Monday 23 May 2011

Brno - Veveří Castle - Pernštejn Castle - Log #033#

This weekend the I decided to follow the northern routes towards Veveří Castle and Pernštejn Castle, the two most prominent castles of Moravia.

Below is the the church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary west of Veveří Castle's premises.

Veveří Castle (Czech: Hrad Veveří, German: Burg Eichhorn) was built between 1213 and 1222.

Pernštejn Castle (Czech: Hrad Pernštejn) is a castle that came to be known as the marble castle because of the marble-like stone used to frame the doors and windows.

It was founded by the Lords of Medlov probably between 1270-1285. 

Pernštejn is one of the most preserved castles in Czech Republic.

The playroom of the Castle,

..and the dungeon.

On the way back to Brno the scenery is typical of Central Europe.

Daily Distance: 101 Km
Total Distance: 101 Km
Soundtrack: Tuxedo Moon, No Tears

Monday 16 May 2011

Brno - Adamov - Jedovnice - Boskovice - Log #032#

This weekend took a ride around Northern Moravia.

Stará huť u Adamova (The Old Iron-Mill near Adamov) began operation in the 16th century.

The blast furnace was built in 1752, and rebuilt in the 1840s. 

Adamov Works was always celebrated for its castings, particularly cannon, and its pattern shop (Kamenak) has been restored as a museum of ironmaking. 

In 1877 the company ceased to make iron and became purely an engineering concern, producing the first motorcar to be made in the Habsburg Empire in 1889.

There are workshops around the furnace showcasing medieval artisans, metal forgers and turners.

Living high on the hog for the birthday party of Jacek.

Jedovnice is a small town famous its lakes and ponds.

They were used to power iron mills.The lakes and ponds were used as a cheap source of energy and of course for fishing. 

Noways the lake is used for yachting as well.

Boskovice was probably founded in the 11th century and received its town charter in the 14th century. 

It used to have one of the largest Jewish communities in Moravia. The photo below is from the Jewish Synagogue.

The Maccabees (Hebrew: מכבים‎ or מקבים, Makabim or Maqabim; Greek Μακκαβαῖοι, /makav'εï/) were a Jewish rebel army who took control of Judea, which had been a client state of the Seleucid Empire

They founded the Hasmonean dynasty, which ruled from 164 BCE to 63 BCE, reasserting the Jewish religion, expanding the boundaries of the Land of Israel and reducing the influence of Hellenism. (: Source / Wikipedia)

Restaurant Macabbees in the center of the city.

Since the rule of Alexander in the near east, there had been a process of Hellenization, which affected Judea. Some Jews, mainly those of the urban upper class, wished to dispense with Jewish law and to adopt a Greek lifestyle. 

Hellenizing Jews had built a gymnasium, competed internationally in Greek games, "removed their marks of circumcision and repudiated the holy covenant".
(: Source / Wikipedia)

The wonderful little coffee shop Kafirna Dogvill.


The ruined hilltop castle of Boskovice. 

Daily Distance: 301 Km
Total Distance: 301 Km
Soundtrack: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (Cover from: Rockin' Ramrods) - Bright                 Lit Blue Skies 

Monday 2 May 2011

Brno - Mikulov - Lednice - Valtice - Log #031#

This weekend decided to drive south into Southern Moravia, the vineyard of Czech Republic.

These yellow flowers were originally used for the production of  bio ethanol but after EU subsidies declined, their crops are now mostly used for the production of mustard (hořčice).

First stop Mikulov, German: Nikolsburg, Yiddish: ניקאלשבורג is one of the major towns in the South Moravian Region of Czech Republic. It is located directly on the border with Lower Austria.

It happened to be a day of Jewish festivities in Mikulov that day so a Jewish band and Jewish dancers gathered from around South Moravia, Brno and Ostrava particularly.

They sung in Yiddish which is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages.

It is interesting to note that the first language of European Jews was Aramaic rather than Hebrew.

The beginning of the Jewish settlement in Mikulov dates as far as 1421, when Jews were expelled from Vienna. The settlement grew in importance and in the first half of the 16th century became the cultural centre of Moravian Jewry.

Mikulov Jews had the exclusive right for production of kosher wine and their wealth and taxes financed the Austrian Royals' 30 Years' War.

Jewish quarter in Mikulov.

Mucha Art nouveau pioneer and  sponsor of the Lumiere brothers (he offered them his lab) spent some of his life in Mikulov.

With Radek Mixtaj fellow biker, we met at the cafe when he entered Mikulov to take shelter from the rain. We ended up spending the weekend together, great guy he provided me a wealth of information about the Czech Republic and the Czech psyche.

Jewish cemetery main building,

..and the Jewish graveyard

St. Sebastian Chapel on the Holy Hill 

Mikulov, including the castle, and the surrounding area used to belong to the Austrian nobility of Liechtenstein. Then it was confiscated from the Czechlovakian Republic thus becoming a source of bitterness between the two countries.  

Czech Republic only restored diplomatic relation with World's most notorious money laundry state in 2009.

On the way to Lednice–Valtice Cultural Landscape protected by Unesco as one of the largest complex of artificial lakes, gardens and chateaus in Europe. 

During the 19th century, the Liechtenstein family continued transforming the area, which has since been called the "Garden of Europe", kind of a Disneyland for the Royals in todays standards.

The Castle in Lednice.

The Minaret,a Moorish Revival structure (62 m high) in the Lednice Castle garden.

Alois Josef I. from Lichtenstein wanted to built a new church for locals, but they did not agreed on a place, so angry Alois decided to built a mosque with minaret. 

The project was undertaken by Josef Hardthmuth, the inventor of pencil. 

Not sure if Josef was inspired by Minaret's shape to invent the pencil or built it to promote his pencil business..

Clicking this photo you can clearly read the name of the Royal Family that owned all this South Moravian area...

Lichtensteins' palace featuring la creme de la creme of Baroque and Rococo style furnitures, paintings etc.

The inner private chapel of the Royals, a modest and minimal place to praise the Lord.

There was noone in the room when I took this snap, so it is likely that the figure reflected on the mirror is a royal ghost.

The vineyards in South Moravia producing the famous white Moravian wine that takes its distincive taste from the lime stone found in the Moravian soil.

If around Vatlice don't miss this restaurace if you want to taste the South Moravian cuisine..

Daily Distance: 60 Km
Total Distance: 120 Km
Soundtrack: Noir Desir, Le vent nous portera