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Uhersk Hradit

The history of the town

The rich history of the royal town of Uhersk Hradit reaches back to distant past. Long before the place was settled, favorable climatic conditions along with fertile soil had made it predestined for settlement. The archeological finds suggest that the primeval people had been living here since the early stone age. On the crossing of trade routes leading from the North to South and from the West to East, an ingenuous system of island fortifications was constructed in the 8th and 9th centuries. Three originally uninhabited islands in the Morava river were settled. The main one was called St. George Island, after the chapel consecrated to St. George, which was situated there. The settlement area of the time spread over the grounds of todays Uhersk Hradit, Star Msto and Sady, making it undoubtedly one of the centers of the Great Moravian Empire. Relatively small in area, this settlement integrated the administration of power, crafts production as well as the religious and cultural sphere. After the decline of the Great Moravian Empire, the importance of this center diminished for a long time. During the 13th century, southeastern Moravia became a target of frequent enemy raids. The border crossings, passes and fords were used by the enemy troops to invade and plunder the fertile Moravian land. It was in this time that the strategic importance of the island near a Morava ford grew again. The enemy raiders vexed not only the villagers, but also the monastery in Velehrad. A deed by King Pemysl Otakar II. from October 15, 1257 testifies that the town of Uhersk Hradit was founded on an island owned by the monastery not only to protect the monastery itself, but mainly the borderland. The towns first inhabitants came from near market villages, royal Kunovice and monasterial Veligrad (todays Star Msto). The double settlement determined the towns appearance two market villages were founded in close proximity to each other, each with its own square hence the two squares of todays town. The basic ground plan probably reflected the original Slavic settlement. The center of the town shows signs of typical medieval geometrism, while the shape of outer streets was somehow adapted to the neighboring municipal fortification. The towns history and development through the centuries was a long and complicated one, frequently marked with incessant raids and brawls with the adversaries of the Czech state. For this reason, the town had been gradually fortified by various systems of fortification since its founding. These systems were constantly improved and upgraded. The town reached its high point in the 15th and 16th centuries, when it was granted numerous privileges and liberties. In the course of the following centuries, Hradit became a target of frequent enemy raids. In the 16th century, it

was attacked by Cuman hordes, while in the 17th, it was vexed by military clashes of the Thirty Years War. The turn of the 17th and 18th centuries saw frequent Turkish raids and the early 18th century saw the suffering of the Prussian Campaign. In the course of its whole history, the town was captured just once by Prussian army in 1742. Forty years later, it ceased to function as a fortress, however, it did continue to be constrained to the area within the fortifications. The area outside the fortification had been gradually settled only since as late as the 1840s. By this time, the town fulfilled the functions of trade, administration and judicial center of the region. In the second half of the 19th century, nationalist turmoil and struggle for national character spawned many different nation-oriented societies and corporations. In 1884, a new grammar school was founded in Uhersk Hradit, to be the first Czechlanguage secondary school in Moravian Slovakia. During this period, many important buildings were being built and the town continued to grow. Even after 1918, the town of Uhersk Hradit remains mainly a center of administration with slow industrial development. The Second World War damaged the town to a large extent. The post-war renewal brought large industry to the town, namely canning and machine engineering. The influx of population caused, along with the annexation of the neighboring villages, a bustling growth and a significant change of the towns appearance. After 1989, the town became more beautiful than ever, namely its historical center. Most of sights and historical monuments were reconstructed and sensibly adapted to fit the needs of our time.

Sights and Monuments

The complex of Jesuit structures at Masaryk square consists of the Jesuit dormitory built in 1654 1662, St. Francis Xaverius parish church and a grammar school building with theatre hall (Reduta) built in 1724 1729. The St. Francis Xaverius church at the Masaryk square was built by Jan Jeronm Caneval in the years 1670 1685 after a project by Dominik Orsi. Its interior features baroque paintings by Jan Ji Heintsch and Ignc Raab and statues by Ondej Schweigl. The last reconstruction of the church took place in 1998. In 1724-1729, the Jesuits built a seminary school next to the church, which included theater and concert halls. This Baroque house, now known as Reduta (ridotto) underwent a complex reconstruction in 1996-2001 and now serves as a concert and theater venue. Its courtyard is graced with monumental sculptures by Otmar Oliva and a sculpture by Petr Novk called A Tribute to P. Felix Kadlinsk SJ. The Virgin Mary Annunciation church is a part of the Franciscan monastery complex. The church was built at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. The only original parts that survived the radical reconstruction in the 17th and 18th centuries are its peripheral walls and presbytery. The

church was damaged by the flood of 1997, its reconstruction was finished in 2003. The Franciscan monastery was founded in Uhersk Hradit by the Bishop Jan Filipec in 1491. It acquired its Baroque appearance in the early 18th century. The most important room of the monastery is its refectory with with outstanding artistic decoration by an Italian artist from the Baldassare Fontana circle. The refectory was expensively reconstructed, finishing in the spring of 2000. The St. Elisabeth chapel coming from the early 15th century. It boasts a preserved Gothic presbytery with cross arches and outer supporting pilots. The baroque entrance was added during a Baroque reconstruction in the 17th century. Following a large-scale reconstruction in 1995, the building was turned into a pharmacy. The St. Sebastian chapel was built in 1715 by imperial garrison as a gesture of thanksgiving for the averting of the plague epidemic. In 1969, it was moved several meters away from its original site and placed on a newly constructed foundation. The Marian plague column is yet another monument commemorating the plague epidemics that swept through the town. It was built in 1718 1721 by Brno sculptor Antonn Riga. The top of the column features a sculpture of Immaculate Virgin Mary, while the sides of the pedestal bear sculptures of St. Charles of Boromej, St. Francis Xaverius, St. Florian and St. Peter of Alcantara. Also, there is a sculpture of St. Rosalie in the front side cavity. The building of the hotel Slunce (the Sun) is the only preserved Renaissance building in the town. It was built in 1578. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the house was owned by the Velehrad monastery, which adapted it into a salt storage. Later, since the second half of the 19th century, it had been known as the Golden Sun Inn. The building was thoroughly reconstructed in 2002-2003, resulting in todays Hotel and Arcade Slunce. The Golden Crown pharmacy served its purpose as early as the end of the 17th century. In the second quarter of the 18th century, the two original burgher houses that stood here were rebuilt in Baroque style. In 1884, they were connected with a pseudo-renaissance facade with stucco graffito decoration. The original decorations of the interior was partly preserved; the ceiling frescos by Josef Ignc Sadler with succo date back to the 18th century. The Baroque fountain at the Masaryk square was created in the 1st quarter of the 18th century by Olomouc sculptor Vclav Render. The original fountain was moved to the yard of municipal Gallery in 1979. Its place was taken by a copy. The Baroque fountain at the Marian square dates back to the late 17th century. It was sculpted by Karel Josef Rossi. The building of todays Town hall at the

Masaryk square was built by the Municipal Savings Bank in 1891 1893 after the plans of Brno architects Vojtch Dvok and Karel Welzl. The ceremonial hall is decorated with frescos by Joa Uprka with scenes from the towns history. The Municipal Hall, built in 1871, used to be the center of cultural and social life of Czech citizens living in the town. Following the reconstruction in 1994, it serves as an additional facility of the 1st basic school. The towns skyline is dominated by the leaning tower of the Former Town Hall in the Prostedn street. Its core probably dates back to the 14th century. The tower was rebuilt at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries and later modified in the 18th and 19th centuries. Last reconstruction was carried out in 1995. The Czech-language grammar school was established in 1884. Its building by architect Josef Schaniak was finished during the following year. It is decorated with graffiti depicting important representatives of the 19th century science. In 1977 1979, a new building was added, which is connected to the old building via a separate neck-like corridor. In 1999, a new gymnasium was finished. The Synagogue was built in 1875 in the style of eclectic historism. It was rebuilt in 1904 in the Art Nouveau style, with the addition of arched copula. In the Second World War, it was ruined by the Nazis. After the war, it was used for cultural purposes. In 1967, the Distric Public Library was moved into the building. In 1999, the first phase of reconstruction was finished.

Hiking and sightseening tips

Situated 7 km northwest from Uhersk Hradit in the valley of the Salaka stream lies one of the most important pilgrimage places in Moravia the village of Velehrad. Ever since the Middle Ages, these places have been related to the Archbishop Methods metropolis and the politicaladministrative center of the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th century. However, based on todays archeological research we suppose that the Great Moravian Veligrad was located in the places of todays Star Msto. The history of todays Velehrad began in the beginning of the 13th century, when the first Grey Monks monastery was built here. The large monasterial complex, built in late Roman style with some early Gothic features, was finished in the 1240s. Manifold destructions and reconstructions in the centuries to come have significantly altered its character. The remains of architectural features that were discovered in the course of archeological prospectings are today displayed in the stone collection, installed in the underground of the Velehrad basilica. The monastery was given its now-known appearance at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, when a large scale Baroque reconstruction was

launched, to be finished in the second half of the 18th century. This reconstruction radically changed the appearance namely of the basilica, consecrated to Virgin Marys Ascension and St. Cyril and Method. The basilicas decoration is a work of many artists, including stone and marble cutter Ondej Allio, sculptor and plasterer Blatazar Fontana and painters Paulo Pagani and Ignc Raab. The visitors to Velehrad can not only marvel at majestic church and monastery but also enjoy themselves in one of the hotels and restaurants in the village. A former water mill was sensitively converted into a hotel that will cater to the needs of even the most demanding guests. You can also taste Moravian wines in the former monasterial cellar.

Buchlov and Buchlovice

The Chiby hills in the western parts of the Uhersk Hradit district are dominated by the Buchlov castle, which dates back to the 1st half of the 13th century. It was founded by a Czech ruler as a strategic defensive fort for the middle Moravian region and as an administrative center with the right to judge and with a so-called hunting privilege. It is one of the most important monuments of early Gothic style in Czechia. despite the fact that the castle was owned by the Czech kings until the 16th century, it was often rented to noble families as a pledge. Since the end of the 15th century, it was held by the Cimburk family, and from 16th through 18th centuries, it was successively owned by the erotn, Zstizly and Petvald families. The last owners of the castle, the Berchtold family, is to be credited for the installation of a museum that was opened to public as early as the 1850s. The castle was ceded to the state in 1945. Today, its visitors can marvel at period interiors, along with collections of stuffed animals and insects and an extensive library. Not far from Buchlov, on a hill called Modla, stands the St. Barbara chapel, built in 1672 1673 as a funeral chapel for the Buchlov owners. However, the true architectonic gem is to be found in the village of Buchlovice the Buchlovice chateau. It was built in the late Renaissance style by Italian builder Domenico Martinelli for Jan Dtich of Petvald at the turn of 17th and 18th centuries. The chateaus interior is richly decorated with frescos and stucci by Baltazar Fontana in the spirit of early Baroque. The saloons are furnished with Louis XV. XVI. era style furniture. The family portraits grace the walls, along with numerous other works of art. The chateau is surrounded by a beautiful park with staircases, terraces, an obelisk, pools, and stone vases. It is also special for a great number of exotic trees and bushes. During the tourist season, there are various exhibitions in rebuilt former stables, most notably a unique exhibition of fuchsia. In a picturesque valley southeast of Buchlovice, you can find reconstructed sulphuric spa Leopoldov with recreational area Smraavka.

Wine cellars in Vlnov

Wine-growing has a long tradition in this village. It was mentioned for the first time as early as the 14th century. On a hill beyond the village, there is a state-protected historic complex of wine cellars.

Johann Amos Comenius Museum in Uhersk Brod

The Museum was established in 1898. Today it is a specialized exposition focusing on the life and work of the towns famous native. Besides the permanent exhibition that introduces the personality of Comenius, the Museum also hosts many art and other exhibitions and other cultural events.

Biking trails
The picturesque countryside of the Morava river basin, the Chiby hills and White Carpathian mountain range, historic sights and living folklore tradition all of these things offer many different and interesting possibilities for biking. You can find more detailed information in a brochure describing biking trails, No. 39 Uhersk Hradit region, White Carpathians, Chiby. One of the trails you can find here is called Buchlovice royal trail. It starts in Star Msto and goes on via Velehrad, Buchlov castle, Zikmundov, Vlk, Bun, Komnky, Budaina, Halenkovice, Napajedla, Topoln, Blovice, Jaroov, Uh. Hradit back to Star Msto. It is 60 km long; the difficulty level is intermediate.

Bata Canal
You can make your stay in Uh. Hradit even more pleasant by travelling on the Morava river or on an artifical canal named by the well-known Zln entrepreneur and shoemaker Bata. The 50 km long canal is a historic waterway connecting Otrokovice with Rohatec, built in the 1930s. Part of it goes along the Morava river, while the other parts are artificial canals with mobile weirs, irrigation shutters, lock chambers and other water structures. The canal helped maintain acceptable levels of groundwater, served for irrigation and, since 1937, transportation (freight). After the Second World War, it served mainly tourism. In 1999, the Otrokovice Strnice section was reconstructed back to operating condition. Do not miss the Bata canal wharf (opposite the Interspar shopping mall). Those who come in on their own vessels will appreciate the public restrooms and showers. You can rent a motorboat here or go on a steamboat cruise. The wharf, which also includes a stylish restaurant, is open April through October, seven days a week. Tel.: 602 853 559

Lookout tower Uhersk Hradit Rovnina

This lookout tower above the Maatice suburb offers an exciting view of the Morava river wold and Chiby mountains to the West, White Carpathians to the East and the gate of Napajedla, Hostn mountains and Vizovice downs to the North. This 49 m high tower was built by the Eurotel telecommunications company and its observatory platform, rented by the Town of Uhersk Hradit, is freely available to the public. A visitor

has to manage 125 steps of a spiral staircase at the towers axis to find themselves 23.93 above the surrounding terrain, which equals to 190 m above the surface of the Morava river and 360 m above the sea level. The lookout tower can be accessed from the suburbs of Uhersk Hradit (1.2 miles walk from Maatice, 2 miles from Jaroov), or from the nearby village of Javorovec (1 mile). The tower is situated on a green tourist trail from Star Msto u Uherskho Hradit to Luhaovice and on the regional bike trail No. 5049 from Uhersk Hradit to Bojkovice and Pitn.