Dalibor Carda: Cesky Krumlov is a fantastic fairy-tale town
Interview with the Mayor of Cesky Krumlov, Czechia
- June 18, 2020 11:30
- Aseniya Dimitrova
Dalibor Carda has been mayor of Cesky Krumlov for 10 years. He is a teacher by profession and apart from his job as а mayor, he works as a primary school teacher and was the principal of the same school for 20 years (1990 -2010). He is 64 years old.
Mr Carda, would you tell us a few words about Český Krumlov: what are your preferred places, what do you like the most about your town?
Cesky Krumlov is a little town with 13000 inhabitants, but it is a very important touristic place in the Czech Republic. Over the past 12 months, 3 million tourists came to Cesky Krumlov - a record number for the last few years.
I like the historical centre of our town very much, as I find historical buildings very beautiful - their facades with fantastic wall paintings, beautiful pictures of the Madonna, with gorgeous yards and others. I also like the green areas around the whole town, in which I have been living for 38 years.
Maintaining and preserving the cultural heritage of the town, the centre of which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List must be a great challenge. How do you manage to do this in a sustainable manner?
The historical centre was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992. During the past 28 years everyone, including the inhabitants of Cesky Krumlov and different owners reconstructed all the houses according to the historical style. This was all supervised by conservationists.
Now Cesky Krumlov is a fantastic fairy-tale town. In the last 10 years, we managed to reconstruct many unique buildings. For example, the Museum foto atelier Seidl, the Minorite monastery and clarishen, the synagogue and many others.
In all these reconstructed buildings there is now normal life, with exhibitions, including interactive, concerts, small cafés. Above our town, there is a very big castle which stands like the crown of a royal. Our castle is the second biggest in the Czech Republic after the castle in Prague.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused dramatic changes in the ways we live, work and communicate with each other. What are the challenges ahead for your municipality and community, in your opinion?
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, there were many tourists in our town, from all over the world. Every year, around 18 thousand buses come, as well as a large number of individual tourists.
Last year, our town was visited by 3 million tourists. Many inhabitants of Cesky Krumlov work in the tourism sector. It boasts approximately 3500 workers, in restaurants, in hotels, in pensions, in transport and other tourism-related industries.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, the town was left without people. All restaurants, hotels and pensions were closed. Now, the town faces large economic losses.
It is a great challenge to restart the new tourist season in a better way. Many people knew how important tourism is for the economy of Cesky Krumlov. We have to prepare for tourists from the Czech Republic and we have prepared new programs and new experiences.
The coronavirus crisis caused a significant decrease in the municipal budget. Which investments will be put on hold and which will continue, despite the changed circumstances?
The town’s budget is of 14,8 million euros a year. The pandemic means 1,8 million euros loss. We are going to look for possibilities and new ways to cope with the loss.
We do not want to limit the investment in our town. We must reconstruct many things for our inhabitants, we have to modernize part of the equipment. There is a lot to do.
Your municipality is currently implementing an EU co-funded project, aimed to develop Government services and another one aimed to improve the efficiency of public administration. Could you tell us how will the citizens benefit from these projects in the future?
We prepared an entire electronic administration for out inhabitants with many forms that people need from the municipality made available online and I hope that our constituents will be satisfied with the results. We already communicate in many situations with them through the internet.
One does not always have to go to the office. Many things are easier. This is the future.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievements since stepping into office?
We are working on the modernization of our town hall office. We have hired many young IT specialists. We have reconstructed the building of the town hall and we modernized the town's traffic.
The biggest investment during the past 10 years was the reconstruction of Minorite and clarish monastery and the complete reconstruction of the bus station.
All inhabitants of Cesky Krumlov have been waiting for those projects for a very long time. Now, we have to work on the restart of tourism.
Is there any project or an innovative practice from your town that you believe is worth sharing with the other mayors in the European Union?
I believe that the reconstructions of historical monuments and historical buildings can be given as an example. The town has historical character and beautiful natural surroundings.
We are also trying to introduce a participatory budget. This will allow citizens to submit and select projects for their living environment and receive funding from the budget of the town.
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