Since I’ve been a homebody the last 5 weeks due to the COVID-19, I decided to quench my wanderlust, and use this free time, to post something here by reminiscing about the road-trip we took back in May, 2018. As some of you may already know, my partner and I like to take a road-trip each year to visit world heritage sites along the way. This time we decided to drive through south-eastern Czech Republic. There are in total 8 world heritage sites in south-east Czech Republic spanning the regions of Vysočina, Pardubice, Olomouc, Zlín and south Moravian. On our trip, we managed to visit only 5 of them because of time constraints. We started our journey in Vienna, visiting Třebíč, Litomyšl, Olomouc, Brno and Lednice over the next four days.
At a glance Pronunciation: Trehbeach Virtual Tour: Yes Population: approx. 36000 (as of 2020) To note: About the same latitude as Vancouver
After a 3 hour drive, we arrived in the town of Třebíč, which is home to the UNESCO heritage site Jewish Quarter and St Procopius’ Basilica, which as the name suggests, consists of two different cultural landmarks. The Jewish Quarter includes the Třebíč ghetto as well as the Jewish cemetery. The Jewish community was also part of the German-speaking minority of this region. We arrived just in time for our tour through the Jewish Quarter which we had booked through the Třebíč tourist center. The tour began at the Rear Synagogue, and at first we were led through the Seligmann Bauer house which is next door.
When you walk through the front door, you first step into a 1930s store-front. This was a very unique display for me. It looked like a storefront one would see in a period film. We continued upstairs where the kitchen, dining area and bedrooms were located. There was no running water in the building during the inter-war period, which was highlighted by the carefully placed washing tubs and wash basins throughout the apartment. Walking through the house was like traveling back in time. The house to me felt so cozy, even though it was sparsely decorated. The closets left an impression on me. Even though they were small, they weren’t overly stuffed. Of course, it could just be that the exhibit wasn’t really representing the times, but I read somewhere that before WWII, people didn’t really own that many clothes. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of these rooms, but luckily the city of Třebíč has provided a virtual tour of the house. Just click here for the semi-real deal!
After the tour of the house, we continued on to the Rear Synagogue which was built in the Baroque style. The walls of the Synagogue are painted with beautiful murals and also have Hebrew scripture written on them. This was the first time I had ever been inside a synagogue!
From the synagogue we walked through the quarter, taking in the serenity of the quiet lanes. We visited the old ceremonial baths as well. There were memorials to the victims of the Holocaust, in the form of small bronze squares, embedded in the cobblestones throughout the quarter. After our tour, we decided to walk up to the Jewish cemetery. The road up to the cemetery provided some really nice views of the Jewish quarter, the Basilica and the city center of Třebíč.
When we reached the cemetery, I was surprised to see that it was well-preserved and well-maintained. There were many beautiful tombstones there, but it didn’t sit well with me to take pictures. The virtual tour does have some nice shots of the cemetery though.
After paying our respects, we made our way back down to get something refreshing to cool-off. We found a cozy little cafe, where we drank some refreshing lemonade and waited for our guided tour of the St. Procopius’ Basilica. The namesake of Saint Procopius, the basilica was built on the site of an existing chapel of the Benedictine monastery. Saint Procopius, a Bohemian hermit, was canonized in 1204.
The basilica has a very interesting history. At one point, it was used as a stable for horses, with the crypts being used to store beer! Today, it is used as a place of worship, for which it was originally intended. The murals inside are well-preserved. In fact, to date, they are some of most complete murals I’ve ever seen! Also, some of the timber used in the ceiling, were from the old chapel which was at the site previously.
In my view, Třebíč is a testament to two different cultures co-existing in harmony, despite the fact that the city was indeed segregated along the lines of religion. It was definitely worth visiting Třebíč, and now you can visit it virtually too!
After the tour of St. Procopius’ Basilica, we drove on to Litomyšl, where we stayed the night. We stayed near the city-center, which is very picturesque. We enjoyed some delicious local fare and then headed straight to bed for some rest.