Town Hall in Litomyšl © Ricky Yates

Yet again, I have to start a blog post by apologising for not posting anything here for the past three weeks. My chief excuse is that Sybille & I have been on away on holiday for two of those weeks only returning to Prague last Tuesday (12th) in the afternoon. We’ve spent our time exploring various parts of the Czech Republic with little forays into each of the country’s neighbours – Slovakia, Poland, Austria & Germany. Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to write a series of posts about our travels & introduce readers to the delights of the Czech Republic that lie outside of Prague.

On the evening of Tuesday 28th September, we met my former colleague Rev’d Kathy Ferguson, at Prague airport and brought her to the Chaplaincy flat. Then on the Wednesday morning, I took her on a quick tour of St. Clement’s Church & the Old Catholic’s Communio Centre so she was familiar with both places as she was to spend the next two weeks as my locum priest as well as taking care of Oscar!

Sybille & I left Prague on the afternoon of Wednesday 29th September and initially drove to the small town of Litomyšl which is about 180 km east of Prague. Here we stayed overnight with Steve & Paula, an American couple who had couchsurfed with us in Prague in late July this year & who Sybille also knew through Shutterstock where both she & Steve sell their photographs. Steve had created a wonderful homemade soup as well as a pear cobbler and we feasted on both as part of our evening meal.

Smetanovo námestí in Litomyšl © Ricky Yates

The next morning, we set off to explore the architectural and other delights of Litomyšl. The historic centre is made up of a cobbled ‘square’, (effectively two isosceles triangles whose acute angles meet in the middle), which is surrounded by a series of arcaded buildings. One of the oldest, which dates from the 1640s, is known as ‘The Knight’s House’ and is an excellent preserved example of renaissance burgher housing.

The Knight's House, Litomyšl © Ricky Yates

Statue of Bedrich Smetana, Litomyšl © Ricky Yates

As well as its architecture, Litomyšl’s other claim to fame is being the birthplace of the composer Bedrich Smetana. His statue stands at the far end of the ‘square’ which in turn is named Smetanovo námestí after him.

Sgraffito in Litomyšl © Ricky Yates

Sgraffito in Litomyšl © Ricky Yates

Nearby is a high school building which is decorated with sgraffito, a form of decoration we were to see on many more buildings during our travels.

Chateau at Litomyšl © Ricky Yates

Also nearby is a 16th century chateau, to which additional baroque features have been added, again with sgraffito decoration . Since 1999 it has been part of Unesco’s World Heritage List and it is very easy to see why!

Detail of the sgraffito decoration on Litomyšl Chateau © Ricky Yates

Diving female figure by Olbram Zoubek © Ricky Yates

In the grounds of the chateau and in the nearby monastery garden are various figures, the work of the Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek. The sculpture pictured here is one of four ladies surrounding a pool into which they are all about to dive.

A wonderful combination of friendly welcoming hosts, a delightful little town, together with pleasant sunny weather made this an excellent beginning to our October holiday in the Czech Republic.

4 comments to Litomyšl

  • Hi Ricky,
    Great post and pictures! Sounds like you and Sybille had a great time on your trip!

    Jirka and I are talking about taking a trip like this one of these days (not anytime soon). We spent the last week in Olomouc, and saw a beautiful city, but there is also much to see in the Olomouc kraj (region). It would be fun to take a few days and travel to a new spot every other day or so.

    There’s so much to see and do outside of Prague…this country is rich with places to visit and things to see!

  • Ricky

    Hi Sher,
    Glad you liked the post & thanks for visiting & leaving a comment.

    Yes – there are so many facinating places to visit in the rest of the Czech Republic beyond Prague itself. These past two weeks we ticked off a few on our ‘must visit list’ but there are plenty more still to be seen. Our guidebook describes Olomouc as ‘Prague minus the tourists!’ We just drove around the city on this trip but it was the one place in Moravia that we managed to visit last year when I officiated at my first Czech wedding

  • I missed your blogging and glad it was due to you and Sybille having a great time away! Also, great photos! I liked the one of the woman about to take a plunge in the pool! I might feel a bit sorry for her in winter with snow on the ground, though. Sgraffito never stops to amaze me! It is my understanding this is a technique of “scratching” the top layer of paint to get to the bottom layer? WOW, that must take ages! And the statue of Smetana….rather an interesting pose. From this perspective, with hand on hip, he almost has the stance of a model walking the catwalk! Michael and I intend to return to Prague for a much longer time in the fall of 2011, so I will be reading your blog and taking notes of places to see as you tour outside Prague. As they say here in Greece: Kalo taxidi! (Happy journey)

  • Ricky

    Hi Karin,
    It’s nice to be missed! Glad you liked the photos – as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Yes – I too liked the female figure about to dive into the pool. This being the Czech Republic, she and her three colleagues around the other sides of the pool, are all au naturel with nothing left to the imagination! However, they are all different shapes and sizes as ladies are in the real world.

    Your understanding of how sgraffito is created is correct. The mind boggles as to the time and effort required to create it, especially all that covers every outside wall of the Litomyšl Chateau.

    If you are not coming to Prague until the Fall (Autumn to me!) of 2011, where are you going this year? Or are you staying put in Paros?