One of the most picturesque spots in Český Krumlov is the castle’s Cloak Bridge. The Cloak Bridge – or Plášťový most into Czech – connects the fourth and fifth courtyards and is thus located in the western part of the Krumlov castle. It is constructed with three floors of heavy, massive pillars with a baroque-style passage on top. It is a stunning sight, from both the bridge itself and from below.
From wooden drawbridge to baroque gallery
It all started with a simple wooden drawbridge, which was of course strategically useful to keep enemies out. During more peaceful times, a wooden covered gallery was built over the bridge, connecting the castle to the gardens. A second gallery was built around 1707. One led from the castle to the gardens and the other to the theater built in the fifth courtyard.
The wooden bridge was replaced by a stone bridge in the eighteenth century. It was at that time the highest stone bridge in the Czech Republic. The Cloak Bridge took on the Baroque appearance that we can still see today with statues, arches and plasterwork. The statues are of saints St. Antonín Paduánský, St. Felix Kantaličský, St. Wenceslas and St. Jan Nepomucký. These aren’t the original ones but copies, as the originals are displayed somewhere in the castle.
Connection between the castle, theater and gardens
The Cloak Bridge consists of three parts: three floors of massive pillars below, an open passage that you can freely enter when visiting the bridge, and covered galleries above. It looks like there are three galleries but only two are functional. The lower gallery connects the Masquerade Hall of the castle with the baroque theatre. The gallery to the theater took the prince and his family straight from their castle to the princely box.
The upper gallery leads to the gardens and continues well beyond the theatre. It continues on the roof of the theatre and then a big further to the edge of the gardens. If you stand behind the theater and look up, you will see this last section of the gallery high above you, connecting with the gardens.
This photo from the castle website shows what the galleries look like from the inside and what exactly is in the middle of those two galleries.
Most beautiful viewpoint in Krumlov
The Cloak Bridge is not just beautiful itself, but it also offers one of the best views of Český Krumlov. The bridge was once the highest stone bridge in the Czech Republic when it was built, so you are definitely high enough to have a good view of this picturesque city. We could also visit this viewpoint late at night, when the sun was setting behind the castle and you could see lights rising everywhere. A fairytale-like sight!
Continue reading: these are the 6 best viewpoints of Český Krumlov.
Ten meters past the Cloak Bridge, a doorway leads you to a sort of patio where you have a view of the city similar to that from the Cloak Bridge. It can be quite busy here, as the view is spectacular. So you might want to head there in the early morning as we did with our baby girl. We had both the Cloak Bridge and the patio all to ourselves for two mornings in a row. The door to this viewpoint is closed in the evening and at night. The view here is similar to that of the Cloack Bridge, but just a little bit better, as you can see part of the castle with the castle tower and the Cloak Bridge as well.