Old Town of Telč (World Heritage)

The former Telč, with its town houses and arcades, is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. The town’s highlight is the market square with its Renaissance and Baroque houses from the 16th and 17th centuries. It is one of the most beautiful places of its kind in Central Europe.

Telč Old Town: Facts

Official title: Historical center of Telč
Cultural monument: “White pearl of the Czech cities” with beautiful town houses and arcades on the “Street of the Czech Renaissance”
Continent: Europe
Country: Czech Republic, southwest Moravia
Location: Telč, south of Jihlava, in the so-called Bohemian-Moravian Highlands
Appointment: 1992
Meaning: Unity of the city ensemble with a Gothic floor plan and with “modernizations” in the style of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque

Old town of Telč: history

1333-39 Margrave Karl, son of Johann von Luxemburg, lord of Telč Castle
1336 first mention as a city
1458-71 under King Georg von Podebrady brewing and salt law
1526-89 Reign of Zacharias von Neuhaus
1530 City fire
1554-68 Conversion of the castle into a renaissance palace
1651-55 Construction of the Jesuit college
1667 Completion of construction of the baroque church “In the name of Jesus”
1720 Erection of the Marian column on the market square
1777-1883 Billing of Austrian soldiers
1980-84 Restoration of the ornate Renaissance wooden ceiling in the golden hall of the castle

A Renaissance-Baroque-Rococo-Empire “House Parade”

Telč and its town square: In every illustrated book that has appeared on Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Moravia, this view is missing – a picture-book backdrop of colorful town houses, a gem of urban architecture, a “house parade” in the style of Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Empire, which the monument protection in what was then Czechoslovakia had been intensively addressing since 1950.

Marketplaces as places of community and arenas of civic pride and prosperity are a characteristic of the Czech Republic. In Telč, the 5600-resident town, the triangular market is elongated and lies between two of the large fish ponds often found in South Bohemia and South Moravia, which formerly formed part of the late Gothic town fortifications. Two gates lead to the square and there are two churches, a Jesuit college and the town hall; two ornamental fountains flank the Marien or Plague column, and where the square tapers is the castle.

Gates, churches, pillars of the plague, castle – all of this can be found in and on several other marketplaces in the country. The specialty of Telč, however, is that each of the town houses on the town square is individually designed. The house fronts with their inviting arcades and wide arches form a long and, at first glance, uniform row, and yet no two buildings are the same. Sometimes the facade is pink or white, sometimes in a delicate blue, in “imperial yellow” or in shades of brown. And no gable of the Telčer houses is like the other: one time it is curved, then again stepped, sometimes crowned with battlements and in other places decorated with figures. Sgraffito can be seen on the facades of the houses and also stucco ornaments, styles of the Renaissance, Baroque.

In 1530 a devastating fire destroyed the wooden buildings at this location. Then the rows of colorful town houses were rebuilt on the old floor plan. It can be assumed that the Italian architects Antonio Vlach and Baldassare Maggi da Arogno, who were commissioned to transform the Gothic Telč Castle into a Renaissance chateau, and their workmen also influenced the design of the town houses in the middle of the 16th century. The lord of the castle Zacharias von Neuhaus, who came from the important Rosenberg family, knew Italy firsthand and wanted to see his small residence emerge as a Renaissance beauty in the gently undulating landscape of South Moravia. The castle with its splendid interior is also a reflection of Italian aristocratic palaces. As for the market, This is how a compromise was found between the local tradition, which is expressed in the plaza, and the architecture imported by Italian artists. This is how the “Bohemian” or “Moravian Renaissance” came about.

The repeatedly impressive squares in the Czech Republic, whether it’s the town square, the market square or – as the Old Town Square is called in Prague – the Ring, are among the most beautiful in Europe. Even if gates, churches, town houses and a castle make up their structural environment, ultimately there is no place like the other: The huge Námesti Přemysla Otakara II from České Budějovice, for example, looks almost Italian, and the house facades of the town square in Prachatice ( Prachatitz) on the “Goldenen Steig” are famous for their splendid renaissance style design. Civic pride, clergy and nobility have created this city backdrop, and this is particularly successful in Telč in southern Moravia.

Old Town of Telč (World Heritage)