This morning I read a Vienna blogger’s post wherein she had forgotten about the shutdown for All Saint’s Day (Saturday) and the usual Sunday Shutdown. I prefer to think about the shutdowns in terms of days, but she summed it up as 60 hours of closure, from Friday evening when the stores closed to Monday morning when they will all open again. Her column depressed me, as did the misty grey skies I peered at through my windows, and I realized that with about 24 hours of shutdown still remaining, we were going to need a run for an open border to retain our sanity.
Břeclav, Czech Republic to the rescue. Tony and I have been many, many times to Břeclav but only to shop at the magnificent Tesco at the city’s northern edge. We had never taken time to explore the city proper, and we were soon humbled by how steeped in history this Moravian village is.
Břeclav was an important railway hub for Prague, Brno, Bratislava and Vienna and was thus heavily bombed during WWII. The city is now mostly a dreary post-Cold War architectural headache. Still, with just a little imagination, and excellent city maps, it is possible to find some of its former elegance.
The St. Rochus Chapel, built in memory of a cholera epidemic.
Břeclav’s synagogue is no longer active as a house of worship, having been destroyed during WWII. Now it is a museum of the history of the city’s Jewish population. There are currently no Jewish people living in Břeclav.
Included in the exhibit was a collection of the “currency” with which the Jews at Terezin were paid for their labor. This currency had no value outside the camp, and the prisoners at the camp were limited in how it could be spent within.
The Liechtenstein Family were lords of the Moravian lands that included Břeclav; remarkably this city house survived WWII.
Once upon a time, the beautiful Baroque St. Wenceslas Church stood on this site. Then along came WWII. This modern structure took its place in 1992.
A little southwest of Břeclav’s “old town” is the St. Mary parish church, constructed under authorization of Prince Jan II of Liechtenstein. The church is notable for its red brick exterior and the green glazed roof tiles.
By midday the grey skies had given way to blue (hurrah!) and made the perfect backdrop for the ruins of Zamek Břeclav (Břeclav Castle).
These photos of the castle courtyard were taken in the morning, when the skies were still gray. Another architectural headache waiting for the right entrepreneur.
Near the border with Austria (as in, within a stones’ throw) there is Hotel Celnice and its restaurant, tucked behind concrete barriers and facing an old, abandoned border checkpoint station. Anna Grace and I discovered this gem earlier in the summer, and today Tony became another fan. In fact, we almost could not get a table at this restaurant that easily seats 150 guests! Lunch was delicious; perfectly grilled Zander (of course) for me, and juicy roast pork for Tony.
Funny enough, in our “wing” of the restaurant were 5 other families enjoying lunch, all of them speaking German. I guess even Austrians need to make a run for an open border, too.