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Short history of Trebic, Czech Republic
Trebic was founded in the year 1101 when the Benedictine monastery was put up here. The town was developing, the incredible St. Procopius Basilica was built and eventually in 1335 Charles IV, then the Moravian Margrave, granted Trebic the city rights. That’s also when the Jewish population started to inhabit the place. The peak of Trebic prosperity came in the 16th and 17th century when it was one of the most important cities in Moravia, alongside Brno and Olomouc. These days Trebic is among the most beautiful and interesting destinations in Czech Republic, yet it is overlooked by many.
Did you know that the year 2016 marks 700th anniversary of Charles IV birth? You can follow footsteps of the most notable Czech ruler during your travels around Czech Republic! Just visit Charles IV travel website for more details!
Arriving to Trebic
On Sunday morning I took the bus from Telc – a 40 minutes journey took me through the winding back roads of the Czech countryside, areas I’d love to explore better in the summer time. Even if Trebic has been on my mind for a long time I went totally unprepared there with only couple of spots marked on the map. To my great surprise and relief the bus station was directly in the center, only few steps away from the bridge on Jihlava river. I could already see St. Procopius Basilica and it was amazing, much better than I expected! But I left it for the end, starting my visit in Trebic with the Jewish quarter. A quick jump across the pedestrian bridge took me to the heart of it. And I was instantly impressed!
Jewish community in Trebic
Even if every-day reality in Trebic was rather peaceful, ever since arriving to the city the Jewish population wasn’t allowed to live alongside with Christians. That’s why they’ve built their own district just across the river from the center. Once the bustling spot these days it is the best preserved Jewish neighborhood in Europe, a perfect example of how the life in numerous cities and towns across Central Europe used to look like. UNESCO appreciated the place for its legacy and included the Jewish quarter on the World Heritage List. It is the only Jewish-related place on the list outside of Israel!
The incredible Trebic synagogue
The first place I visited was the Rear (also called „New”) synagogue, built in 1669. I honestly didn’t know what I might see inside and the second I stepped in my jaw dropped. It was stunning, spacious and bright, with baroque paintings on the walls. At the upper women’s gallery there is a small exhibition of the Jewish culture as well as mockup of how the Jewish quarter used to look like but to be honest I didn’t really check it very carefully, I was too occupied with admiring the synagogue itself. I was there on my own and it felt a little bit weird but at the same time I could be just lost in my thoughts, trying to imagine the times when the synagogue was still operating. The last service was held here in 1926 and since then the building was close to demolishing only to be finally renovated at the end of the 20th century and open to public. And I’m glad it is as for me it was one of the most mystical places I’ve ever visited.
Trebic Jewish quarter
It was Sunday morning, the weather was far from decent and the Trebic Jewish quarter felt abandoned. I can count on the fingers of one hand people I’ve seen there. But at the same time I could walk around slowly, looking carefully at all the houses, corners and details. Very quickly the place reminded me of Sighisoara, Romania – similar architecture, cobbled lanes and colorful houses. It was just the prettiest! There are over one hundred buildings remaining in Trebic Jewish quarter, including two synagogues, the Jewish town hall, the rabbi’s house, the school and the hospital. The whole area is very well marked with signs and so quickly I found myself getting up the hill, heading towards the Jewish cemetery. But before I got there I could admire a beautiful view of the Jewish quarter, St. Procopius Basilica and the rest of Trebic from above.
Trebic Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish cemetery in Trebic is among the most impressive one in Czech Republic and Central Europe. Located on the hill it is a home to over 2.000 graves in Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist style. Around 11.000 people were buried here! For the reason I can’t even explain Jewish cemeteries interest me, wherever there is one I always try to visit (like in Sarajevo, Chernivtsi or Kazimierz Dolny). And so the one in Trebic was a real treat for me. Old tombstones covered in moss or ivy, with barely seen inscriptions – a place like this really can play tricks with your imagination, it did with mine especially since I was again all on my own. Even if it is a little bit uphill to get to the cemetery it is definitely worth the effort as this place is so beautiful in its own way.
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St. Procopius Basilica – another UNESCO site in Trebic
I’m really impressed that such a small town (around 30.000 inhabitants) has two UNESCO sites, the second one being St. Procopius Basilica. Located at the hill just outside the Jewish district it is a real masterpiece of the medieval architecture. Built in the 13th century on the site where part of the Benedictine Monastery used to be it is an unique blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles. Already the exterior looks impressive, especially so called Paradise gate protecting incredible Romanesque portal. Inside, however, it is a real gem – a Gothic pearl with the original paintings from that period. I was lucky as the Sunday mass has just ended and so I could sneak in to admire it myself!
A quick look at other sites in Trebic
At that time it started to rain and I quickly headed to the train station to catch the train to Brno and then further back to Poland. I didn’t really see the center of Trebic, only stormed through it, but it looked nice with a big main square – Karlovo Namesti – and colorful houses around. Trebic didn’t disappoint, it was exactly as I expected. It took me ages to go there but I’m glad I finally visited Trebic. And you should do!
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If you think of visiting Czech Republic or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it:
- Beautiful and overlooked Jihlava, Czech Republic
- Jeseniky Mountains: witches, spa towns and other attractions
- Cool places to visit in the Czech Republic
- and many more!
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