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