Monday, February 22, 2010

Day trip to Znojmo - Feb 20, 2010


Unlike other weekends, we actually decided to do something fun for a change (yes, we have been totally focused on organizing our apartment till now).  We decided to drive down to a town called Znojmo after picking up our airshipped box that finally arrived after 1.5 months(!). For those of you who speaks Japanese, the town's name sounds like Zuno-Imo (頭脳芋). :)

Znojmo is about a 40 mins drive from Brno.  It is located close to the border of Austria.  The town is famous for its medieval architecture.  Of course it was the first time there for us, and we didn't have a map of the town or anything, so once we got into the town we decided to park on the edge of one of the roundabouts that looked like it was the center of the town and walk towards the church-like building, hoping to run into something interesting.

We were hungry, so we first stopped at a restaurant we found right across from the church.   I have to say we had the best steak that we've eaten here in the Czech Republic!  We have been so unhappy with aall the steaks we have ordered ever since getting to Brno, but we finally found one that we liked!  It was not perfect, but it was the best so far for sure. We also got a cheese plate, which is supposedly a famous dish here, a cup of garlic soup that was also just wonderful, and of course a glass of beer.

Church of the Holy Cross

After lunch, we headed to the church. I felt a bit guilty going into the church after a glass of beer, but anyway... The church we went in was Kostel Nalezení svatého Kříže.  In English translation, it seems to mean "Church of the Holy Cross."  The church was founded in 1230 but got destroyed in 1555 by a big fire. Unlike the exterior look, the interior was quite gorgeous with lots of gold color.  It also contained very old looking paintings.  No one was in the church when we arrived, so my hubby knelt down and tried to be religious for a moment.


Town surrounded by rampart

Leaving the church behind, we decided to go back to the car and drive around instead of walking around, as it was getting very cold.  Later we found out, though, that we were so close to the center of the town already. But, it was good to drive around as all the houses and streets were just so cute and interesting.  The town of Znojmo seems to be surrounded by the rampart.  It also is built on a steep hill, and there is a castle on the top as well as the church called The Gothic Church of St. Nicholas.

Town Hall

IMG_5582We parked our car close to the church-like building. We knew that we would get to the city center if we aimed for a church.  But, apparently it was the famous Town Hall Tower and not a church. The tower, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Znojmo, is 75m (250ft) tall and was built around 1446.  From a distance, it looks like a church.  From there, you can walk down or up to different squares.
IMG_5578Really close to the Town Hall, there was a building with a very old looking painting on the wall. It almost reminded me of the painting using the Sgraffito technique.
Unfortunately during the winter time, most of the sightseeing tours are only available for big parties and not for individuals like us, and we could not see too much, but we just enjoyed walking around the town. I could just imagine the town filled with people during the summer time.


We drove further to the east side of the town in search of the Rotunda. Again, the tour was not there, but we enjoyed seeing the scenery from the area. It was like a pretty painting. I could just imagine how pretty it would be during the summer time with sun beaming over the red brick roofs and enhancing the vibrant color of each building.


After wandering around for a while, we managed to take a tour of Znojmo Catacombs, which is an underground series of corridors and cellars that extends over 27 km in length.  It goes down to four stories in some places and is said to be the largest in central Europe.
According to the brochure that I got at the Catacombs, it was built at the turn of the 15th centry.  Znojmo at that time was a town rich in agricultural products and also an important trade center. All of the residential houses thus had some storage spaces for goods and stocks under the ground. And at some point, they decided to interconnect these cellers. They ended up extracting 50-55 thousand cubic meters of rock, using it mainly for the strategic and defensive purposes during the battles.

It was a quick day trip, and the weather was not superb, but we very much enjoyed the town of Znojmo. We will definitely go back once it gets warmer to see the inside of Rotunda as well as The Gothic Church of St. Nicholas, another landmark in Znojmo.


  1. A very good post, I hope you will return to our town

    1. Thank you. Would love that if we ever have another chance!