The majority of people visiting Czech Republic focus only on Prague and surroundings and I get that – it is stunning out there (Prague is my all time favorite city anyway). But the country has so much more to offer, with so many interesting little towns that you probably haven’t heard of.
One of them is Trebic – located in southern part of Czech Republic it is a home to not one but two (!) UNESCO World Heritage Sites! When I finally managed to visit Trebic it was like a dream coming true!
- Where to stay in Trebic: Hotel Joseph 1699 (9.1/10) / Hotel Kocour (9.0/10)
- Best day trip from Prague to Trebic: Day Trip from Prague to the UNESCO Towns of Trebic and Telc and a renaissance gem – Telc castle
- Save money on exchange rates with Revolut pre-paid card (I’ve been using it for years now). Order your bank card here.
- Get insured for your trip to Czech Republic with SafetyWing
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.
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!
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!
If you’re looking for articles about any place in particular this map with posts might be useful for you. Or just take a look at the “destinations” page.
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Disclaimer: My trip was in partnership with Czech Tourism but as always all opinions are 100% mine.
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marcin11/12/2016 at 08:19
I have been watching your photo posts in instagram feom trebic and I added it for my spring travel list :) Thanks!
kami12/12/2016 at 23:04
Great, I’m sure you will like it there!
stacjabalkany11/12/2016 at 10:36
Szkoda że nie było chociaż odrobiny słońca, wtedy zdjęcia fajne wychodzą. Przyznam szczerze że nawet nie słyszałem wcześniej o tym miejscu w Czechach…
kami12/12/2016 at 23:05
ano co zrobić, na pogodę wpływu nie mamy a i takie ryzyko podróży w listopadzie. A miasto naprawdę ciekawe, polecam!
Mr_Szpak11/12/2016 at 21:24
genialne są te wąski uliczki, zakochałem się. Uwielbiam taki klimat, jeszcze kiedy się nimi spaceruje i nie widać ludzi. Czad :)
kami12/12/2016 at 23:05
w takim razie polecam Trebic, naprawdę urokliwie tam!
Fonzo12/12/2016 at 15:04
Kami, you continue to open up amazing places that the average traveller wouldn’t consider. Nice review of Trebic (along with Telc and others in CZ). Trebic looks like a charming place but the lack of people in your pictures is haunting. Perhaps fitting as, although a UNESCO site for the Jewish Quarter, there were only 344 Jews in Trebic after WWI, and only a few left after WWII. And “none” now according to UNESCO. I find it hard to appreciate such an important tribute in Trebic but no corollary living people to reflect with, other than a memory at their grave sites.
kami12/12/2016 at 23:21
Thank you! The reason why it was so empty might be that I was in Trebic on Sunday morning and the weather was rather terrible and not nice to be outside. I believe it is more alive on different circumstances! But I think Trebic is sadly just one of many towns in this part of Europe with similar history of the Jewish community…
stacjabalkany14/12/2016 at 10:19
Własnie mnie też zastanawia czemu centra czeskich miast i miasteczek są bardzo często w weekendy puste? Poza Pragą rzecz jasna…, kiedy byłem kiedyś na wiosnę na weekend w Ołomuńcu było dokładnie tak samo, ale może to miła odmiana po wiecznie zatłoczonej Pradze:)
kami15/12/2016 at 08:38
Taka mentalność, po prostu. Czesi wbrew pozorom są od nas bardzo różni. Ale w Brnie np też w weekendy sporo osób jest na mieście, widać że to duży ośrodek :)
Karolina14/12/2016 at 15:39
Piękny Cmentarz Żydowski! Przypomina mi nasz cieszyński, też jest położony na wzgórzu!!
kami15/12/2016 at 08:39
Szczerze mówiąc to ten cieszyński mi się bardziej podobał! Musze tam wrócić!
Nenu Singh29/05/2017 at 21:42
Hello there, Loved your blog about Trebic, we plan to visit that place on our way to Prague.
Any tips to what to see there in a hour?
kami21/06/2017 at 08:05
Thank you! One hour is not too much but you definitely can see the Jewish quarter and maybe also the basilica. But Trebic is worth at least 2-3 hours! Good luck!
Sara27/03/2018 at 00:43
I have been trying to figure out how to get to Trebic from Prague.
Any suggestions would be most appreciated.
kami29/03/2018 at 21:22
The best would be to get to Brno (which is super easy from Prague) and from there go to Trebic – it’s around one hour away. And Brno is well worth a visit too!
Martin30/03/2018 at 09:46
Hi Kami, how long time did take your tour in Trebic as described ? We land at about 11am in Prague, want to see Telc (how long may be needed there ?) and will overnight in Valtice. Thanks for sharing your experience. Martin
kami05/04/2018 at 22:18
It took me around 3 hours in Trebic but the weather was pretty awful at times, otherwise I’d easily spend 1-2 more hours there. As for Telc it took me around 1 hour (it’s really tiny!) but again I blame the weather for that – that’s the downside of travelling at the end of November :)
Helena30/03/2018 at 10:49
Kami, thank you for a very good introduction to Trebic, such a beautiful city with a strong Jewish heritage in the Czech Republic. We certainly will visit it next time when we are in CR – which is quite often, thanks to my Czech-English origin… BTW, when I travel alone in Australia, China, Japan, I noticed that I absorbed much more of country and its people than when being with somebody – there was no need to pay any attention to anybody else. On the other hand, I missed sharing some experience with somebody else. Nevertheless, you are brave to travel alone, even in Europe. Keep well and best wishes for your further activities!!! What are they?
kami05/04/2018 at 22:24
Thank you for your lovely comment Helena! You are right, travelling solo gives you more opportunities to observe the world around you. When I’m travelling on my own I spent much more time talking to friends and family at home, to share the experience with them, as – just like you said – sometimes you just feel like telling someone about your experience. I hope you will visit Trebic soon, it’s such a lovely place!
Buddie Lebenon18/04/2019 at 09:04
Hi Kami Great article and photos on Trebic. I lived there for 3 years as an expat teaching at the Catholic Gymnasium School. Next time pop into one the many pubs like Lucky’s in Jewish Town and meet the friendly locals and make friends for life. Pub daily special is always good with delicious polivka (soup). Sundays folks sleep late especially if its cold. Keep up the exploring and living the life. I am impressed with your time management and commend you on that. You should write a book because we waste so much time doing nothing. I always say ‘work hard, play hard’.
kami27/04/2019 at 13:11
Thank you so much for your kind comment! We indeed waste too much time doing nothing but I think the busier we are, more can be done and fit into schedules. Trebic was lovely, I can see why you enjoyed it there so much. I would love to go back there when the weather is nicer! All the best!