Discovering Medieval Bohemia

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 By Zoe Brooks, Czech Tours

I have my perfect job. It combines two of my loves – history especially medieval history and the Czech Republic. Having successfully taken a party of 30 archaeology enthusiasts around some of the sites and sights of South Bohemia, I set up Czech Tours Ltd to offer off-the-shelf and custom-made historical tours to the Czech Republic.

There are currently three tours:

Historic South Bohemia – this is a general historical introduction to the area with an emphasis on medieval and renaissance history.

In the Footsteps of Jan Hus and the Hussite Warriors – culminating in the three-day medieval festival at Tabor, the tour visits castles, towns and other late medieval sites

Medieval Bohemia – a special tour for organised groups created for a bunch of castle fans.

There isn’t enough space here to list all the places we visit, but here are a few:

Tabor - the cradle of the radical Hussites and a beautiful old town – sights include the Hussite Museum, and the town fortifications, Hous Mill

Kozi Hradec - ruined castle where Hus found refuge to write sermons and other works

Trocnov - birthplace of Jan Zizka, the one-eyed military genius and Hussite general

Husinec - birthplace of Jan Hus

Rabi - the Czech Republic’s largest ruined castle and where Zizka was blinded during a siege

Sudomer – site of Zizka’s first battle, where he first developed the use of the fortified wagon

Strakonice Castle – home of the Maltese Knights of St John, foes of the Hussites – includes a visit to cloister and capitular hall with remarkable wall paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries

Cesky Krumlov – a UNESCO World Heritage site with over 300 listed buildings and the second-largest castle in the Czech Republic

Ales Gallery of Gothic Art – remarkable collection of sculpture and paintings from the end of the 13th century to the beginning of the 16th

Zvikov - Known as the King of Castles, Zvikov is one of the most important medieval castles in the Czech Republic.

Ceske Budejovice – sights include the Dominican Monastery (Gothic wallpaintings), and town fortifications.

Jindrichuv Hradec – The Castle has a room decorated foot to ceiling with Gothic wallpaintings and a black kitchen, whilst the Church of St John the Baptist, is a “pearl of the high-Gothic in South Bohemia” with more Gothic frescos

Zlata Koruna Abbey – the best preserved Cistercian monastery in Bohemia.

Zumberk - one of only three extant fortified villages in Europe, includes a visit to an exhibition of traditional folk painted furniture

Kasperk Castle – built by Charles IV, it is a typical example of the Bohemian Gothic castle architecture of the 14th century with its residential palace situated between two towers.

Landstejn Castle – a massive well-preserved Romanesque castle near the Austrian border

For more information visit my website http://www.czechtours.co.uk.

Sharan Newman