Sunday, June 3, 2007

Mikulov - near the Austrian border

Mikulov is near the Austrian border, with three landmarks on separate hills - the castle, a ruin of a tower (shown here) and a third ruin. Until we get our own picture up, see the main castle at

The area is so flat that many if not most of the elevated areas have a castle of some sort.

Borders converge, and have moved about during the conflicts of the years, To get to Bratislava from the Czech Republic, it is a natural to go through Mikulov, then Austria (Vienna) to Bratislava just beyond.

Bratislava, Sl

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Trebic - The Jewish Quarter, Moravia

The Jewish Quarter is across the river from the old town at Trebic. It was a thriving community before WWII. Its graveyard is now full of those who died in that time either here or who were brought back, and others either vanished, were exterminated without record, or migrated to Israel or elsewhere. Even the synagogue now is a museum.

The Jewish community was decimated. Zamosti, the Jewish Quarter, now is still large in area, but it is a community of many other people. See

Do seek out these smaller, town cemeteries, rather than yourself to the commercial, pay-to-see ones as in Prague. See the wall around the Prague one? You can't even see in from outside. And the tourist lines snaking through are a distraction. Making money off the dead. Put your own stones of remembrance on the tops at local graves instead. Uninterrupted. See also the ancient cemetery at Worms, Germany at Germany Road Ways.

And here is the Jewish Quarter before WWII - when it was a thriving part of the larger town of Trebic. This is in the synagogue-museum.

Zamosti and the Basilica constitute a World Heritage site, but that is small comfort for what has been lost. See; and See also

To search any of these long links, cut and paste as much as gets you to the site, then find your way further.

The Quarter here is said to be the best preserved in the Czech Republic. Its history is at

The WC - Life's Necessary

The Necessary may be an adventure to find, and it will cost you as well, so become accustomed and leave time. Keep change in your pocket, for the 4-5 cents (in koruna increments) up front. You will not get the key until you pay in many places.

Gas stations have free facilities, however, as do most larger restaurants-cafes. Smaller establishments and public WC's charge.

This is in Telc. Follow the signs wherever they lead. This was out the cafe room, down the stairs, and out the door to the wooden door just before the garden.

I believe this is in Trebic - a public facility, where you get your paper as you pay. Look in the cubbies for the allotment. We carried extra with us. None of this is an issue, just be prepared.

Telc - World Heritage

Kids and fountains. Bottoms up.

See the arcades around the square and the pastels.

Telc is so picturesque that it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Apparently the old wooden city was destroyed by fire, leaving the area relatively open to new post-medieval architectural influences. See Telc's records go back to 1335, but there were earlier settlements there, and it was Italian architects who redid its face in the Renaissance-period 1500's. See

A fine site for Telc is at

See the sgraffito in the top picture, the design on the building, etched, and inked. There is a color beneath, so that when the surface is scraped, the under color shows through. See The pattern at the lower level of the building is common in Eastern Europe. It looks like the shading of stone from a distance, but is really flat. Not three-dimensional stonework at all. It is a high art form in the Czech Republic, see

Cesky Krumlov - Medieval, and unbombed

Cesky Krumlov - A medieval town, as large in area as Dinkelsbuhl or Rothenberg in Germany, I understand.

The large town square, see, shows the tall Marian plague column that commemorates the great epidemic of 1715 - many towns have such columns. At that site, click on the photo gallery and see the 2001 celebration of the US liberation of Cesky Krumlov in WWII. Time to remember the lesser-known fronts. The year 1945 also marked the expulsion of the German population from the area, a common event in occupied Czech areas.

Cesky Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage site. See; and ://

Breakfast: Hot eggs - we call these "pushed eggs" at home, where the whites are set before being pushed around into the yolks, rather than scrambled. We had many servings of pushed eggs in Eastern Europe. Also on the usual menu for breakfast: many kinds of meats and sausages, all with little fat - not the oil slicks we are used to - yoghurt, fruits, cereals, breads, vegetables. Good old mustard and ketchup. Plenty of hotels and rooms, no need for reservations.

Old pub on the water - the Drake and Cock, on the Vltava River, with ducks going by in the foreground. We ate in the square for better views of passers-by. For dinner, try goulash, or pig's knee.

See for the town history. Or go to this site for photos and reproductions from earliest times on, and the military history of the area - no significant battles here, so the buildings are themselves.

A visual feast for Cesky Krumlov is at

Here is a comment that someone left on another of our sites, Gypsies, Roma, Romani:  we did not realize that the two populations blended there.  Here is the comment:   retoque fotografico has left a new comment on your post "Romani in Film":

I was in a town called Cesky Krumlov in souther Czech. The Roma people are completely integrated and live side by side with the Slavs of the Czech republic.

Posted by retoque fotografico to Gypsies, Roma, Romani. Cultural Diaspora. HUMANITIES, HISTORY. at August 6, 2009 2:54 AM

Friday, June 1, 2007

Preparing for the Czech Republic: "Time's Magpie," "The Twelve Little Cakes," and "The Diary of Petr Ginz' - Reading

Preparing for a trip that includes the Czech Republic. Pass by the guidebooks, and to to a country's authors.

1, Just finished "Time's Magpie - A Walk in Prague," by Mila Goldberg, Crown Journeys(Random House) NY 2004.

This is a little book, just 139 pages and perfect for the treadmill. Highlights nuggets about Prague's past and vestiges, not usually noticeable to a passerby from somewhere else.

2. Am now reading "The Twelve Little Cakes," by Dominika Dery, Riverhead Books (Penguin) 2004. This is a recollection of a childhood in Prague during communism, how regular people lived. This one probably can be skimmed once the flavor is in.

3. Next: "The Diary of Petr Ginz." Need to get this one. He was about 14 when he was taken from Prague with other Jews in 1941. He died in Auschwitz, see Poland Road Ways at the Auschwitz post. The New York Times April 10, 2007, offered a review, with his photo on his last streetcar pass, and his sister, Chava Pressburger, with his actual diaries. There are narratives, drawings, other excerpts he found interesting. The review calls him "a child historian," and I am on the list at my local library for it.

UPDATE AUGUST 5, 2007. Much more on Petr Ginz at August 5, 2007, posts here, after our trip: photos of Terezin a/k/a Theresienstadt concentration camp in the Czech Republic, where Petr Ginz and various family members were sent, at differing times , being transported further to Auschwitz or other extermination camps; photos of Prague sites that he refers to in his entries, such as the Prague church where five Czech resistance paratroopers were killed, who had carried out the successful assassination of a high-ranking Nazi official. See those August 5 posts on Prague at War.