Holašovice – from Ghost Village to World Fame

Abandoned after WWII and repopulated again in the 1990s this tiny village has something unique that you can’t find anywhere in the world. Its architecture is so special that Holašovice made it to world fame with its registration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Czech Republic. Travelling in Czech Republic or South Bohemia? Holašovice should be on your bucket list. Read further to find out what’s so special about this places and why Holašovice became a UNESCO site.

Read here why you should visit Holašovice when travelling in Czech Republic.Click To Tweet

white house with yellow lines and geraniums on the windows, a wooden water pump in front, Holasovice, Czech Republic, South Bohemia

Read more: My 4-day itinerary in South Bohemia, Czech Republic.

What is so special about the tiny Holašovice?

The village is tiny, so tiny that you can see the whole of it standing at one corner of the village. There are only 23 houses and 140 people living there. And still this petite village in South Bohemia has made it to the world scene. In 1998 Holašovice was registered on the List of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Czech Republic for its unique and beautifully preserved 19th century South Bohemian Folk Baroque architecture.

white homestead with flowers in front; houses in Holasovice South Bohemia

one white house with blue ornaments and one pink with grey ornaments on the facades and a lot of geraniums hanging from the windows, houses in UNESCO village Holasovice

What is Folk Baroque architecture?

Folk Baroque or Rural Baroque is an architectural style typical for the villages in Central Europe, and specifically in South Bohemia, which you won’t find anywhere else. It emerged in the 1820s and reached its height in the 1860s when the rural areas of Central Europe were thriving. The farmers were tearing down their wooden houses and barns and building more stable brick ones. The gables of the houses are beautifully decorated with volutes and other stylized ornaments depicting the owner’s initials or profession.

a spiral stucco ornament in yellow on a green background; a volute detail
Volute ornament – Folk Baroque
two white house with ornamented facades with spirals and decorative ornaments, South Bohemian Folk Baroque in Holasovice
Typical facades – Folk Baroque – Holasovice

A bit of history…

For the first time the name of Holašovice was mentioned in the 13th century. The 16th century brought no go good to the small village, when only 2 people from the Czech-speaking population survived the plague of 1520. In the centuries thereafter, the village started to revive and was settled again by Bavarians and Austrians. In the aftermath of WWII, as all Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia with a decree of the communist government, the place was deserted.

After being for almost half a century a ghost village, in the 1990s the village was restored and repopulated again. Although there’s a dark side attached to the history of Holašovice, it helped the place to survive the communist regime without being destroyed and turned into a model co-operative socialist village, or whatever they might have come up with.

a bench, trees, a street and houses in various colours with ornamented facades, Holasovice in South Bohemia, Czech Republic

a small pond with white houses at the background and hanging green tree branches in the foreground, the pond in Holasovice in South Bohemia, Czech Republic

Things to do in Holašovice

When you arrive in Holašovice, I strongly recommend visiting the Tourist Information Centre. There’s a small ethnographic exhibition there and old pictures of how the place looked like before the restoration.

old farm and household tools from the 19th and 18 century in an ethnographic exhibition; Holasovice - tourist information centre

There’s also a miniature model of the village, which will give you an idea of how big actually the farmsteads are. From the street we can only see the beautiful ornamented facades, but behind them there are barns and sheds and residential parts. All farmsteads are connected with each other on the street side with walls and gated entrances and are facing the village green.

miniature model of a village with houses and barns and farmyards, model of Holasovice

There’s a small chapel and a pond. Unfortunately, you can’t visit the farmsteads, as there are people living there. However, one of the farmsteads is turned into a museum (Selský dvůr at No. 6), which is open for public.

There isn’t much to do in the village, so I would I recommend planning about 2 hours for your visit, unless you decide to grab a bite at one of the two restaurants in Holašovice – Jihočeská hospoda at No. 18 (low season open only for dinner) or Špejchar u Vojty at No. 19.

a white house with a lot of red flowers in front and a sign museum; the museum house in Holasovice UNESCO Czech Republic
Museum house in Holasovice

How to get to Holašovice?

You can easily get to Holašovice from České Budějovice. There’s a direct bus line from the main bus station in České Budějovice. It takes about half an hour. You can check here for buses. As a destination type in Holašovice/Jankov.

If you are travelling around by car in South Bohemia, Holašovice is only at 17 km from České Budějovice, so you have to include it on your itinerary.

a green patch with three village houses; Holasovice

Are there other places with Folk Baroque architecture?

Holašovice, however, is not the only village in South Bohemia where you can admire the Folk Baroque. There’s a whole lot of them, but Holašovice is the best preserved one. When we were travelling around in South Bohemia, we’ve stopped also in Plástovice and Malé Chrášťany. Two absolutely adorable places, without the glossiness of being UNESCO heritage sites, a bit weathered, but so real. And that’s not all. There are a few more villages in the so-called PodKlety region where the typical South Bohemian Folk Baroque is preserved – Vodice, Záboří, Břehov, Čertyně, Dobčice, Krnín, Lipanovice, Mahouš, Rojšín, Třešňový Újezdec, Vitějovice, Zbudov, Zvěřetice.

Isn’t that a great idea for a road trip?

an old chapel and an old house in peach colour, houses in Plastovice in South Bohemia, Czech Republic
Plastovice, Podkleti Region, South Bohemia
a cobbled stone path leading through and open gate to an inside yard; Male Chrastany South Bohemia
Behind the gates – Male Chrastany
a light green house with white ornaments on the facade in typical Rural Baroque Style, Plastovice in South Bohemia, Czech Republic
Plastovice – South Bohemian Rural Baroque
the inside of a farmyard with long farm buildings turned into residential places; Male Chrastany
Farm yard – Male Chrastany
two blue windows open on a red house with a flower pot on one of the windows; a house in Male Chrastany
Male Chrastany – it’s all about the pink

Where to stay in Holašovice?

You would be surprised but you can still stay for the night at Holašovice. Do you remember the restaurant I mentioned above Špejchar u Vojty? They also have a pension.  So, why not spend a night there?

Check here for the availability and prices of Špejchar u Vojty.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. If you book your hotel using the link above immediately after you have visited my page, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. 

I visited Holašovice and the villages Plástovice and Malé Chrášťany as a part of a press trip organized by the South Bohemian Tourism Board on invitation by Czech Tourism, where all accommodation, meals and activities were provided by the Tourism Board and their partners. However, all opinions expressed in this post are mine. 

Already in love with Holašovice? Pin this post for later!

yellow house with pink geraniums and overlay text: Discover Holasovice UNESCO World Heritage Site in Czech Republic

Have you visited Holašovice? What do you think about it? Share your experience below in the comments! Questions? No, worries. Ask them and I will try to help you.

About Daniela

Daniela is the creator and writer of this travel blog. A writer by nature and occupation and traveller by heart, Daniela will take you to all forgotten corners of Europe and even beyond. She travels with her partner, but his only role is to be the greatest fan of this blog. To learn more, check out the About section.

1 thought on “Holašovice – from Ghost Village to World Fame”

  1. Holašovice looks like a true gem in the Czech Republic. I admit I didn’t know about it when I visited the country – but it’s a reason to go back and discover it. Love the architecture!


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.