09.23.2011 - 09.23.2011
On Friday morning, I boarded the train for a short ride to the Czech town of Tábor. There wasn’t much to see from the train, but I took a few pictures of the countryside.
The reason I decided to visit Tábor is that it is the town where my great-grandfather, Josef Hromada, was born in 1871. He later lived in Vienna and then immigrated to the U.S. in 1893. Although I don’t know exactly where he lived in Tábor, it was fun to sort of walk in his shoes for a day.
My first stop was to check in at the beautiful Hotel Nautilus on the town square, Žižkovo Square.
I only spent one night in town, so I splurged a little bit on the hotel. It was really nice and I had a great view of the square from my window.
The town of Tábor was founded in 1420 by a man named Jan Žižka. Žižka, for whom Žižkovo Square is named, was a follower of Jan Hus (remember him from the Bethlehem Chapel?). There is a statue of Žižka in the middle of the square.
Here are some other views of Žižkovo Square:
As it turns out, Tábor, even though it is rather small, has a few tourist attractions, most of which are right on the square. I started at the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. It was closed for renovations, but they had a back door open, so I was able to get a peek inside.
They also allow visitors to climb the stairs up the bell tower. The stairs could more accurately be described as ladders. I didn’t like that very much, so I didn’t quite make it to the top. But, I did get a nice view from this window.
The Museum of the Hussite Movement, which is in the old Town Hall, was next. The museum had a lot of information about the Hussites who started the town of Tábor.
Unfortunately, most of the displays were in Czech, so I didn’t learn all that much. After I went through the museum, I took a guided tour through the underground tunnels that are under the town square. The tour was also entirely in Czech, but I did learn that the tunnels had been built in the 15th century as an escape route for residents in case the city was attacked. Families also used them as shelters if their homes burned, which was common at that time. I can’t imagine living in such a cold, dark place, but I guess they did what they had to do.
The other big attraction is Kotnov Castle. The castle was built in the 14th century and holds a museum about the Middle Ages.
The outside is under renovations, but I still got some nice views of the town from the tower.
The castle was built as part of the city wall, parts of which you can still see.
After having lunch at a restaurant on the square, I spent most of the afternoon just wandering around. The narrow streets wind around in every direction. The town was built that way on purpose to confuse any would-be attackers. I didn’t try to figure out where I was; it was fun to just walk around and look at the houses.
As I was walking, I found Husi Square. Here I saw the Church of the Birth of the Virgin Mary
and a small photography museum called the Šechtl & Voseček Museum of Photography.
The museum was a collection of photos taken in Tábor at the end of the 1800s. Some of them were taken when my great-grandfather probably would have been living there, so it was neat to see the city the way he saw it. There was one picture of the town square packed with people for the unveiling of the new statue of Jan Žižka. I wonder if he could have been in that picture. It’s fun to think about being in the same places he was.
I had dinner at another restaurant on the square called Budvarka U Zlateho and then sat on a bench in the square for a while.
It’s a very quiet town square, especially compared to the Old Town Square in Prague.