Decín is a town that lies either side of the Labe (Czech), Elbe (German), river. It is situated at the beginning of a deep gorge where the Labe cuts through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, Labské pískovce (Czech), Elbsandsteingebirge (German), on its way to Dresden in Germany and eventually flowing into the North Sea beyond Hamburg. The area to the east of the Labe is known as Bohemian Switzerland, Ceské Švýcarsko (Czech), Böhmische Schweiz (German), about which I’ve written previously here on my blog.
Decín is 130km north-west of Prague and takes around one-and-a-half hours to reach by either road or rail. But its closeness to the German border means that it only takes forty-five minutes by train to get to Dresden. Therefore it is in the vicinity of Decín that I am hoping to buy my retirement home and continue with my English-language ministry at the Frauenkirche in Dresden.
A major feature of the town is a splendid Zámek or Château, overlooking the river. During the Communist era, it was occupied by military forces of the Soviet Union. Since their departure in 1991, it has been restored to its former glory and in 2005, it was opened as a museum and venue for private gatherings and public events.
The historic centre of Decín, Tetschen (German), is on the east bank of the Labe, with a separate newer settlement on the west bank called Podmokly. But the two were amalgamated by the Nazi regime in 1942 and are now linked by two road and two railway bridges. Today, the population of the town is about 50,000 and it has all the facilities I might need, including major supermarkets and a hospital. I shall certainly use the former – hopefully not the latter!
The Labe is navigable all the way to Hamburg as well as in the other direction, as far as Pardubice in the Czech Republic. This photograph shows one of the wharfs where freight can be unloaded from barges and transferred directly to trucks on the neighbouring railway.
The gorge north of Decín is spectacular. The Prague-Decín-Dresden railway line runs along the west (left) bank of the Labe lying within the line of trees above the minor track visible in this photograph. The main road is on the east (right) bank of the river, immediately below the cliffs.
The closeness of Decín to the German border is well illustrated by this sign on Decín hl.n./ Decín main railway station, which informs passengers that they are on platform one, in both Czech and German 🙂
My apologies that once again I’ve had problems with Czech diacritics. There should be a hácek (little hook) above both the ‘e’ and ‘c’ in ‘Decín as there should be above the ‘c’ in ‘hácek‘. But unfortunately, if I insert them in my text, the town becomes D??ín 🙁