Telč, Czech Republic

Telč, is justly famous for it’s historic square lined with Renaissance and Baroque burgers' houses, with their brightly coloured yellow, pink and green facades, the result of a catastrophic fire in 1530 that destroyed much of the town. When Lord Zachariáš of Hradec chose Telč as his seat shortly afterwards, he set about turning the stone castle into a stylish residential chateau, and rebuilt most of the devastated town centre to a uniform plan.

We traveled to Telč from Český Krumlov and parked in a car park and walked a short distance to the square. It was Thursday morning and most of the stores were still closed. We would only be stopping for lunch before continuing on. The Unesco heritage town sits on the border between Bohemia and Moravia.

When I first started to take photographs in Czechoslovakia, I met this old gentleman, this old photographer, who told me a few practical things. One of the things he said was, "Josef, a photographer works on the subject, but the subject works on the photographer."

Josef Koudelka


Telč, Czech Republic

The next town we would visit was Třebíč. It's known as having an intact Jewish ghetto but unfortunately, most of its Jewish history has been erased and you would not recognize it from what existed before the war.

While in Třebíč, we stayed at the Hotel Joseph 1699 whose historic origins date back to 1699. You can see here the Jewish ritual bath mikveh from the 17th century which was used for ritual purity by Orthodox Jews.

The town would serve as our base for exploring the surrounding area and it would have been nice if we had more time here but our stay was limited to 2 nights.


From Třebíč we were able to make a quick visit to Lednice Chateau, considered the jewel in the crown of the Lednice-Valtice Complex, and one of the most beautiful complexes in the English Neo-Gothic style in Europe.

The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.

Lednice, Czech Republic

The famous staircase in the castle comes from a single oak tree, though not as a single piece of wood. It has no nails and was ordered by Alois II. It was created by the Viennese joinery firm of Karl Leister during the neo-Gothic reconstruction of the chateau in 1851. The carved details of the staircase have plant and animal motifs based on Burgundy and English late Gothic. The staircase connects the chateau library with the princely living rooms on the first floor.