he could only stand. One gypsy child closed himself into one of those cells and he died there. Later because of this event, access to the cells was closed so that it wouldn't be found so easily.

Mermaid, White Lady, and Old Man of the Sea, all at Rumyší díra

Dlouhá No. 97
A very rich citizen lived in this house. He did not allow his daughter to marry a boy whom she loved very much, and he chose a rich man for her. After their wedding which was celebrated in this house, the newly-married couple went to České Budějovice - the town the husband came from. But on the way near Mirkovice an accident happened. Nobody knew what happened exactly, but a postilion that carried the post to Český Krumlov found the carriage turned over and the couple and their coachman were dead. The very next night the girl´s father dreamed a horrible dream in which his daughter reproached him for her wedding.

Parkán No. 120
Legend says that a water sprite protected this mill. He was ugly but very nice to people. When the salmon migrated he helped everybody. It is really very nice fairy tale with a lot of stories about the water sprite who was loved not only by the miller but by all people living by the river.

Radniční No. 129
At the time when Josef II. dissolved their monastery, the last nuns of the St. Claire order moved into this house. The nuns did not change anything in their looks, they still wore their monastic cloth and did only good things. Many tales are about them.

Horní No. 154
Today´s hotel Růže was founded on a place of the former Jesuit college. Wilhelm von Rosenberg had to buy a few houses to the college on their places. None of the owners wanted to sell his house cheaply. Only one of the owners did not care about anything. He forbade his daughter to marry an equestrian because he had found a rich man for her. He told her that either she marries the man he found for her or she has to go to the convent. Unhappy Elsa chose death in the Vltava river. Her soul can not find peace in eternity even today, and from time to time she appears and bewails her unhappy fortune with her eyes.

Horní No. 159 - Kaplanka
Festival of the Five-petalled Rose in Český Krumlov 1998, knights' tournament on hourses Václav z Rovného bought this house from its former owners and in 1520 he passed it over to the vicarage at the St. Vitus church. The only condition of this sale was that after the death of the former owners a office for the dead will be read every year. Everything was set and signed. But as the time went on it happened that they forgot this office for the dead and then the curate´s room and the church were haunted. As the office for the dead was read everything was quiet again.

St. Vitus Church in Český Krumlov
Many legends and true stories are connected with this church. People say that a curate fell asleep in a confession box and he was presented in the midnight service of dead men of Český Krumlov. In the morning people found the curate in the church - he had white hair and he died within a year.

The second legend is about a painting at the organ picturing the Coronation of the Virgin. At one time the painting was hung in a presbytery and the Virgin´s face resembled the face of one local citizen's dead wife so much that he could not help himself and he cut out the face. He confessed his sin before his death in a public confession.

Music school in Kostelní street (Kostelní No. 161)
People tell many legends about these houses. Formerly it was a Jesuit school. A legend says that one day a Jesuit was very angry with his student who was at his desk. He beat him with a pointer so badly that the student died later on. His parents could not cope with the death of their son and they execrated the Jesuit teacher. He died within a year. Since then the house has been haunted. As time went on many magicians came to this house and tried to evict the unhappy souls and clean the place up. But an opposite thing happened - with their magic even more ghosts came.

It happens very often that people staying in the house feel that the place is overcrowded. We can say that the ghosts are happy there - unlike in other houses.

Latrán No. 1
Formerly there were baths in this house. An unhappy girl named Markéta Pichlerová came from this house. She was brutally killed in 1608 by Don Julius de Austria, a bastard son of emperor Rudolf II. After World War II a fronton of this house was demolished to allow lorries and buses possible to go through a town. A fresco with a picture of Markéta Pichlerová was painted on the house.

Zlatá Koruna school, classroom aid from 18th century, picture of spa scenes

According to legend, once a very bad slanderous woman was washed in the baths against her wish. She was very dirty and smelled awful, and she hurt many people with her sharp tongue. When she was finally washed, the people expelled her from the town.

A nice small house could be seen at the rocks behind the baths. It was to have been a house built by the first settler. He built his house on a place an elf showed him and where a river nymph welcomed him. When the first settler died a very bad man lived in this house. He was the man who gave information to robbers living in a rock grotto. He always told them when wagons full of goods were coming to a small village that was probably situated on a hill. Today the hotel Růže is on that place.

Latrán No. 6
Český Krumlov, Church of St. Jošt on a full moon, foto: Libor Sváček Many legends are told about the former church of St. Jošt. But in one thing they concur: from time to time something very strange was going in the church tower. It was certain that nobody was in the loft. It was said that after the church was discontinued and was desecrated that the devil himself used to appear in the tower and he fearfully laughed. Sometimes people living in the house could hear steps coming up the stairs to the tower. Some people said that the last organ player could not reconcile with the fact that the church was closed and he died very soon after. He used to appear very often at the places were the organ used to be and cried very painfully for it.

Latrán No. 36, Nové město
Formerly this house was a dye-works. People dried the dyed cloth in the open loft. Legend says that a walkway was in a room with a big vat full of boiling water. An open fire was kept under this vat and the journeymen had to walk on the walkway with long mixing devices and mix the water. The young men wanted to make this boring task a little bit funny and so they pushed each other. But one boy slipped on water, fell into the vat and died in boiling water. When somebody slept in the house for the first night he always saw this scene. A shoemaker lived in the house and he and his guests also saw this cruel event. Only a service for the dead made everything all right again.

Latrán No. 37, Nové město
It used to be an inn in a house in corbels and a courtesan Justina worked there. She fell in unhappy love with a courier. When his service in Český Krumlov was over and he left, Justina went mad from her unhappy love and she constantly looked for her lover. In the end she ended her life in a river. After her death all drawers and wardrobe in her room very often opened on their own, because the lonely soul of the girl was looking for some message from her lover. The girl was attracted especially by one chest-of-drawers. After the war, when all furniture left in the house after the Germans was chopped up, girl´s ghost left the house.

Large corner stones are on the corner of the inn. Once the murder of an assassin happened there. A man leaving the inn was killed by a someone who stabbed a dagger into his back. The man fell on the stones and died. Many times it happened that people walking there late at night saw the man breathing very hard and lying on the stones, and the dagger stuck out from his back. But when they reached the stones nothing was there.

During the time of the Thirty Years War, this whole street was a place of frequent fights. Many legends are told about them, as many soldiers died there. Some late night walkers said that they could hear the rattling of sabres and cries of cying people.

A street leading to a river used to be a trade route called Jantarová (amber) - when the Etrusians carried amber from the Baltic sea to their kingdom through this way. Later on it was called "Via Regia" (the path of the king) because it helped Romans to come to the barbarian people whom the Romans wanted to bring under their domination. And in the end it was called "Linecká" (Linz town). It could be that in these places wagons full of goods head south were raided many times. This legend is connected with the foundation of the castle in Český Krumlov; the robbers had their hiding place on a top of the rocks. Lord of Rosenberg found this place and he destroyed the whole band. After that he founded a castle and a town on the same place.

Latrán No. 39
A magistrate for the town of Latrán lived in this house. One evening somebody knocked on the door of his house. When magistrate´s wife opened the door there was a woman veiled in a black veil. She said her name was Lidmila and she stayed to live in the house. Especially children loved her because she was very nice to them. She never uncovered her face. Once a neighbour found Lidmila dead outside the house. Probably she had a heart attack. She died and nobody knew anything about her - even her true name or anything about her relatives. She the left magistrate´s family a lot of money. From time to time she walks around the house - even today.

Castle No. 46 - New Pharmacy
A legend says that once when a pharmacist mixed some mixture for a medicine, his helper talked to him and he accidentally reached for poison. He did not recognise it straight away and he gave the medicine to an errand boy. A patient took the medicine and died a short time after. At the same night he appeared in front the pharmacist and reproached him with his death. The pharmacist ran to his pharmacy and discovered the truth - he had really killed his patient. He went mad from his conscience and two days later died. From time to time his ghost appears at night in the pharmacy.

Rainbow above Český Krumlov Castle, foto: Libor Sváček

Latrán No. 48, Klášterní
A recent occupier of this house heard a strange noise coming from a ground floor several times at night. Long time ago a smith lived there. He loved his work so much that he could not imagine selling it away. When a customer came to pick up his lattice made according his own design, the smith did not want to give it to him. A short time after he went mad and demolished the lattice and the whole smithy. He died and his family moved away. Everybody who lived in this house complained of the strange noise coming from the cellars where the smithy used to be.

Latrán No. 33, Dobrkovická street
A so-called "ballroom of the Rosenbergs" used to be in this house. Ball games were played here and many stories are connected with this place.

Latrán No. 50
Even though it is not kept in order, the area of the former Minorite monastery has remained very nice even today. The space in front of the church, called Tramín, used to be a cemetery. A monastery corridor became a place of the last rest of many citizens of Český Krumlov who paid for their place when they were alive. A girl called Judita is also buried here. She was a courtesan but she gave her dirty money to the churches and to charity. This is the reason why she was buried here.

An alchemist Antonín Michael z Ebbersbachu is also buried here. He was looking for gold and elixir of youth and life, but in fact he took advantage of the magnates who wanted to have an alchemist at their courts.

Also don Julius de Austria has his tomb here. He was a bastard son of emperor Rudolf II.. He brutally murdered the sixteen-year-old Markéta Pichlerová at the castle. He was buried in a small cloister garden, under a gutter of a chapel of Panna Maria Einsiedelská, the so-called Black Madonna because nobody wanted him to find peace in eternity. The remains of poor Markéta Pichlerová were buried behind a great altar. Once a stone marked with a little cross was put on a place of her last rest. The stone was lost during a renovation of the church floor.

The midnight Advent mass was read in a monastery church of the Holy Body. The mass scared a young girl Anežka, who recognised her neighbours and relatives who had died long ago.

The St. Anna chapel of death was situated in Tramín right on the corner where a big lime tree is today.

Latrán No. 56
A bakery used to be in this house. A legend about a young handsome baker is connected with it. He had many marriage proposals but did not want to get married. He was a very difficult man. Every girl he asked for date he tested in mathematics. The girls were taken by surprise so much that they could not add two and two, so the baker broke off each relationship very soon. He died unmarried.

His sister told many horrible experiences about what was happening above her flat in a corridor leading to the castle. They had a staff needed in bakery in that corridor - big mixing sticks and stirrers, kneading trough, etc. It happened from time to time that all the bakery stuff was scattered all over the place. According to a legend, the nuns of the religious order of St. Claire who ran to the castle to hide themselves against Hussites did it. Many other people heard the running steps of several people. Those who were more courageous saw the figures wearing black monastic robes.

Latrán No. 67
This is area of the St. Claire monastery. A nun, Margareta, who wanted to help ill people lived here at the time of plague in the 16th century. The ill and dying people were always happy to see her and even this brought relief from their suffering. Margareta was able to mix herbs and make the medicines of them. She did her task and people loved her. When she was dying she said she would help the monastery and people after her death, and this really happened. Long after the monastery was abolished the nun Margareta appeared at a bed of ill people and it was a sign that they would be healthy again soon.

But the Clare nun´s monastery also has its own very bad and cruel ghost that appears only on New Year´s Eve. It always carries some member of a family and it is a sign who will die next year. Unfortunately, its prediction was several times fulfilled.

Festival of the Five-petalled Rose in Český Krumlov 1998, Solstice ceremony on the Castle terraces, St. George fighting the dragon

A monk appears from time to time in the loft of a monastery and also in the loft of the monastery next door. He hanged himself there because he had fallen in love with a beautiful nun who worked in monastery as a portress. He had to work with her when they divided food for both monasteries. Once another nun came to help him and she falsely told him that his nun had died. He could not cope with his loss and he hanged himself in the loft. Some occupiers saw the monk walking here and there with a rope around his neck. People say that the nun jumped into a monastery well when she heard about his death.

(hb)

More tales and legends:
Tales and Legends of Český Krumlov Castle
Tales of the White Lady
Tales and Legends of the Český Krumlov Region