Tabor - a Hussite Medieval Town and Klokoty Pilgrimage Church
The 14th century underground system.
Order Tour Code: C SS9
The town was founded by the followers of Jan Hus, a great reformer of the Catholic Church, called the Hussites, in the year 1420. The town had its own economy, armed forces and din´t respect the authority of kings. The Hussites constructed the net of the underground tunnels that is possible to see. Follow with our guide the Way of the Cross to admire one of the most beautiful architectural treasures of the Baroque art - the Pilgrimage Church Klokoty. WATCH THE
The town of Tabor which is situated 90 km south of Prague is one of the Czech towns which have a lot to offer to tourists. Its rich history, interesting architecture and charming countryside in the vicinity attract hundreds of people to the town. The heritage of Hussite thoughts has been apparent in the atmosphere of this place till today.
A group of Hus´s followers came to a hill where a Premyslid settlement used to be and they founded a town there in the year 1420 and gave it a Biblical name - Tabor. Being led by captains Jan Zizka of Trocnov and Prokop Holy they started out on their victorious battles from there. The foundation of Tabor is connected with the name of Jan Hus, a great reformer of the Catholic Church. In the year 1437 after the Hussites were defeated, the town of Tabor was granted a royal charter by the Holy Roman Emperor and Czech King Sigismund of Luxembourg.
A lot of time has elapsed since then and a lot of water has flown in the River Luznice; nevertheless, the preserved remains of the mighty fortification system and the charming lanes and squares of the Old Town do not let us forget the eventful past. The centre of the town has been designated a site of special historic interest due to its unique mode of development and a high number of preserved sights.
The Hussite Museum and Zizka Square dominated by a monument to the famous captain Jan Zizka and are a must for every visitor to Tabor. The museum has situated its exposition in the late Gothic town hall. It is impossible not to notice the rich facades of old burgher houses where a number of architectural styles are harmoniously combined late Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo. First-time visitors may not even suspect that there is an ingenious labyrinth of tunnels under the houses and streets in the centre. At the beginning of the 16th century people dug cellars under their houses and these were subsequently interconnected; a section of the tunnel system is open to the public.
A pleasant walk through crooked lanes of the Old Town can bring you to the only preserved tower of the former Kotnov Castle. Those who climb up the stairs will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the town and the nearby Baroque Church of Klokoty , that is a famous place of pilgrimage.
Right in the centre of the town there is a lake called the Jordan. It is the oldest dam in Central Europe and dates back to the time Christopher Columbus discovered America � to the year 1492. On hot summer days its cool water tempts everyone into having a swim.
Taborska setkani is an international festival which has traditionally been held in mid- September. Its rich programme is inspired by the rich history of the town evoking its fame in the Middle Ages.
Tabor, with its 37 000 inhabitants, is the second largest town in South Bohemia and it is an important traffic, economic and cultural centre in the region.
The romantic countryside along the River Luznice, with its many natural and cultural sights, is very popular among canoeists and tourists.
Klokoty Pilgrimage Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The pilgrimage Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the monastery were founded in the place of the former Gothic parish church (first mentioned in the 13th century). The unique Baroque complex dates from 1701 - 1730. The church stands among cloisters with four polygonal chapels and a residence.
There are a presbytery and two chapels arched by domes inside, only the nave has a straight arch.
The furnishings of the church are mostly in the Baroque style from the 18th century. The main altar comes from 1743 and it is made from gilt silver.
The exposition - entitled The Hussites of the Hussite Museum is located in the impressive building of the late Gothic town hall. From the ground floor one can enter the underground tunnels which are very popular with tourists. A section of the ingenious tunnel system (800 m) running under Zizka Square is open to the public. Cultural events and exhibitions are held in the spacious halls of the town hall, especially in the Gothic palace the most impressive interior in Tabor.
The Underground Tunnels
The complex of underground tunnels is Tabor´s tourist highlight. The popular sight had its origin in the 15th century when town citizens started digging cellars under their houses in the Old Town. The cellars were extended by succeeding generations, and eventually many of them were interconnected to create an underground labyrinth, or more accurately a system, because you could hardly get lost there. This fact, however, does not lessen its uniqueness.
Some cellars were very large; they often had as many as three floors reaching as deep as 16 meters. Thanks to a stable, relatively low temperature and high humidity they were used for storing food and especially beer. In case of fire or attack by enemies they were also used as a shelter. A section of the tunnel system (800 meters) running under Zizka Square was opened to the public after the Second World War.
You can enter the underground tunnels from the Hussite Museum.
Master Jan Hus
1371 - + 6. 7. 1415
Jan Hus is known to the public in our country and abroad as one of the most significant reformers of the Catholic Church. Jan Hus was born in Husinec u Prachatic (in South-Bohemia). He started his studies at Charles University in Prague in the year 1390 and three years later he became a bachelor and then a master of liberal arts. He was consecrated a priest in the year 1400. In the years 1401 and 1402, he was a dean of artistic faculty and he started preaching in the Bethlehem Chapel in the Old Town of Prague in the year 1402. He was the chancellor of Charles University for one year (1409). Jan Hus is famous as a representative and leader of the Czech reform movement who strove for the reform of the Christian Church and the whole society. Jan Hus was inspired by thoughts of the English thinker John Wicliff. They both thought that the Church should not own any land and that its apostle mission should be renewed. Due to these opinions he entered into controversy with the Pope�s stool which promoted dogmatic interpretation of belief. Master Jan Hus and his followers had more and more disputes with their ideological counterparts, German masters at the university in Prague and the Czech church hierarchy especially after the year 1408.
When interdict was declared in the year 1412, Jan Hus left Prague and found refuge at houses of his noble sympathisers in the country first in Kozi Hradek and Sezimovo Usti and then in Krakovec by Rakovnik.
Jan Hus was supported by influential circles including significant representatives of the king´s court (he was for example supported by the Czech king Vaclav IV.) Jan Hus started for Constance (Germany) on October 14, 1414. He was joined by a small group of about 30 riders. He arrived in Constance on November 3. After several formal hearings at the council which considered some of his teachings heretical he was deprived of his priest rank and sentenced to death. He was burned at stake on July 6, 1415. Grief succeeding his death incited reform movement in the Czech lands which eventually resulted in the Hussite Movement
Monastery Church at Klokoty (Catholic Pilgrimage Church Klokoty)
The view from Kotnov to the north-west offers charming scenery. Down there deep among trees glitters the river Luznice, whose water sometimes hurries, sometimes dawdles towards the town of Bechyne and then further down to the confluence with the Vltava (Moldau). If you look up, your eye is caught by an impressive structure on the top of a steep slope above the river. It is the pilgrimage church of Klokoty. The construction started in the year 1700 and took about thirty years. Rich donors, members of famous noble and merchant families, gave their money to support the church whose design was probably inspired by the work of Jan Santini, a most talented contemporary architect. The beauty of the valuable Baroque structure is emphasised by its perfect location in the surrounding countryside. The church itself was finished in 1714. During the following years cloisters and chapels were added, thus creating a complex shaped like a double cross. The church rates among the most valuable cultural monuments in the region and would bear comparison with the greatest architectural treasures of the European Baroque period. Local people like to hang out in the area. One can get there from Kotnov through Holecek Park. The park is named after the famous Czech writer and translator, Josef Holecek (1853 - 1929) who studied in Tabor. After descending to the valley, one must go up the steep hill along the Way of the Cross .
The pilgrimage church has still served its original purpose since a large religious gathering is organized here every summer.
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