Monday, August 6, 2012

Telč, Czech Republic

Telč, in southern Moravia, is halfway between Prague and Vienna.  It's 41 km (25 miles) from Třebíč.  The town was founded in the 13th century.  It is home to around 6,000 people.  Telč is one of the most beautiful towns in ČŘ.

Telč was on the crossroads of the merchant routes between Bohemia, Moravia and Austria.  In 1530 there was a huge fire that destroyed much of the town.

So rather than using using wood again, the town was rebuilt using stone.  Eventually, Telč was surrounded by walls.  Three large ponds were built that almost encircle the entire town.

The town's main square is famous for its 16th century houses.  Every house is distinctive.  North of the Alps, this is one of the best places to see Renaissance architecture.

Many of the houses did not have their own wells.  So until the mid-20th century, the pump, in the middle of the main square, was the main source of drinking water.

The plague column was built from 1716 to 1720.  The statue of St. Margaret was built at the end of the 17th century.

The Gothic castle was built at the end of the 14th century.  In 1550 it was renovated in to a Renaissance chateau.

The remains of the old steam mill are outside of the town.  It was first mentioned back in 1533.  In 1825 it became a dye-house, spinning and weaving mill.  In 1945, it was confiscated by the communist government and it became a grain mill until 1957 and then was used as a warehouse.  Since 2003, it has been on the list of endangered monuments in CŘ.

There is also a small Jewish cemetery outside of the town that was built in 1879 - 1880.  There are around 200 or so tombstones with inscriptions in Czech, German and Hebrew.  The cemetery was partly vandalized during and after the war.  The oldest tombstone dates back to the end of the 19th century.

In 1992, Telč's historic center was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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