Straznice Town, Castle, Open-Air Museum, Memorial Of Czech And Moravian Brothers 16th Century School, Jan Amos Komensky 16th Century Philosopher
Wine tasting, Petrov village - wine cellars.
Order Tour Code: C SEE16
Although the first written report about the town of Strážnice dates to the beginning of the 14th century the numerous archaeological findings document the existence of habitation at this territory even before this date. The beginnings of the town were connected with the effort to strengthen the frontiers of the Czech state under Přemysl Otakar II. at the half of the 13th century. At that time, the region of Strážnice was permanently incorporated into Moravia. There were built several castles to guard the frontier. Among them, the castle in Strážnice built after 1260 was founded. The town's name (Strážnice - the Guard Post) relates to the guard function of the castle located closed to the Moravian frontier.
At first Straznice was King's property, at the beginning of the 14th century the town was acquired by the Moravian House of the Lords of Kravaře. Petr Straznicky from Kravare, the regional captain of Moravia, gained recognition for prosperity of the town. He extended his domain and founded a new village nearby Straznice, which bears his name - Petrov. Issuing the right to found the vineyards, he gained also recognition for the development of wine-growing in the region.
At the time of the Hussite movement, the Lords of Kravare endorsed the opinion of Jan Hus. Under the rule of Jiri from Kravare, the last male descendant of the House, an unusual building development of the devastated town begun. There was founded the New Town (Nove Mesto) fortified by a moat and a earthen line with stone gates, the church of St. Martin was built (it was rebuilt later but its Gothic elements are noticeable even today) and the reconstruction of the castle was finished. In 1458, the castle of Strážnice was a witness of meeting of King Jiri from Podebrady with Hungarian Estates whom the captive Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus was given over.
At the beginning of the 15th century, the town was bought by the House of Zerotin, another leading Moravian House. Under their rule, Strážnice experienced its greatest prosperity. Under Jan III from Zerotín, the town was surrounded by a line fortified with wooden palisade and small bastions, the main approaches were defended by sizeable gates with semicircular bastions which could withstand even the attacks of fire-arms. The new fortification connected all the three parts of the town, the New Town, Old town and Suburb. The old water castle was rebuilt in a Renaissance chateau with arcades inside.
The Lords of Zerotín supported the Brethren schools in the town. In 1579, they rebuilt the school divided into two forms - the lower and the upper ones. Between 1604-1605, the school was attended by Jan Amos Komensky who lived here at his aunt. In Strážnice, Komenský became acquainted with Mikuláš Drábík, the Brethren preacher who became well-known because of his prophecies about the doom of the House of Habsburgs. At the beginning of the 17th century, Straznice with its 4 500 inhabitants and about 700 houses belonged to the most important Moravian towns.
The insurgency in Hungary 1605 and the invasion of Stepan Bockaj to Moravia were very dangerous for Strážnice; in May 1605 the town was burnt down and many people were slaughtered or captured. The town was renewed very slowly and the Thirty Years´ War brought invasions and destruction into the region of Strážnice. This situation was made worse by religious oppression associated with a lot of emigrated inhabitants. Jan Jetřich of Žerotín, the last non-Catholic owner of Strážnice, left the in debt domain for the Hungarian town Skalica.
In 1628, the town and domain were purchased by the Imperial Colonel František Magnis, one of the winners of the Battle of the White Mountain (Bílá hora). The House of Magnis originated from Italy. With the arrival of František Magnis, the planed catholization of the town begun. In 1633, he invited the Italian Piarists to Strážnice, who founded the school here and spread their religion among the local population. The devastated town recovered very slowly from the sufferings of the Thirty Years´ War. Groups of suspended soldiers roamed around the territory, looted and massacred the population. In 1652, after being lit by hired arsonists a big part of the town burnt down. At that time, Strážnice suffered under one disaster after another. In 1680, a plaque epidemics was spread from Hungary, three years later the town was invaded by Hungarian insurgents. Those catastrophes caused a common decline of the domain and the town lost its former importance very quickly. The restoration of the town was significantly retarded by other fires in the first half of the 18th century. Despite these catastrophes, a lot of interesting architectural monuments has been safeguarded from that time. The Town Hall, the lord's farm and many burgess houses were renewed. The Piarists built the Baroque church of Virgin Mary with college in the middle of the 18th century. In the first half of the 19th century, during František Antonín Magnis´s time, the castle park was reconstructed, the hot houses were built and the chain bridge over the Morava river was built in front of the Castle in 1824.
The nationalistic movement in the second half of the 19th century brought a gradual change from the Germanically oriented town into a cultural centre of the region of Strážnice. There were established Czech associations, there was opened a new council school and the Czech grammar school was founded in 1897. The originally fully agricultural town was gradually industrialised at the beginning of the 20th century.
Nowadays, Strážnice is known especially because of the local festivals of folklore which take place at the turn of June and July every year. The visit of the local open-air museum, castle or museum is certainly a big attraction for tourists.
The Gates of Strážnice
In the second half of the 16th century when the town was endangered by Turks, Jan III. of Žerotín, the Lord of Strážnice domain, was appointed as the chief commander of Moravia and was fortifying the border towns. At that time, the fortification of Strážnice was finished. The old Guard Tower was reconstructed and heightened. All the town was surrounded by a mound and a moat. Special attention was paid to the main approaches to the town, along the main street from Skalica to Veselí. There were built two gates with towers and side bastions. The names, the Veselská and the Skalická gate, have been used up today. Only side bastions of both gates have remained
The Square of Strážnice
The Square of Strážnice was founded after the Hussite wars as a centre of the New Town (Nové Město). The Old Town (its square was located in the west) was destroyed and lost its position. The square had the same shape as it has today. There was a fountain in the middle. The houses were inhabited mostly by burgesses, shopkeepers and craftsmen in contrast to the Old Town in which the peasants lived. Because Strážnice was burnt down many times no original house has been preserved.
The oldest house is the house no. 482 in the southern corner of the Square. It is a late Renaissance building, originally a Žerotín´s farm. Inside the house, the original vault and decorated stony portal have been maintained. The Town Museum in Strážnice is originally a Baroque house from the 17th century. The town hall, today the municipal police office and the houses No. 491 and 507 are worth mentioning.
The Jewish Synagogue with the cemetery
The Jewish synagogue with the cemetery which are located in the northern part of the town, evoke a memory of the local Jewish community. Jews were in Strážnice since time immemorial. After the Old Town had been burnt down Jews moved their community behind the New Square, to the "Jewish Street". They brought their tombstones there, the oldest from which originates from 5208 of the Jewish epoch (1448 of our epoch). The Jewish town - the ghetto was separated, the main gate was to be closed at night. Jews fell within the direct administration of the lord of the domain, they had their own hospital, lower and upper school, synagogue (built in 1750) and bath for purification of Jewish women. Jews were mostly butchers and shopkeepers.
During the World War II. all the Jews of Strážnice were deported into fascist prison camp. The Synagogue and the cemetery fall within the administration of the Jewish community centre in Brno.
Castle of Strážnice
The castle of Strážnice - originally the water stronghold - was founded in the second half of the 13th century when the castle and the town was property of Milota of Dědice. Its function was to defend the frontier (therefore also the name of the town). At the beginning of the 14th century, the castle was given as a reward to Vok of Kravaře. After having been invaded by Hungarian, Turkish and later by anti-Hussite troops, the castle was rebuilt in Gothic style by Jiří of Kravaře and surrounded by a mound and a moat (some parts of which - so-called Šance - Ramport - have been kept up today). Jan Jetřich of Žerotín changed the appearance of the castle. He rebuilt it into a Renaissance castle with porticos. This appearance had been maintained until the 19th century. Since the 19th century, the castle has had its Neo-Renaissance appearance. The House of Magnis was the last owner of the castle. Today, the Czech state is the owner of the castle. The museum with exposition of folk earthenware, musical instruments, picture collection and library are located there now. The castle is surrounded by the English park founded in the 1st half of the 19th century.
The Memorial of the schools of Czech Brethren
In Strážnice, Komenský became acquainted with Mikuláš Drábík, the Brethren preacher who became well-known because of his prophecies about the doom of the House of Habsburgs. At the beginning of the 17th century, Strážnice with its 4 500 inhabitants and about 700 houses
The memorial is located behind the Church of Virgin Mary. The fundaments of the church, school and hospital have been maintained here. The Unity of Brethren had two schools, the upper and the lower one. J. A. Komenský was studying here between 1604 - 5. He lived at his aunt, Zuzana Komněnská (today the house No. 133 in Masaryk´s Street).
Komenský became aquainted with Mikuláš Drábík, who was executed because of his prophecies about the doom of the House of Habsburgs. In 1622, the Czech Brethren had to leave for Skalica and the catholic Italian Piarists were invited to the town. Travelling incognito in Moravia, Komenský visited Strážnice once more in 1650.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the first endeavours occurred to establish the ethnographical open-air museum in the Southeast Moravia. As late as in 1973, the building of museum in Strážnice began. The conception resulted from the idea of its initiators - to show the folk construction art in individual parts of the Slovácko region and therefore the open-air museum has been divided into areas representing such parts. Since 1981, the following areas have been opened to the public: Moravské Kopanice, Luhačovické Zálesí, Horňácko, further the grounds of technical water buildings, vineyards and meadowland. There are 65 objects placed here at the terrain which was artificially created by made-up grounds and planted by greenery to imitate the original surrounding.
The expositions situated at chosen objects acquaint the visitors with the type of life and dwellings of people both at the mountain area of the Slovácko region and in the fertile part of the region along the Morava river where the great portion of farming have been based on wine-growing. The specimen of vintners´ buildings and their furniture which have been completed by a vineyard showing the vine growing from ancient times till today, is the only exposition of such type in our country. The handicrafts have been represented by the smithy from Lipov and the weaving mill from Nova Lhota in the Horňácko region, the technical water building then by the horizontal saw from Ceresnikovy Mlyny in the Hornacko region.
The entrance building into the open-air museum from 1612 is very interesting and ancient building rebuilt in the Baroque style. Originally, the Lord´sl brewery was here, now-a-days the typical restaurant has been established in a part of this building.
For its visitors, the Institute of Folk Culture organizes the traditional programmes – e.g. Maypole Raising, Harvest Festival, Closing the Vineyard, Days of Handicrafts, events for children – each year at the Open-Air Museum, and always the last week-end in June, this area becomes an attractive space for programmes of the International Festival of Folklore.
There are the most famous wine-cellars called Plze - almost the special village - but the houses covered with the earth are the wine cellars usually 3 metres wide and 15 metres long - this "wine village" has got 2 squares and 3 streets , they were known already in the 15th century and even Jan Amos Comenius write about them in the 16th century , their appearance is from the 18th century , they were used not only to store wine in barrels , but during many wars in the medieval times also as the hiding place .
this region is very famous with the folk costumes and traditions and folk festivals
seeing the town Straznice and scanzen - open-air museum of folk architecture , with wine folk architecture
the best time to come to Straznice March - wine exhibition August - folk festival September - wine harvest
St. Urban - st. patron of wine-makers will protect you
SOUTHEAST of Prague - 4 hours to drive
It is 14 hour round trip