Lednice is called the pearl of the Czech historic and cultural heritage treasury, founded by the House of Liechtenstein, one of the oldest, wealthiest and enlightened families of that time. The cultivation of soil, the harmony of architecture of the castle, gardens, vineyards and the surrounding area is admirable even today. You must visit the fairy-tale chateau, the greenhouse (92m = 300ft long) and the gardens, or have a ride in a boat or in a carriage around John’s Castle or the minaret. There are many interesting "decorative" buildings, such as a hunting lodge, a classical colonnade, the Temple of the Three Graces, an artificial cave or an aqueduct.
Valtice an important wine making centre, where the Brno Mendel University has a detached winemaking faculty. A "House of Wine" has been established in the chateau and in nearby cellars dating to 1270 which have been restored you can take a 900m (100yd) long walk combined with wine tasting. Of course, various events take place here too, such as celebrations, cimbalom music nights and others. Lednice-Valtice Area is a UNESCO Heritage Site, it's a part of Moravia where wine, folk music, costumes, architecture, nature and love for the region are all combined together.
Formerly the archbishop's seat (now in Olomouc), there is also a chateau with a collection of paintings (e.g. a painting by Titian), antique furniture and furnishings and an extensive library. This is also the place where the Russian Tsar Alexander III met with the Emperor Franz Joseph I. Beautiful gardens are all around, especially the so-called Flower Garden, a unique feat of gardening from the 17th century. In addition to the French style garden, there is a rotunda with Foucault pendulum (the same is in the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles), and a magnificent colonnade with statues of rulers and Roman gods, which is 244m (820ft) long. Many buildings in the Czech Republic are the work of Italian architects and artists. In Kroměříž we can also visit a mint, a museum or the Archbishop's Wine Cellars. The Czech director, Milos Forman, shot the movie AMADEUS in the chateau. He was already living in the US then, here we still had the socialist state and he had to travel to Vienna to spend the night (200 km), as he wasn’t allowed to stay in the country.
The Holy Trinity Column, finished in 1754 is a thanksgiving for the end of the plague epidemic. It is 35m high (110ft) and includes a chapel. It shows 30 statues, two sculptural groups and 12 reliefs with apostles. It is the largest grouping of Baroque statues in one sculpture in the Czech Republic. It was sanctified by Maria Theresa, the Austrian-Hungarian Empress. It will completely amaze you!
Brno - Villa Tugendhat
Brno is the "capital" of Moravia, famous for organizing international trade fairs, Grand Prix motorcycle competitions and also for having a UNESCO Heritage Site, the Villa Tugendhat. It was built in 1930 by an eminent European architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, for a Jewish family, the Tugendhats. However, before the war and Hitler’s reign, the family managed to flee to Switzerland and later to Venezuela. After the war, it was taken over by the communists and it even functioned as a kindergarten. It is a unique building in a functionalist style, constructed without bearing walls with just a steel frame. The architect used the latest technologies of that time and designed the interior as well, from light fittings to door handles.
It is a Biosphere Reserve, a protected area, where you can find many species of rare animals and plants. There are orchid flower meadows, which are often mowed manually with scythes, just like in the old times. It is because of the shape of the terrain, but also to preserve the original way of life. In addition, the people in the White Carpathians are closely connected with nature, that is perhaps why many customs and traditions are still observed here today and which you will not find elsewhere.
Intangible Heritage - UNESCO
Vlčnov - every year, last Sunday in May Kunovice - every 2 years (2014, 2016,2018...) Hluk - every 3 years, next 2017, 2020 Skoronice - every 4 years, next 2019 The Ride of the Kings - UNESCO Intangible Heritage What is The Ride of the Kings? It is one of the traditions that have been passed down through generations. One explanation is that it is either a rite of passage where a boy changes into a man (because the "king" must be a virgin = approx. ten years old), but another explanation is that it tells of an escape of the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus after losing a battle with the Czech King George of Podebrady in 1469, when he fled the battlefield dressed up in women's clothing with a small entourage of protectors. Today the Ride involves a boy dressed in a girl's folk costume riding on a white horse while holding a rose in his mouth (so he does not speak and thus reveals himself). He is protected by 4 pages ("bodyguards") and other members of the group call to passers-by for a contribution for the king, to help him found a new kingdom. These calls are in the form humorous verses. The men prepare everything well in advance and ride on their horses to get used to each other. On Sunday morning, they ask the mayor for permission to Ride and then they ride through the village. At first, the group rides alone and later a parade of costumed participants with music joins them. During the last Ride, almost 30 young men took part on horseback (those in the King’s party should be of conscript age). The Ride of the Kings was also presented in Prague, as part of the Navalis Saint John of Nepomuk celebrations, where Cardinal Dominik Duka gave us his blessings. The whole Prague watched in amazement the hundreds of people in folk costumes, the King and his entourage, the horse walking through Prague to Prague Castle, attending Mass in the cathedral and walking over the Charles Bridge, finishing the journey at the Křížovnické Square ... yes, all this did happen too. This tradition can only be seen in 4 villages - Hluk (every 3 years, next July 2017) Vlčnov (every year in May) Kunovice (every 2 years, next 2016) and Skoronice (Kyjov) (every 4 years, next 2019)
Verbunk, a dance performed by men, is such a unique and rare phenomenon that it was entered into the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. It is performed by men in central and southern Moravia and there are contests for the best verbir (recruit). What kind of a dance is it? A man would stand before the music band and by his confidence and good singing he would "determine" the melody and rhythm of the song the band should play for him. He had to show his strength and confidence, before the other men (to gain respect) and before his girl or all the girls present. At first, the man dances on his own, later he may invite the other men to join him to show their dancing as well. The dance involves a lot of gestures and movements and the quality of the performance indicates the level of standard of the dancer. It is just about impossible to learn it, we say that our men are born with this gift.