Český Krumlov - Town Sightseeing - Latrán
The historical core is comprised of two parts. The older section, Latrán, formed spontaneously beneath the castle on the left bank of the Vltava River. The inner town is slightly younger and was intentionally established within the meanders of the river. When viewed from above, the old town gives the impression of an island. The “loop” of the Vltava is so tight that at its narrowest point the two streams mutually converge to less than a hundred meters.
The name Latrán comes from the Latin word “latus”, which may be translated as “side” or “lateral”. This reflects the fact that this district lay outside the main part of the town and in the past was not even part of its administration. It was subsequently incorporated in 1555 by Vilém of Rožmberk. Latrán was mostly home to people whose work secured the economic operation of the castle. Today, this is the name of the street that starts at Budějovice Gate and ends at Barber‘s Bridge. Budějovice Gate is the youngest town gate from the original nine gates and the only one to have survived. It was commissioned by Petr Vok of Rožmberk to the builder Dominico Cometta in 1598-1602 and protected Latrán from the north.
Near the Red Gate, symbolically guarding the entrance to the first courtyard, a huge ceremonial arch spans Latrán. It houses a corridor that connected the castle interiors with the nearby monastery. The monastery was originally Minorite and now serves the Order of the Knights of the Cross with a Red Star. Construction of the monastery with its Church of Corpus Christi was begun by the Rožmberks in 1350. Later the monastery was rebuilt in Gothic style, and the church was reconstructed into Baroque in 1649 –1681.
The castle connecting corridor measures 900 meters. It leads from the monastery, through the roofs of the townhouses and supporting arch (pictured), to the first castle courtyard. It then spans the bear moat, passes through the 2nd courtyard, and continues into the Upper Castle. From here it leads over the Cloak Bridge and attic of the Baroque theatre, then heads up to the castle gardens. This interesting architectural feature allowed the nobility to stroll comfortably and uninterrupted through the entire castle complex. In the past, the entire passage was probably never fully passable at any one given historical moment.
There are a number of late Gothic and Renaissance houses with interesting decor that should not escape our attention on the street Latrán. These include house No. 53 and No. 39 with its wall mural of the Rožmberk rider. Houses No. 37 and No. 15 are architecturally interesting with their valuable Gothic interior paintings. House No. 54 near the Red Gate belonged to the Schwarzenberg builder, engineer Josef Rosenauer (1735-1804), the builder of the famous Schwarzenberg Navigational Canal, from 1782.
On the left side towards the Vltava River, adjacent to Latrán, lies the New Town (Nové Město), the location of the widow residence of Anna Rožmberk of Rogendorf, mother of the last Rožmberks – Vilém and Petr Vok of Rožmberk. The former residence and its adjoining Renaissance gardens are now part of the Eggenberg brewery.
Above the rooftops of Latrán towers the steeple of the former St. Jost Church. It was likely founded sometime before 1343 on the site of a former chapel. It used to be part of the Rožmberk hospital and poorhouse. In the late 16th century, the church was rebuilt into Renaissance style and later became the property of the Jesuit order. This is probably the reason that in the 18th century, under the reforms of Joseph II, it was abolished and converted into a burgher residence. The high tower with cupola was preserved, today forming one of the landmarks of the historical district.
Latrán terminates at the Barber‘s Bridge, named after the former Barber‘s residence on the left bank just before the bridge.