“The city is just a background. Overcrowded Krumlov is gone, but the locals do not return to the center | present.cz

An image of the old town of Cesky Krumlov crowded with tourists. A color that repeats every year. The covid pandemic changed him in the previous year. Perhaps forever, City Hall doesn’t want to go back to the days of one of the country’s biggest extreme rushes.Yet tourism continues to push locals out of the center, and the last of his 250 residents here are self-service and no parking available. The center is destined to become an open-air museum, city administrators admit.

One of the local guides told a group of British tourists at Svornost Square in Český Krumlov, “There were times when 200 buses full of tourists arrived here in one day. Sometimes as many as 100,000 people.” were walking through these narrow streets.” As if the pre-coronavirus pandemic era is already ancient history, akin to rumors about Knight Vitka and the White Lady of Roženberg.

Photo: Jakub Prihal

On the Friday before the third Sunday of Advent, the historic center of the South Bohemian city lives much as it did ‘the old days’ of the last decade, with two million visitors a year. An unusual number for a town with a population of 12,000. Hundreds of families wandered the winding streets despite the dark weather, and in addition to the smell of welders and the melody of carols playing from the loudspeakers near her Christmas tree in the square, they spoke German, English. I also speak Korean.

Since the 1990s, Cesky Krumlov has been closely associated with Asian tourist tours. This changes restrictions related to the arrival of the covid-19 disease, which have been very stringent in East Asia, with Chinese, for example, previously prohibited from traveling.

However, Asians are slowly returning to Krumlov, thanks to the loosening of restrictions. They admire each statue and take pictures with selfie sticks. Some of them have hats with the word “Prague” inscribed on them.

“They love Central Europe, beautiful winters, nature and historic buildings,” explains guide Hana, recalling the popular Christmas fairy tale “The Angel of the Lord,” which was filmed here. At the observation deck near the castle, a group of about 20 Koreans wait to take pictures while admiring the city view.

However, attendance is still weak compared to the pre-pandemic period. Today, the number of tourists visiting Cesky Krumlov is about half what it was in the last decade. However, neither the city hall nor the residents want to go back to the old days. Looking back over the last decade, the word “extreme” is repeated.

Cesky Krumlov in winter.Image diagram

Cesky Krumlov in winter.Instructional slides | Photo: Shutterstock

The Chinese were replaced by Germans and Austrians.they spend more money

“Each region has limited resources: water, waste, passability of bridges and streets. It was decided how to reduce the number of covid came up with it and did it perfectly, ”explains Pavel Slavko, lord of Cesky Krumlov Castle.

A familiar figure. He has been Director of Monuments since his 1989, Cesky He is involved in the transformation of Krumlov from a run-down district town into a Central European Historical Jewel and a UNESCO Monument. “Ideally, attendance would increase slightly to about 70% of what it was before COVID-19, but no more,” he says.

Castellan Pavel Slavko.

Castellan Pavel Slavko. | | Photo: Jakub Prihal

So did Dalibor Uhlíř, deputy mayor in charge of tourism and culture in the newly elected leadership. According to him, the decline in the number of visitors to the city paradoxically indicates income.

“The tourist structure has completely changed. People who went in the 1990s but stopped because the city became more and more crowded are now coming back,” he explains. Whereas in the past the majority of tourists were Chinese, arriving by bus in the morning, bypassing the main attractions and leaving without spending any money, now Krumlov calls Germans and Austrians “eyebrows.” This is beneficial as tourists from neighboring countries often stay overnight here and spend more in the shops and restaurants.

As a city, we want to continue this trend. “We do destination management, and through social networks and other communications we target tourists to whom we can reach a little bit. We aim at the markets of Hungary, Slovakia and Poland. , the Asian market is still important for us, without it we will not survive the winter,” explains Uhlíř.

China has eased its strict coronavirus measures slightly, but the city government does not expect a significant return of tourists. It is also due to the deterioration of political relations between the two countries.

‘It’s hard to live in the center’

People in Cesky Krumlov no longer have to rush through the crowds, but the center still gives off the impression of a ‘Disneyland for tourists’. Occupy monuments in numbers that cause problems. Even today, bright advertising banners protrude from the facades of buildings, and people stumble upon billboards called ačkas erected in front of souvenir shops. Some entrepreneur’s efforts to meticulously install banners in historic buildings are undermined by the brightly colored fashion of his boutique.

The number of stalls in Trdelnik is increasing year by year, but the number of residents living in the center is decreasing. “It’s beautiful here. It’s nice to be a tourist, but it’s hard to live here,” she says on a popular tourist street just meters from her Pancake House where she works. Katerina, a young woman who has an apartment in one, nods. .

For example, he complains about transportation. “We all keep getting fined. The police don’t even check if I have a permit, even though I stand where I can,” he despairs.

The nearest grocery store is 10 minutes from her apartment, and prices in nearby restaurants are usually around 350 crowns. “We were looking for a place to eat, but this place is all for tourists,” explains Caterina. “There’s only one kebab here for her, and it’s cheaper there,” recalls one of her friends.

“Krumlov has not yet exhausted its legacy. Trdelnik will disappear like a langoustine.”

Locals who don’t live in the center avoid it. He spends his time in the surrounding housing estates, or at the municipal theater and library at the eastern end of the centre. “I feel that the center is just a backdrop. You won’t meet a woman in a scarf walking her dog, but just a scented couple who just took a shower in the boarding house and are out for a walk.” is,” explains View. The story of Hana, a local guide in Krumlovan.

City administration has come to terms with the fact that the center will eventually become a full-fledged open-air museum. “We have discussed how we can prevent this and attract more people all at once. You will never come back when you were in the city,” predicts Mayor Dalibor Urish.

Photo: Jakub Prihal

He makes no secret of looking elsewhere for major problems. Cesky Krumlov has to deal with tight budgets, lost up to 150 million crowns due to pandemic and sewer takeover will require him to repay about 2.5 billion loans he took before covid . processing plant. For example, it is difficult to find funding for the necessary maintenance of bridges and footbridges. In all, there are 28 of his in Krumlov, where the Vltava or Porečnice river bends in a breathtaking way. Four of them are declaring a state of emergency.

Therefore, the city is at least thinking about how to “humanize” the center. For example, we held a contest where you could vote for the best and least classy Advent decorations from local businesses. The center hosts cultural events for locals, such as the Angel Parade.

Castle resident Pavel Slavko has long battled so-called visual smog – flashy and inappropriate advertising. He sees the fundamental problem in the fact that the space of the historic city is occupied, for example, by the mentioned stalls of trdelník, which became popular only at the beginning of the 21st century, or by museums, rather than of Czech origin. I’m watching it. Torture devices and wax figures that have nothing to do with the city’s history.

According to Slavek, Cesky Krumlov has not yet exhausted its cultural heritage potential. You can make money with it too. “If I were in charge, I would put together a team of historians who would find interesting jelly recipes from the 19th century. (Sake, editor’s note)And look, we have an interesting product, a tourism phenomenon. Another says there is something strange in the museum and will probably discover that it is the oldest daguerreotype. (Father of classical photography, editor’s note) As it happened in Kinswalta, in the world,” explains the castle owner.

“Few people here would have trouble looking for historical value that was valid in the past, valid today, and valid tomorrow…then,” he adds.

Video: UNES-CO Project Focuses on Lack of Normal Life in Tourist City Centers (25 September 2018)

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