Sunday, 5 September 2010
Zumberk is one of those well kept Czech secret places, so well kept that my Czech friend had not heard of it. She even corrected my pronunciation, thinking I was talking about somewhere else. And yet Zumberk was only forty minutes drive away.
I found a short reference to it in a guidebook and as I was passing I dropped in. I couldn't believe my eyes. There it was - a perfect fortified village with fairytale towers, standing above a still small lake. And there was more - in the manor house the South Bohemian Museum displayed a wonderful collection of South Bohemian painted furniture.
I have always coveted the examples of Czech painted furniture I have seen, but here was a treasure trove: the finest examples of the local styles. The exhibition highlighted the subtle and not so subtle differences between the folk art from different areas of South Bohemia. And the building was fascinating too.
Unfortunately Zumberk is not geared to the British visitor: it is where I was asked to translate by the guide, but then my archaeology tour was, we were told, the first English speaking group to visit. And they did have a folder of English translation they can give you as you walk round, which allows us to spend as much time as we want to gaze at the exhibits.