Leaving behind the Bata Canal and the valley of the Morava River, we drove westwards some 200 km to the little town of Telc, situated around 500 metres above sea level in the rolling hills of the far south-west of Moravia. Telc had been on my list of places to visit ever since I first read about it soon after arriving in the Czech Republic in September 2008.
The historic centre of Telc is surrounded on three sides by medieval fish ponds and access to it is via a narrow bridge and/or a gateway through the town wall. Inside the wall is the cobbled town square námestí Zachariáše z Hradce, which is surrounded by arcaded houses with beautifully decorated facades. These all date from the 16th century when the town was rebuilt by Italian masons in the Renaissance style, following a disastrous fire in 1530. There has been little alteration or additions since then.
Late in the afternoon of Tuesday 5th October, we parked the car near the narrow bridge across the fishponds, walked over the bridge, through the gateway and into the square. The view that greeted us did not disappoint, despite the poor light and the drizzle that was falling.
Walking around the square, we found Penzion a hospada U zeleného Žížaly on the southern side and enquired about accommodation. The proprietor had no English but did speak German, not surprising as the Austrian border is less than 30 km away to the south. She showed us a very pleasant room on the first floor, with access to a well equipped kitchen, which was within our price range. We gladly accepted the offer, especially as we were promptly given a parking permit for the car, allowing us to park in the historic square, directly outside the Penzion. Then, deciding that there was plenty to see the next day, we booked in for two nights.
At one end of the town square is Telc’s Renaissance Water Chateau. Originally belonging to a branch of the Liechtenstein family, it is now in the care of the Czech government. The following morning, we took a tour of the interior of the chateau. There were only four of us for the tour which was given entirely in Czech, though we were given laminated cards with quite a bit of information in English, which helped us understand more of what we were looking at. Some of the decorated ceilings were quite incredible but, as is often the case these days, no interior photography was allowed.
Adjacent to the chateau are two Churches, one dedicated to St. James the Apostle and one to the Holy Name of Jesus. And in between, a former Jesuit monastery which is now used as a branch of Masaryk University in Brno. Here they can all be seen from the far side of one of the fishponds.
Visiting Telc in early October, well out of the main tourist season, had both its advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage was that we could not gain access to the interiors of any of the Churches. In particular, we both would have loved to have seen inside the Church of St. James. But that is only open regularly between the beginning of June and the end of August. Otherwise you can only get inside when mass is being celebrated and mass times didn’t coincide with our time in Telc.
The main advantage was the absence of other tourists, especially during the two evenings we were there. During the day, there was the occasional group of tourists, particularly Japanese or Koreans. It would appear that some coach tours of Central Europe stop off at Telc for an hour or so, to break the journey between Vienna and Prague. But by late afternoon, all of these had departed and we could walk around the town square with only a few local residents for company.
Writing this post has once again highlighted my constant problem of most web browsers being unable to cope with diacritics which are an essential part of writing Czech correctly. There should be a hácek, (a little hook) above the ‘c’ at the end of Telc. But if I were to put one in, most readers of this blog would see ‘Tel?’ There should also be a hácek above the ‘c’ in ‘hácek’, but if I put one in, that would likewise appear as ‘há?ek’!!!!