South Moravia is a region steeped in history. Every kilometer is a historical gem! Whether it is Znojmo with the dominant Rotunda of St. Kateřiny or Telčí listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here is just a fraction of the beautiful historical places that are definitely worth seeing.
Vranov nad Dyjí Castle
The state castle is the dominant feature of the village of Vranov nad Dyjí. It is another building, just like Bítov Castle and Znojmo Castle, in the system of defensive castles along the border with Austria. The first mention of the original castle comes from the year 1100, when it was owned by the princes of Znojmo. In 1525, it was acquired by Jan of Pernštejn. At that time, the fortifications were strengthened. The next owner at the end of the 16th century was Maxmilián of Ditrichštejn, under whose ownership the castle was surrounded by Renaissance buildings. In 1618, the castle passed into the hands of the Althan family, who destroyed it after the 30-year war and rebuilt it into a magnificent baroque castle. In 1793, knight Josef Hilgartner from Lilienborn bought the castle, and classicist modifications took place under him. The so-called Hall of the Ancestors and the chapel are the dominant features of the castle. The castle is surrounded by beautiful nature.
Bítov Castle is located about 2 km from the village of Bítov. the written mention is from the years 1061-1067. It lies on a promontory surrounded by the Želetavka River, near its confluence with the Dyjí, in the canyon of the so-called Moravian Switzerland. The originally wooden castle was replaced by a stone castle - from the beginning of the 13th century. only the western face tower has survived. Bítov used to be the center of one of the six Moravian regions. After the extinction of the Przemysl family, it came (1307) into the hands of the Lichtemburg family for more than 200 years. The core of today's Chapel of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (1334), the foundation of today's palace, the two entrance towers with gable wall and south wing was created behind them. After the extinction of the Lichtemburks, the Strejn family from Švarcenava, the Jank family from Vlašimi (the founders of the local armory) took their place here, and between 1811 and 1863 the dilapidated castle was modified to its present-day neo-Gothic form under the Counts of Daun. Noteworthy are the palatial Neo-Gothic interiors with a collection of illusory paintings imitating wood, stone or stucco. The interiors are complemented by a collection of paintings of the so-called second wave of German and Austrian romantics - from the castle Rájce nad Svitavou (Schnorr from Carolsfeld, Russ, Fendi, Camphausen). The last owner until 1945 was the industrialist baron Jiří Haas from Haasenfels, under his son Jiří the younger, the castle was transformed into the largest private zoo on the continent at the time. The most sought after today is a collection of 51 stuffed dogs of all kinds.
Cornštejn castle ruins
The ruin is another in the system of fortifications protecting the border of Moravia. It was built in the first half of the 14th century, when it was in the possession of the lords of Lichtenburg, later in 1464 it was conquered by the army of George of Poděbrady. The new owners Krajířová from Krajek soon reconstructed it and sold it again to Bítov in 1523. With the development of firearms, the fortifications of Cosnštejn were also improved. However, this did not last long, and at the end of the 16th century, the uninhabited castle began to fall into disrepair. Already in 1612, it is listed as deserted.
Frejštejn castle ruins
Relatively large remains of masonry have survived from the ruins to this day. The experience of it is somewhat devalued by the dense vegetation that permeates the entire area. Its disadvantage is also a certain separation from the most tourist-attractive places near the Vranovská dam. The first report about the castle dates back to 1250. Sometime between 1283 and 1286, the castle was captured by the Austrians as a place of robbers. The castle has been deserted since the 15th century.
Znojmo - Rotunda of St. Catherine
The rotunda stands in the second courtyard of the Znojmo castle as the only witness of the oldest times of the city of Znojmo and perhaps the oldest standing building in our territory. The Rotunda has been included in the list of national cultural monuments since 1962. It ranks third in the order of importance of monuments in our territory, right behind Prague Castle and Karlštejn. The inner walls of the rotunda are plastered and decorated with murals, which, in addition to traditional biblical themes, present a gallery of Přemysl's rulers with the central motif of Přemysl Oráč's calling to the princely throne. It is accessible to the public according to the current climatic conditions.
Znojmo - Znojmo Castle
The original seat of the Znojmo regional princes of Přemyslov was founded in the first half of the 11th century by Prince Břetislav. At the beginning of the 18th century, there was a medieval castle on the foundations. a baroque castle was built. Now a permanent exhibition "From the History of Znojmo" is installed here, which presents the development of the prehistoric settlement of the region, the monuments of medieval and Renaissance Znojmo, the art of its temples, a collection of style furniture, old prints, extinct crafts, Vrana and Znojmo ceramics, military and hunting weapons, sharpshooters targets. It also includes a lapidary and a castle underground. A permanent exhibition of birds of prey is located in the castle moat, which separates the castle itself from the castle precincts. Znojmo falconers regularly present demonstrations of training, flight and hunting of raptors here. The station for disabled raptors in the castle moat was built in 2003 with the support of the city of Znojmo. Predators that cannot be released back into the wild are mainly housed here. Demonstrations of the training of birds of prey are always held from April 1 in the grounds of the Znojmo Castle. Different types of diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey can be seen here, as well as different types of their training.
Znojmo - Town Hall Tower
The current town hall tower was built on the site of an older tower in 1445 – 1448 by Mikuláš from Sedlešovice. Despite its age, the tower has lost none of its charm. It is 70 m high with a finely shaped green roof, formed by nine other smaller turrets. It is accessible all year round and in good weather you can see the 50 km distant Pálavské vrchy or even the 200 km distant Alps.
Znojmo - Znojmo underground
The system of intertwining corridors under the entire medieval city has a truly European dimension with its total length of 30 km. The corridors, which run several floors above each other, were carved in the rock between the 13th and 17th centuries and were well supplied with water from the so-called Jesuit aqueduct. They served as food stores, but also as shelters for residents in times of danger to the city, and were also connected to the castle. The sightseeing route starts at the house on Slepičí trh and is 1 km long. The novelty is a new tour route where fairy-tale characters, an alchemist's workshop, living rocks and a demonstration of prison dungeons are installed.
Znojmo - Church of St. Nicholas
Church of St. Mikuláš was founded by Leopold, the regional prince of Znojmo, in 1106. In 1335, a large part of the town burned down, including the Mikulášský church. Three years after that, Charles IV had a new church built. The construction of the temple was completed only in the first half of the 16th century. The local builder Mikuláš from Sedlešovice also played a significant role in the construction. Inside the temple there are a number of late Gothic monuments. On the walls behind the main altar are the remains of frescoes with passion themes and the legend of St. Achatius. Altar paintings of St. Families, Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. Šebestiána, Bread Madonna from around 1500. Near the baptismal font, there is a glass coffin with the remains of St. Boniface, an early Christian martyr. There was an old cemetery near the church, which was abolished at the end of the 17th century. It also included the recently explored medieval ossuary, which is located between the church of St. Nicholas and St. Wenceslas Chapel.
Znojmo - Premonstratensian monastery in Louka
The former Premonstratensian monastery in Louka was one of the most important monastery complexes in Central Europe for six centuries. It was founded by Prince Konrád Ota (a Czech prince from 1189) with his mother Maria in 1190, a Premonstratensian monastery that became one of the most important institutions in Moravia and played an important role in the history of Znojmo.
Only three portals, the lower part of the semicircular apse and a spacious Romanesque crypt, divided by six pillars into two naves, have been preserved from the original abbey church, which was a Romanesque three-aisled basilica. The church itself carries elements of all building styles up to the Baroque style. During the Hussite Wars, it was destroyed together with the monastery in 1425, but was soon restored. Next to the church are the remains of a cloister from the second half of the 15th century. Further modifications were made in the 16th and 17th centuries, of which the Renaissance chapel of St. Sebastian on the floor above the sacristy with an altar from 1580.
In its present form, the church is a Baroque building from the second half of the 17th century. Prokop Diviš, the inventor of the first grounded lightning rod, worked in the Louck monastery. In 1851, the Military Engineering Academy was moved here from Vienna, which operated here until 1869. From then on, the entire area was used continuously as a barracks until 1993.
Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou Castle
The baroque castle Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou belongs to the most powerful architecture of the first half of the 18th century. here and in Europe. The original medieval fortress was at the end of the 16th century. rebuilt into a Renaissance castle, which was preserved in the masonry of the current Baroque building. The castle was rebuilt in the Baroque style during the reign of the most important family that owned the Jaroměřice estate, the Questenberks, in the years 1700 - 1737. The reconstruction project was developed by the well-known Austrian architect J. Prandtauer. A French-style castle garden was created at the same time as the buildings. On the other side of the river Rokytná, on the banks of which the park is located, a large part in the English style continues.
Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou Castle
The ruins of the Gothic castle Nový Hrádek are located on a rocky promontory, close to the state border. The area of the ruins consists of two castles, the older structure with a double oval ring of fortification walls and the so-called front castle, which was built gradually from the 15th century. from the advanced fortifications. Conquered and defeated by the Swedes in the Thirty Years' War. The older part has since been in ruins, the front castle was later modified as a hunting lodge. From Hrádek there is a wonderful view of the meandering Dyja.