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Cultural Experiences while Studying Abroad in Prague

January 21, 2024
by Greta Frederick Harteis

Unforgettable CEA CAPA Excursions to Český Krumlov, Karlštejn Castle, & Kutná Hora 

The Czech Republic is so much more than the large cities of Prague and Brno. By studying abroad with CEA CAPA I got the chance to explore outside of the city limits and see the beautiful historic sites of Český Krumlov, Karlštejn Castle, and Kutná Hora. On CEA CAPA's meticulously designed study abroad excursions, we connected with Czech culture, indulged in traditional cuisine, and engaged with locals. From arranging accommodation to organizing cultural activities and excursions, CEA CAPA ensured seamless and enriching experiences that let us focus on academic goals while creating lifelong memories. 

a window with a view of a town

View from within the castle over the town during the tour. 

Excursion 2: Český Krumlov 

The trip to Český Krumlov was an unforgettable experience. Upon arriving, seeing the town’s cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and medieval architecture felt like stepping into a fairytale. Located in the southern region of the Czech Republic, Český Krumlov boasts the second largest castle complex in the nation. When touring the castle, we wandered through its magnificent halls and ballroom, climbed up the tower, and took a behind the scenes look at the Baroque Theater also housed in the complex. Filled with shops, cafés, and restaurants, we explored the town. A visit to Český Krumlov wouldn’t be complete without grabbing a trdelník in the Old Town Square and walking by the Vltava River. 

A group of buildings with red roofs on a cloudy day

View of the Český Krumlov Hrad from an overlook in town. 

Excursion 2: The Karlštejn Castle 

Our journey began with a scenic drive from Prague to the small town of Zadní Třebaň. From there, a guide took us on a beautiful hike through the Bohemian countryside to the Karlštejn Castle.

A castle on a hill

View of Hrad Karlštejn from the town below. 

Inside the 14th century castle, a personalized tour walked us through its well-preserved halls and rooms adorned with medieval artworks and artifacts.

a building with paintings carved into stucco

Stucco paintings inside the walls of the castle. 

In the warmer months the public is welcome to visit and experience religion abroad at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. A room dedicated to religious artifacts and precious relics and curated for King Charles the IV.

A room with a window and a bench

Throne room inside the castle. Windows on either side of the throne made the Holy Roman Emperor, King Charles IV, look godlike. 

After the tour we ate a traditional Czech dinner at the restaurant Penzion U Adama then wandered through the quaint town at the foot of the castle. This day trip to Karlštejn Castle was a great way to make friendships abroad with the other study abroad students. 

A group of study abroad friends posing for a photo

Selfie with my study abroad friends (Me- left, Lauren Thorburn- center, Kassandra Rodriguez- right). Without CEA CAPA I wouldn't have made these life long friends. 

Excursion 3: Kutná Hora 

A study abroad student standing on a staircase

Picture of my good friend Lauren Thornburn on the steps outside of the castle.  

On a beautiful day in late April CEA CAPA organized a trip to the beautiful town of Kutná Hora. One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the iconic Sedlec Ossuary, also known as the Bone Church. This unique and eerie church is decorated with more than 40,000 human bones, intricately arranged into artistic displays.

A view of a castle from a balcony

A view from the castle over the nearby hills and towns. 

From there, we toured the Italian Court, a medieval silver coin mint factory, followed by a tour of the silver mines underneath the town.

a stone wall with a statue on it

View overlooking downtown Kutná Hora from the walkway next to St. Barbara's Cathedral. One can see the spire of St Mary's Church on Náměti and the copper cupola of the Italian Court coin minting factory. 

Finally, we took a quick peek into the gothic cathedral built for the patron saint of miners, St. Barbara’s Church. 

a building with many windows

Close up on the exquisite gothic architecture of St. Barbara's Cathedral. 

At the end of the day, exploring the small towns in the countryside of the Czech Republic was one of the most memorable parts of my study abroad program experience. 

Greta Frederick Harteis is the Spring 2023 Alumni Ambassador in Prague, Czech Republic, and is currently studying at College of William & Mary.
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