Tabor — the capital of the Hussites. Part two.

We continue our journey through the ancient capital of the Hussites, the city of Tabor. Tourists like the city at the first glance. Everything here is quiet and calm. The streets are almost deserted. If there were no cars, it would seem that you were thrown four or five hundred years back. When a tourist goes to the main square of Tabor (which is named after Jan Zizka), he will see the town hall.

 

It is hackneyed phrase, but Town Hall of Tabor is really one of the most impressive late Gothic buildings of the Czech Republic. The building is so strict, stern and at the same time elegant. It is not inferior to the beauty of nearby houses, decorated with frescoes on the facade, stone carving and modeling triangles roofs. And it is seen that Town Hall is not a gingerbread house. Clock on tower of the Town Hall looks especially good — it seems that it is part of the wall, besides, it doesn’t have a minute hand.

It is said that City Hall was founded on the place of three houses. I wonder if the building of the local government was originally on the main square (as a sign of protest against the Hussite philistine customs) or it was located somewhere in another place? I still do not have the answer.

In general, the three homeowners were out of luck — their houses were demolished, and in 1440 the construction of the symbol of philistinism began. Town Hall was completed only after 80 years — in 1521 by architect Wendel Roskopfom. When Baroque style became fashionable, an Italian master Antonio di Alfieri decorated the town hall in every possible way, and only in 1878 architect Joseph Nicklas again gave a Gothic look to the building according to old drawings and engravings. Nowadays Hussite Museum is located in the Town Hall.

That’s how the spirit of the founders of the town eclipsed through the fabric of time.

 

 

Hussite Museum was established in the wake of the renewed interest in Czech history in the second half of the XIX century. A group of enthusiasts took up the collection of exhibits (which were miraculously preserved for 400 years of city history), gave lectures in schools and universities. And this collection, which was created in the gymnasium of Tabor, was the basis of the future museum, which opened to the public in 1884. Now the museum also owns Behinskie gate and Augustinian monastery, and several buildings on the square.

 

 

Looking at the bright facades of the houses, I begin to think that an arcade gallery (of Telc, for example) would have looked nicely here. Alas, at that time there were no Italian masters, who could have made something like that. And there was no graph, which could have paid for that. In general, houses were built in different architectural styles, so it may seem like a mess. But it is not. The buildings looks pleasing to the eye, they even complement each other.

Buildings constructed in the XV century, are characterized by sharp triangular tops of the facades, which were smoothed and decorated at the time of the Baroque.

One fact adds some mystery: deep cellars were located under the major part of houses. Cellars were used for storage of products and strategic stocks of beer, as well as a shelter from fire. Basements gradually merged, and eventually formed a cave-maze, no less famous than of Pilsner or of Jihlava. The dungeons of Tabor were opened to visitors in 1947. But among a couple dozen of miles only 800 meters are available for the tourists. It is right, because the tourists may get lost in these dungeons. There is a version that Hussites hid in the caves during the Hussite Wars, but it is hard to believe in it, because the cellars date back to the official beginning of the XVI century, when the wars had ended.

 

 

In the corner of the square there is the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, which was built in 1512 in the style of Bohemian renaissance. Inside the cathedral there is font of local masters of the late XV century. From the tower of 84 meter high there is a good view. However, you have to walk up the narrow stairs to reach the top of the tower.

 

 

City streets are narrow, winding and intricate, the true mazes! They say those who came for the first time in Tabor could not find the right street or a house without a local guide. All this was done in case the enemy broke through to the city, because crossbow arrow would not reach, and the cannonball would not succeed, and the enemy unit would get lost. Such town-planning is typical for many medieval towns. A striking example of how the layout of streets affects the resistance of the enemy is the story of Paris: Baron Haussmann rebuilt the center of Paris, making the streets straight and wide, and Paris was taken during few hours by German troops.

The fact that during the capture of Paris, the Germans suffered fewer losses than in the battle for a house in Stalingrad.

On the square of St. Nicholas next to Zizka Square a former Augustinian monastery and the church Nativity of the Virgin Mary (1642 — 1666) are located. The church Nativity of the Virgin Mary was built in style of early Baroque in order to consolidate antireform movement in the Czech Republic. It should be noted that the facade of the church is quite modest. Probably, that is because of resistance of local residents. There are only two statues on the façade: St. Augustine and his mother St. Monica. At the beginning of the XIX century the monastery was abolished (probably Catholicism in Tábor could not get accustomed) and now there are a head office, store, research library, and other services of Hussite Museum in the monastery. Note: here the Hussites also eventually took revenge ..))

 

On this merry note we will end our trip to Tabor — a former stronghold and base of the peasant movement, nowadays it is something worth seeing. We do not know what will happen in future and it is good. Otherwise, life would be not interesting.

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