Litomysl; the birth town of the famous Czech Composer, Smetana

Masa Mesic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Litomysl lies in the Czechia’s Bohemia region, at around 130 kilometers east from the capital, Prague. Though the name of the town might not mean a lot for some people, it is a popular place with the fans of classical music. Litomysl is the birth town of the famous Czech composer Bedrich Smetana.  

Smetana started playing the piano and composing from an early age. Some of his most renowned work includes composing Czech national operas;  one of his most famous symphonic poems is called Vltava (The Moldau). Even if you don’t listen to classical music, you most probably have heard this one!

Smetana Litomysl Festival & Litomysl Castle

It was in his honor that the annual Smetana Litomysl Festival was born. Over the years it has become the largest and the second oldest music festival in the entire country. The festival includes everything from gala concerts, opera performances and much more.    

The annual classical music festival, which takes place around the end of June and July of each year, is hosted at the renaissance Litomysl Castle. It has been the seat of the festival since 1946. The Litomysl Zamek (castle) is an important place for Czechia and should definitely be visited when in Litomysl. Due to its history and cultural significance, it has been granted the title of a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999. I would recommend that you sign up and take a guided tour of the castle, which lasts about an hour. You can also choose to wander about by yourself, although you might miss out on some essential details.   

Picture © Credits to istock/milangonda

Bedrich Smetana’s Home

Since Litomysl is Bedrich Smetana’s birth town, you should take the opportunity and visit Smetana’s birth home, which is also a former castle brewery. Smetana’s home is a fascinating place to visit, as it will bring you back to 1824; the house décor and furniture exist since those times. 

Picture © Credits to stock/johan10

Portmoneum Museum

Picture © Credits to rml

Even if museums and cultural sites are not your "cup of tea," the Portmoneum Museum is an exception. It was painted by Josef Vachal, who was a very talented painter and author- to the point that he published books with his own, hand-made paper! It was in the 1920s that Vachal started with his abstracted wall paintings, which are truly difficult to describe; they portray his beliefs, opinions, and ideology. The paintings also include writing and citations from his work. The Portmoneum Museum got its name back, which originates from Vacahl’s novel called “Bloody Novel”, in 1924. Over the years, the paintings had been damaged, some even lost and partly destroyed by a fire. It took many years of restoration and work. It was only in 1993 that the museum opened its doors for the first time. 

Picture © Credits to rml

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