SIGHTS

 
Mlada Boleslav
Skoda Auto museum in Mlada Boleslav
The museum of the firm Škoda car CORP. offers three permanent expositions: a motors gallery, one of the story of the automobile manufacture of the factory foundation 1895 to the present dedicated exposition and the newest exposition Slavia with a collection of automobiles that are intended for the renovation. After arrangement, the examination of the production businesses or the insight in the depository of the museum is possible.
Škoda Auto , Václava Klementa 294,
293 60 Mladá Boleslav Tel:+420 326 831 134, +420 326 832 038
E-mail:
museum@skoda-auto.cz Open all year from 09.00 till 17.00 hours

Jaromeř
On the station of Jaromer is a permanent exhibition of old locomotives and train statement to admire.
www.spolecnost-zeleznicni.cz, telefoon 972 343 192.

The Ossuary in Sedlec - Kutna Hora
Kutna Hora is a town in the Czech Republic about 70 km (44 miles) east of the capital Prague. The town flourished during the 1300 due to the immense silver findings in the vicinity. The town provided most of the silver for the coins circulating in Europe at the time. As the town
grew new churches were built and old ones repaired and expanded.
One of the most famous medieval cathedrals, the Church of Santa Barbara (Kostel sv. Barbora), was built at that time with money raised from the miners from the area in honour of their industry's patron saint and without involvment of any governmental funding.

Another less known church (but of major interest to us!) was sittuated in Sedlec - a kind of a suburb to Kutna Hora some 2 kilometres away from the Kutna Hora town centre itself and got heavily expanded with a new Chapel added to the old buildings.

The Sedlec Cistercians weren't just joining the Kutna Hora construction boom when they started expanding. They did it because of practical reasons. That chapel with its belonging graveyard had become a well-known and attractive place to get ones relatives buried in a long time ago. Why you may ask?..
The answer is to be found in the actions of a certain abbot Henry. In the year of thy lord 1278 the Cistercian abbot Henry embarked on a pilgrim voyage to the Holy Land (Palestine). This was more or less common practice for people of the church at the time. What he couldn't have imagined is the effect a little symbolic deed that he performed would have on the future of
the little Sedlec church.

While in Palestine abbot Henry visited the Golgotha and from there he brought back to Sedlec a jar full of earth. He referred to this as 'Holy Soil'.
When he got back he spread the earth over the Sedlec cemetery and thus the cemetery begun to be considered as a piece of sacred land. The burial ground rapidly became one of the most popular in central Europe and people from all over the country and Europe came to Sedlec to get buried when they felt the strength of life diminishing. Many brought their dead relatives or friends to be buried in the holy soil of the Sedlec cemetery believing that the holyness of the ground was a sure way to guarantee the buried a place in heaven.
Many corpses and bones were accumulated this way and especially during the times of the plague (the black death) many who were about to die from the disease came themselves to be buried in Sedlec. By 1318 over 30 000 bodies were buried there and this gave rise to the creation of the ossuary.

The ossuary is located in the All Saints' Chapel built around 1400. The chapel is still surrounded by a functioning graveyard and if you take a careful look at the top of its towers you will see that
that a "jolly roger", or a skull and crossbones, replace the usual Christian cross. The ossuary itself dates from 1511 when a half-blind monk was given the task to gather the bones from the abolished graves and putting them in the crypt to make place for new "customers". The task may seem somewhat macabre and unenviable but it served a practical purpose. Anyhow - now the material was in store and waiting for an idea and someone to realize that idea.

A more questionable task than the one of the half-blind monk was the one of the local woodcarver who as late as 1870 was hired to decorate the inside of the Chapel with the human material (an approximate of 40 000 sets of human bones) at his disposal. The name of the artist was Frantisek Rindt and the employer was the Duke (Prince?) of Shwartzenberg. The coats of arms of the family Shwartzenberg was one of the creations evolved from the artists mind. Another one is
the chandelier which contains every human bone in the body, several times over, of course.

However questionable the Ossuary - it is real. The bones are real. The feeling of death is real. But also the feeling of peace. Most of the dead in the Ossuary died a "natural" i.e. non-violent death and the bones were removed from the ground to give more Christians the possibility to be buried on holy ground.
I'd like to stress the fact that the church is not made of bones as so many seem to think! The interior is decorated with human bones but it's a "normal" church made of stone and bricks. I'd also
like to point out that it's a normal Christian church with a Christ on the cross figure and all the rest. It's not some weird cult or Satanist church or anything like that.

Need I say that a visit is strongly recommended?...

KUKS Castle
Very worth seeing is the end with a hospital and church. The church is considered as one of the most beautiful baroque complex of Bohemia. Definitely a visits landlord is the
old pharmacy. On the castle wall, the images of Matthias Braun stand that depict "the good and the bad".

BRECSTEJN
Ruins of a castle on a forest hill by the Hradecek community North ot Vlcice. Mentioned first in 1336 and denoted with the name Kamen. From 1543 onwards, it was intended to guard an ancient national pathway. Left at the end of 16. century.

HORNI MARSOV
The chateau was built by the order of Alfons Aichelburg in 1792. It is a single store building, with four wings and a central risolitto facade. The last restoration was carried out in 1952.

CHOJNIK (Poland)
It was mentioned for the first time by Slezian chronicles already in the mid 12. century when a hunting court was established on the site of an original castle. The castle was originally built by the order of Bolko I. in 1292 to protect the national borders. The castle underwent a reconstruction ordered by Bolko II. after 1355. The castle was sold to one of the courtiers, who was the knight Gotsche Schoff by Bolko II's wife Agnieszka after his death. The castle Chojnik remained a property of the Schoff family until 1635. It was not until 1650 that the castle had been purchased by Christoph Leopold Schaffgotsch. The castle burnt down completely after it had been struck by lightning in 1675 and it has never been reconstructed again.

THE CASTLE OF STEPANICE
Ruins ot a Gothic castle which was built on the side of the Pasecky hill probably at the beginning of 14. century by the order of Jan of Valdstejn. The castle served as a national boundary fortification to protect a Czech pathway to Slezia. The castle was left in 1524 when the aristocracy owning it moved to Jilemnice nearby. The ruins currently contain a four-sided barbican and a part of the rampart.

THE CHATEAU OF JILEMNICE
It was established by an aristocratic family from Ujezdec in 16. century. The chateau underwent a restoration in 1716, and it was transformed into a Pseudo-Renaissance style by a reconstruction in 1892. The one-store building with three wings and polygonal corner towers is situated in a large park. The building is nowadays a home of the museum of the Krkonose (with an exhibition on history of skiing in the Krkonose).

NISTEJKA
Ruins of a castle which was probably established in the first half of 14. century on a steep rock on the right hand side bank of the Jizera river. The castle was mentioned already in records trom 1369. It was evacuated in 1519. The only ruins left from the original building are the remainders of residential palace walls and a keep tower.

TRUTNOV
Originally a castle built in 13. century, rebuilt into a chateau in 1599, which then became a town property. Demolished by the Swedes in 1647 and transformed into a school in the middle of 19. century. The building is a property of the Museum of the Lower Krkonose Surroundings Region at present.

VRCHLABI
The castle was built by the order of Krystof of Gendorf in about 1546. It is a two-store Renaissance building. There are four eight-sided corner towers. Instead of a courtyard in the centre ot the building, there is a large hall with a barrel vault. Four paintings on the walls depict the hunts of the last bears in the Krkonose in the period from 1665 to 1726.

THE CASTLE OF ZACLER
It was constructed by the order of the prince Sobeslav for the purpose of providing a national boundary protection in 1136. The knight Jan Kolda of Zampach, who was a thief used the castle as a starting base for his robbing expeditions to Slezia and Luzice, and as a consequence it was demolished by the order of the aristocracy of these two regions in 1523. The castle was re-established again later and donated to Jesuits from Vienna after its confiscation. About the year 1750, the castle underwent a Baroque-style reconstruction and was transformed into a chateau. The last amendments of the castle construction date from 1894.

THE STRONGHOLD OF HORNI BRANA
The stronghold had been originally placed by the building of what is now the castle until it was demolished in 16. century. A Renaissance chateau was built between 1533 and 1582 by the order of Zdenek of Valdstejn. The ownership of the castle was held by Vaclav since 1606. The last owner was the Harrach famlly, which held it until 1945.