The Cistercian monastery in Zlatá Koruna is one of the most beautiful monasteries in South Bohemia. The 13th century building is located deep in the valley of the Vltava river. Parts of the historical monastery are open to the public. The tour takes you to the little convent, the chapel of Guardian Angels, the convent with cloister and is concluded in the monumental Church of the Ascension.
The former abbey in Zlatá Koruna, located 8 km (5 miles) north of Český Krumlov, is one of the best preserved Cistercian monasteries in Bohemia. It was declared a national cultural treasure in 1995.
The monastery was founded by the king Přemysl Otakar II as an expression of gratitude to God for helping him win the battle of Kressenbrunn. The original name of the monastery was Sancta Corona Spinea (The Holy Thorn Crown) but it was later changed to Zlatá Koruna (Golden Crown) which was probably referring to the monastery's wealth. The surrounding village is named after it. The monastery is oriented to the north and is surrounded by the Vltava river from three sides. The architectural centre of the monastery is formed by a three-aisled basilica. The convent with cloister is connected to the basilica from the south side. The buildings of the Abbey and a brewery are located on the north of the monastery. The Chapel of Guardian Angels was built in 1379 which makes it the oldest building of the monastery complex.
Přemysl Otakar II invited monks from the Austrian Cistercian order to the monastery in 1263 to help him secure his influence in South Bohemia, where the Witigonen (lords of Vítkov) gained power. The Witigonen didn't like the expansion of the monastery, they raided and seriously devastated the place. The monastery was reconstructed with the support of the king Václav II and became quite wealthy and influential during the 14th century. The age of prosperity came to an end when the monastery was raided and burnt down by the Hussites in 1420. Later on Oldřich II took over the monastery and the village of Zlatá Koruna. Over the next three hundred years the number of monks declined. It was the last Abbot Bohumír Bylanský who improved its condition. However, the monastery was shut down by the Emperor Joseph II. The Schwarzenbergs bought the buildings and rented them till the beginning of the 20th century. It was taken over by the Gestapo in 1940 and then confiscated by the state after the war. It has been in the administration of the State Scientific Library in České Budějovice since 1979.