Unexpected Landscape Dimensions
No other historical epoch has worked as sensitively with its landscape as the Baroque. The countryside was adorned with countless small structures such as chapels, wayside crosses, statues, gazebos, as well as several-kilometre-long tree-lined alleyways and lone trees that aided in navigation. With its transformation of the landscape, the nobility made clear their status, and the church directed pilgrims to pilgrimage sites and to Stations of the Cross.
The Bohemian baroque landscape is one of the most interesting in Europe, despite the fact that only a fraction of the original expansive compositions have survived to this day. If we were to mention only three main figures that contributed to its significance, we would certainly not leave out Albrecht of Wallenstein, Franz Joseph von Schlick, and Franz Anton von Sporck. And since discovering the fascinating system of baroque landscapes on one's own accord—on foot or by bicycle— is the best way to do it, we invite you to take a trip to the places that will best represent the magic of the former baroque landscape.
One of the most stunning gems of baroque art can be found in Eastern-Bohemian Kuks. Built by Count Sporck along both sides of banks of the Elbe River valley and their adjacent forests, an expansive spa complex, thought-out to the minutest detail, was a great draw for the cream of Europe at the turn of the 18th century.
The difference in how personalities are expressed in the transformation of a landscape can be seen in the area surrounding Jičín. On the one hand, while Albrecht of Wallenstein commanded his landscape composition, felling forest clearings and building grandiose structures, Franz Joseph von Schlick respected it, listened to it, and created a thoughtful landscape composition that may not seem as spectacular at first glance, but boasts strong spiritual dimensions, and you will encounter small baroque surprises in it at every step.
Thoughtful work with elements of the landscape is also expressed in another area: the art of war. At the behest of rulers, unique fortification systems cropped up at strategic sites in the Bohemian Kingdom, taking advantage of the shape of the terrain as well as the proximity of water courses. You can walk through the remnants of baroque fortifications in Olomouc, Hradec Králové, at Prague's Vyšehrad, and at Brno's Špilberk. Truly unique are the fortification cities of Terezín and Josefov, established on green meadows, and designed so that they could fend off forces far larger than theirs for months at a time.