Saturday, 2 July 2011
A few days ago I was in the South Bohemian town of Tabor. I will be going there with a tour I am organising this September and my purpose in visiting was to gather material for the information pack I give my clients. Tabor has to be one of the most remarkable historic towns in the Czech Republic and I realised that I had not blogged about it, so here we go.
Two names dominate the history of the town - Jan Hus, the church reformer who died at the stake before the town's foundation but who wrote some of his most important works in nearby Kozi Hradek castle and Jan Zizka - the one-eyed military genius who turned the Hussites into a fighting force to be feared. Zizka's statue stands in the main square and another of Hus in a neighbouring square. Both men deserve posts of their own, which I will give them soon.
Tabor is above all the town of the Hussites, created by them in the fifteenth century as a fortress town and soon the centre of their religious and military movement. Their presence is to be felt at every turn. On the main square stands the Hussite Museum - newly refurbished and hugely informative it is a must for any visitor. The Museum also allows access to some of the enormous network of underground tunnels built by the Hussites and extended over the years. Other attractions include the Tabor Treasure exhibition, the city fortifications including the Kotnov tower and the lovely Deanery church.
When I visited last week the place was relatively quiet - the market on the square was just closing and there was hardly anyone around and certainly no tourists. I was able to view the beautiful facades and gables of the medieval and renaissance burgher houses at my leisure.
When I return with my tour the place will be transformed. We will be coming for the three days of the Tabor Meeting (Taborska Setkani), when the town celebrates its Hussite past. There will be a torchlight parade through the town, fireworks, medieval market, the Old Bohemian market, performances by Czech and foreign ensembles, street theatre, concerts, children’s activities and a lot more. The Sunday will be devoted to European Heritage Day, when the doors of normally closed historic buildings are opened.
This is a major event in the European living history calendar made even more important by the fact that this will be the 20th Tabor Meeting. Every hotel room in the town will be full. And I and my tour will be there. So she says, shamelessly plugging, book now to avoid disappointment on http://www.czechtours.co.uk/hussites-tour