Decín on the Labe river with the Zámek/Château on the right © Ricky Yates

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.

Decín from the north-east © Ricky Yates

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!

Wharf © Ricky Yates

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 Labe gorge north of Decín © Ricky Yates

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.

Decín main railway station © Ricky Yates

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 🙁


12 comments to Decín

  • Gosh, I remember travelling through Decin on our way to Dresden last year! Glorious countryside and the town looks very pleasant. Fingers crossed your offer is accepted and the formalities are as straightforward as possible. Buying a house is always a stressful experience and doing it in another country just adds to the tension.

    • Ricky

      The countryside is glorious, Perpetua, and the town is pleasant and has all the facilities I might need. Those things, along with its proximity to Dresden, are what has made it the centre of my house hunting research. I meant to say in the post that the photographs are from late March 2016 when I took the train to Decín and went walking in the area for a few days during my post-Easter break.

      The house buying is stressful, especially as we’re working to a tight timetable as we’ve promised to vacate the Chaplaincy flat by 15th May.

  • Yes, that IS a tight timetable. Here’s hoping you get good news very soon.

    • Ricky

      It is a tight timetable but we equally have to be fair to the Prague Chaplaincy. Once we are out of the Chaplaincy Flat, it has to be completely redecorated, together with some minor repairs, as nothing has been done since my predecessor & his wife moved into it over 11 years ago. Then it will be available for a locum/interim priest. Still waiting for a response to my offer……..

  • PeeJay

    Looks like a nice town with beautiful countryside. The one disappointment in the blog is the grammatical error in this sentence: ‘Therefore it is in the vicinity of Decín that I hoping to buy my retirement home and continue with my English-language ministry at the Frauenkirche in Dresden.’. Personally I do not like to highlight others mistakes as I find it quite unchristian, but as I know you are very keen on pointing out errors in English I thought I would highlight it to you. I hope all goes well with the house purchase.

    • Ricky

      Hello PeeJay – ‘I acknowledge my transgression and my sin is ever before me’ Psalm 51. 3. Thank you for pointing out my grammatical error which has now been corrected. It was the usual story of reading what you think you’ve written, rather than what you’ve actually written 🙁 I’m always happy to correct my text when an error or omission is pointed out to me. Thank you for the good wishes.

  • Heather Garnett

    Hi Ricky,
    This all looks very interesting. Look forward to seeing a photo of the new abode.
    I expect you are a well organised person and the move won’t be too stressful. Good luck!

    • Ricky

      Hi Heather,
      Thank you for commenting here & not just on Facebook 🙂 I’ve just been editing the one photo of the outside of the house that I currently have, to eliminate the number plate of the car belonging to the sister of one of the couple who own the house, which was parked in front of it. There will be a longer post with more details relatively soon, I hope.

      No house move is without stress. There is a lot to do at the Chaplaincy Flat whilst still running St Clement’s through the rest of Lent, Holy Week & Easter. Then the big final service two weeks later.

  • Stephen Morris

    Good luck with buying the new house and moving! Fingers crossed that not TOO many things go awry at the last minute. ?

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Stephen. I’ve made an offer on a house that has been accepted. I had a phone conversation again with the Real Estate agent this morning. More in a further blog post in the near future.

  • Em

    We’ve been hiking around Decin, and it’s fantastic! I’m jealous of your proximity to Czech Switzerland. I’m sure you’ll be fluent in Czech in no time at all, as well. How exciting for you to be looking toward retirement, a new home, new friends and neighbors… and in a beautiful part of the year as well. Much to look forward to.

    • Ricky

      Hi Em – the proximity to Czech Switzerland & the many walking trails is one of the reasons for house hunting around Decín. Easy access by train to Dresden being the other. As I said in answer to the comment from Perpetua, the photos illustrating this post were taken during a few days after Easter 2016, when I went walking in the area.

      You are quite right regarding language. Sybille often says that if we had lived in a village in the Czech countryside from the outset of being here, we would have fairly quickly learned the language, whereas English is so widely understood in Prague.