Sunday, September 13, 2009


In May 1942, a high ranking Nazi was killed by two Czech resistance fighters. Hitler declared that any village harboring the resistance fighters be punished by executing all of the men and transporting all of the women to a concentation camp. The children who looked German were "Aryanized" and placed in SS families; the rest were sent to the extermination camp at Chelmno. In all, 340 people from Lidice died: 192 men killed; 60 women died in the camps; and 88 children were gassed. Lidice was chosen arbitrarily. It could have been any town. Click here for more details.
The few who returned formed a new settlement overlooking the site of the destroyed village. There is a peaceful memorial and museum there. Of the original village, all that remains is the outline of the village church.
Lidice is a place for contemplation, not picture taking. If you'd like to see more, there are photos that I took during a 2001 visit in my Fotki album.
And so ends the tale of our trip to the Czech Republic in 2009. We hope we can return again in the near future to spend more time with our new relatives and learn more about this beautiful country.


Cousin Martin suggested we stop in Bezdruzice on the way back from Marienske Lazne. His mother recommended a glass exhibition in the Chateau Bezdruzice, the building at the top of the hill. Unfortunately, we arrived too late to gain entrance. The surroundings were interesting. We hope to return one day. The chateau apparently rents out rooms for overnight guests. It would be a lovely place to stay. This is the entrance to the courtyard. Click here to see views of the gallery and interior of the chateau.
Here's Lloyd in the courtyard with some very modern sculpture.
This stonecarving was on the castle grounds.


It was a hot Sunday afternoon as we drove from Prachatice to Plzen, so we pulled off the main road into the tiny town of Nepomuk for some ice cream and a cold drink. The tiny town center holds a statue of Saint John Nepomuk, who was born here around 1340. Radio Prague told the interesting story of the Nepomuk area on 9 September 2009; click here to read about Saint John, graves that glow when someone’s about to die, a landscape littered with the petrified cattle of a greedy pagan and the ghost of an evil musketeer who walks the earth with the still-ferocious spectre of his dog.
Who knew? We spent only a few peaceful moments enjoying cold refreshments on the tiny deck of the café.


The town of Prachatice dates from the 11th century. Its location on the Golden Path, an important salt trade route beginning in Passau, Bavaria, and a 13th century grant that gave it sole rights to buy and store the salt provided its prosperity initially. Over the years it was ransacked, plundered and burned, and sold from one powerful family to another. Today it is supported by machine engineering, electrotechnical companies, and timber processing. It is the birthplace of John Nepomuk Neumann (1811-1860), the first American bishop to be canonized.

This signpost is in the town square. A building dating to 1649.
This gallery on the square is decorated with faux stone, painted.

The most amazing buildings in the square are decorated in the sgraffito technique. This storefront is a good example of the delicacy of some of the work.

One side of the square houses the old and new city buildings, a combination of warm stone and gray sgraffito.

The building on the left has a painted stucco front and intricate sgraffito on the side. Lloyd likes the dormers; he says they look like sleepy eyes.
This is what's around the corner -- an elephant!

We stayed in the Hotel Koruna (Crown) in Prachatice. Lloyd and George are parking the car to unload our suitcases. The hotel is tucked away on a little side alley off the square.

This is the alley beyond the front door.
The pub in the hotel. Great inspiration for minis.


Although the great Catholic reformer, Jan Hus, was burned at the stake in 1415, he can be considered the spiritual cofounder of Tabor, along with Jan Zizka, who led the Hussite forces and is considered the greatest warrior of Czech history. Zizka Square is surrounded by interesting Bohemian Renaissance style buildings. Here also is the Dean Church of Lord's Conversion on Mount Tabor (a biblical site for which the town is named). The buildings have marvelous facades. The one on the left looks like a wedding cake.

Another side of the square.

The stone blocks on the building in the center back are in a sgraffito technique that decorates many buildings around the square.

I really like the colors and clean design of this building.
Another building decorated with the sgraffito technique.

Here's a detail of the sgraffito blocks. You can see how the top layer was scratched away, revealing the darker layer below.

Here is more intricate sgraffito patterns on the old city hall.

In one of the narrow side roads, I spotted this wrought iron work. What graceful burglar bars!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Český Krumlov

Český Krumlov is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It sits on a double bend in the Vlatava (Moldau) River and boasts a magnificent castle that perches on a high ridge overlooking the town. The castle tower can be seen from all over the valley. It is interesting to note that much of the detail on the tower is painted. As you walk along the ridge, from one part of the castle to another, this view can be seen through a low wall.

We were there on a warm, sunny August weekend, and the Bohemians were having a grand time splashing and boating in the river.
At the highest end of the palace grounds is this beautiful fountain.
Here are more examples of the faux painting found everywhere in this castle. The huge "stones" in the bear's moat (another signature feature of the castle), are not real.
Can you tell what's real and what's painted in this picture of a window?
The sundial is interesting and an accurate timekeeper. But compare the two windows.
This courtyard is entirely faux painted.
The slight difference in color indicates where restoration was recently completed. The camera shows a great difference, but to the eye, it may have been just a trick of lighting.

Kutna Hora - Saint Barbora's Church

The Church of Saint Barbora [spelled Barbara in English] is one of the most famous Gothic churches in Europe. It is a UNESCO Heritage Site. It was begun in 1388 with a design of epic proportion but was not completed until 1905. Construction was dependent on the prosperity of the local silver mines, which became much less productive. Mining silver and minting coins was the primary source of income. The only non-religious statue in the church is this one of a miner wearing the hooded cloak the miners wore.
Some frescoes depicting the secular life of the medieval mining town have been partially preserved.

The stained glass windows are magnificent. This is just one of more than a dozen in the church, each one a magnificent depiction of a meaningful scene.

I was particularly impressed with the wood carving in the church. The end of each pew had a different design.

I spotted this facade as we walked toward the old mint, where our little band opted not to tour but to sit in the shade and drink a Coke.