Vimperk does not renounce its long and often troubled history. On the contrary: now that history does not have to be twisted any more and the less laudable periods omitted, it becomes a spring of clear water which lends our present existence a better quality.
History speaks to the visitors to Vimperk in many places and through many events held in the course of the whole year. Just seeing the castle above the town reminds one of the times of Vimperk’s founders, the lords of Janovice, and an inspection of the museum brings to life the history of the town and the region, as well as the tradition of printing and glassmaking, the two essential attributes of this beautiful town.
The Gold Trail, which is now owing to the media the most prominent phenomenon related to Vimperk, finally received a dedicated exposition in May 2004. Thanks to the efforts of the Municipal Council, the Mini-museum of the Gold Trail was opened in a newly reconstructed burgher house (No. 8) in the square, portraying the history of the Vimperk branch of the famous medieval trade route. Visitors were virtually flooded with information about the Gold Trail and Vimperk, and could see the original medieval artefacts revealed recently by archaeologists, as well as three-dimensional models. Nowadays is this exposition in the Castle Vimperk.
History-scented are a number of other events which keep Vimperk alive from spring till autumn, attracting visitors. To name just a few, let us mention the Old Czech Shrovetide Carnival, Walks in the Vimperk Region, the Summer Fencing in the Arcades, or the History Week-end at Vimperk Castle. Guaranteed to stick in the memory for a long time are nostalgic special train rides, organised by the Stifter Railway Club of the Šumava, for instance to mark the anniversary of the railway, or the traditional New Year’s Eve ride to Kubova Huť and back. More information is available at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is easy to see Vimperk changing for the better. Many houses are getting their original beautiful facades, new shops, pubs and wine bars crop up, inviting people to come and offering them a pleasant way to spend the day or the evening. The town is alive with sport, particularly cycling, which now enjoys worldwide popularity. Vimperk also has a tradition of ice hockey. Although the local team has dropped out of the second national league, the performance of the players and the response of the fans, headed by a group of buglers, create an unforgettable, heated atmosphere at the matches. Training sessions are open to the public, and even those of the juniors are definitely worth attending. Besides, there are regular slots for public skating.
Cultural life is gaining in intensity, with music events becoming particularly frequent. In June, the town hosts a traditional get-together of children’s and teenage brass bands with hundreds of participants, and music does not stop even in July, when trumpets, horns or trombones can be heard out of open windows or at evening concerts. It is because Vimperk is visited by scores of promising young musicians, some of them already professionals, taking part in brass music performance workshops. An experience of particular interest is represented by the Vimperk majorette shows, accompanying various festivals or competitions. The Municipal Civic Centre offers a number of other music events, ranging from folk and country music, to musicals, or modern disco. The tones of music flow from the square through the streets up to the silhouette of the majestic castle of the lords of Janovice, spreading the news far and wide that people in this beautiful corner of the country on the edge of the forests of the Šumava are enjoying their lives again and are prepared to take action to make them even more enjoyable.
This atmosphere is picked up by the visitors to the region, making them come more often and with more expectation. For Vimperk has been, and once again is, a gateway to the Šumava, this unique world of silent mountains and forests, with nature so intact that it hardly has a match in Europe. Happily, this world is no more cut in halves by the beast of politics, and a pilgrim does not have to turn back halfway through the journey. The Czech Šumava and the Bavarian Bayerischer Wald are a single unity again, as created by Nature. A growing number of border crossing points remove the artificial political barriers in planning cross-border tours, leaving only the limits imposed by the elements of nature.
If you want to leave behind our present bustling world and step into this wonderful island of unspoilt beauty, you can use as your starting point Vimperk – a town that is coming back to life and sending a warm welcome to its visitors.