In 1824, a new Classicist gate was installed into the old City Walls below St. Nicholas’s Church.
A new garden with a wide serpentine path was built down the steep slope below Znojmo’s Deblin Chateau, which made access to the City Swimming Pool situated along the River Dyje much quicker.
Trees, bushes and flowers were planted along the path which terminated at the river adjacent to the Old Stone Mill (now the Veteran Motor Museum).
The sloping garden was named Caroline’s Garden to commemorate the visit of the Austrian Empress, Caroline Augusta of Bavaria (1792-1872), along with her husband Emperor Francis I in 1833.
During the 19th Century a few wooden and brick pavilions , benches and belvederes were added along the path.
In recent times representative, new vineyards have been planted in Caroline’s Garden, along with a large amount of lavender plants and Calvary statues were moved from St. Elisabeth’s Church on Vienna Road during its refurbishment.
In 1875 the garden was extended to the south. Replacing old vineyards with a new, more intimate garden. It was called the Paradise Garden.
There are two parks in Znojmo City. The main City Park and Jubilee Park.
The City Park
Znojmo City Park is situated in between the Medieval City Center and the modern section of the town and spans an area from the top of the town close to the old “Prague Gate” down to the bottom of the town close to the old “Vienna Gate” (Wolf Tower).
When the city walls had decayed and were becoming unsightly, a group of Znojmo citizens started a project to plant a series of tree-lined avenues, that later surrounded one half of the Historic City replacing the outer city moat. Thus the City Park was founded in 1804.
The dilapidated outer city walls became part of the City Park walls, the bastions and small towers were converted into pavilions.
The park is divided into three parts – upper, middle and lower.
In the Lower Park there is an interesting ceramic fountain dating back to the end of the 19th Century, and more recently a play area for small children was added along with a new gateway into the park leading from Dolni Česká Street.
The middle section passes by Znojmo’s two Grammar Schools and leads onto the reconstructed Komenského Square with the large controversial monument of a Victory Nike dedicated to Karl Von Kopal who lead Emperor Franz Joseph I’s troops to a bloody victory in Italy in the late 19th Century.
The upper park passes by the town stadium, music pavilion and a memorial to victims of the Czechoslovakian resistance against communist tyrany.
This peaceful oasis in the heart of a busy city has been very popular with Znojmo citizens since its foundation.
In 1928 the State of Czechoslovakia celebrated its tenth anniversary since its foundation, to commemorate a new park was constructed in Znojmo.
On the upper part Jaroš Avenue there was a large empty square, which was remodelled to become Jubilee Park. During these times, Znojmo, similar to rest of Czechoslovakia, was a multinational city (largely German).
So while the City Park was considered the domain of Znojmo’s German population, Jubilee Park became a symbol of the new Czech Znojmo (Znojmo City’s first Czech Mayor, JUDr. Josef Mareš (1885 – 1945), was voted into power in 1920).
Jubilee Park was designed by Josef Kumpán (1885 – 1961), who was a leading garden architect at the time. Amongst the many flowerbeds in the park there can be found an ornimental fountain, an artificial rock garden, a sundial, a paddling pool, nad a pavilion.
Jubilee Park is also very popular with Znojmo citizens.
In the woods of the Podyjí (Dyje Valley) National Park, southwest of Hradiště, a viewpoint situated high on a rock cliff above the Dyje River can be found.
In 1922 a wooden resting place was built with the joint efforts of Czech and German tourists.
Legend says that, at this point in late August 1683, John III Sobieski, King of Poland, watched his thirty thousand soldiers as they crossed the River Dyje while rushing to the aid of Vienna, which was under siege (for a second time) by the Turks.
In September when King Sobieski arrived in Vienna he was joined by the Christian army of 52 000 soldiers, which he led to battle.
Kara Mustapha, the supreme commander of the Turks, had made the tactical errors of not securing the hills around Vienna City and not fortifying his positions thus allowing King Sobieski an advantage, which after a only a few hours and with only half the number of troops, caused the devastating defeat of the massive, 150 000 strong, Turkish Army. After the battle, Kara Mustapha returned home to Turkey and was beheaded for his mistakes. This glorious victory was a turning point for Austria bringing much power and new lands.
Deep in the valley, before the Znojmo Water Reservoir was built (in the mid-1960s), there used to be a watermill (Trausnitz Mill) and an important bridge, which was built by Thomas Schlesin, the Provost of Hradiště in the mid 17th Century. The existence of this bridge, however, became a subject of a large dispute between Hradiště and the councilmen of Znojmo because many merchants travelling to and from Austria and Moravia were using this bridge instead of the toll bridge below Znojmo. In 1931 the Trausnitz Mill was transformed into a modern water power station with a 1 MW Kaplan turbine.
If water in the reservoir is low, the remains of the mill and the bridge can be seen quite clearly.
Oscar Pafka was born on 7th December 1896 in Znojmo in the home of the family baker Johann Pafka on Kalchergasse 19 (later Kollarova Street).
He attended the Professional School of Ceramics (K. K. Fachschule für Tonindustrie) in Znojmo from 1911-1914.
In 1914 as a student he presented an artistic proposal at the Frieze Exhibition for the Union of German-Moravian Artists at Znojmo Castle. As a result of his proposal he was accepted into the Master School for Monumental Sculpturing at the School of Applied Arts in Vienna.
Along with the other students, Pafka enthusiastically absorbed the artistic atmosphere of Vienna up until 15th April 1915, when he was recruited to the front, in the First World War. It was a fateful intervention in his life. The experience of war, the loss of illusion, suffering and horror marking him for life.
April 1920 after the war, he continued to study but back in Znojmo where he completed his studies at the Professional Ceramic School.
On 14 September 1926, he married Jelena Nas, born in Sarajevo. The wedding took place in Prague in Vinohrady.
In the years 1930-1931, during a year-long stay in Prague, he visited the Wagner festival in Düsseldorf. On his return he stopped at Berlin, where he was attracted to the Berlin museum’s exhibition of Egyptian art. He was so taken with the exhibitions that he started to study in the Museum in Berlin and later in Prague.
He divorced on 7th November 1936. In 1939 he went to Vienna, where his sister, Hermina, lived with her husband Robert Obsieger, Who became the Head of the ceramic workshops at the Academy of Arts.
In Vienna in 1942 he married a second time to Erna, née Lomprer-Dobnerovou, which also ended in divorce during the Second World War.
Towards the end of World War II he went to Voitsberg for a commission from Rakuschu Bakers, who were aquaintances of Pafka’s father. In 1948 he completed the facade design on the Bäckerei Rakuscha building which was a sgraffito symbolizing the preparation of bread.
He died in Voitsberg, Austria on 4th March 1949 .
Pafka’s artistic career was devoted to cartoon humor, cartoon allegories, sgrafito and architectural paintings.
The typical appearance of Pafka’s works was led by strong linear patterns, consisting of geometrically imposed lines and curves. The decorative design elements reflect the late Viennese Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles, while the concept of thoughtful content in the vast majority of his works reflects the spirit of symbolism.
In 1740-1756 in the center of Přímětice, now a suburb of Znojmo, Jesuits from Znojmo built a wine cellar in the shape of a huge Latin cross. The barrel-vaulted ceiling rises to almost seven metres above the floor of the cellar and is probably the largest wine cellar of its kind in the world.
The main corridor (or stipes of the cross) is 110 metres long and the patibulum is 56 metres long.
The walls are covered with a cultivated cellar mould Rhacodium cellare, which ensures stable humidity in the cellar and the acoustics are excellent.
At present it is used and maintained by Znovín Znojmo a.s. wine company which produces and stores the best wines of the region in traditional oak and acacia barrels. Modern stainless tanks can also be found, which are used for wine fermenting. The cellar is open at certain times to the public for wine tastings.
A similar type of cellar can be found in Cape Town in South Africa
written with help from a document written by my friend PhDr. Jiri Kacetl
To the southwest of the historic City of Znojmo and between the Dyje Valley and the villages of Sedlešovice and Konice lies an area of natural beauty called Cow Mountain.
Although it has an altitude of only 325 m, there is a difference of just over one hundred metres between the bottom of the River Dyje Valley and the peak of Cow Mountain.
Long ago a road led from Znojmo to Lower Austria via Cow Mountain. This road is now banned to motor vehicles and has become a haven for cyclists and hikers.
Adding to the natural beauty of the area, acclaimed old vineyards are planted on the Southern mountain slopes above the villages of Konice and Sedlešovice. On the Northern side, facing Znojmo City, there are many small private gardens with mini summer cottages , which have been a typical Czech phenomenon since the communist times.
The plateau on the top of the mountain is part of the Podyjí National Park and it is partly covered with forests and partly with unique heather and subtropical flora.
To help keep this moorland in good condition sheep are often put out to graze.
Some rare reptile species live here in particular the European Green Lizard (Lacerta viridis) which thrive in the clean and abundant environment.
The vast plateau of Cow Mountain, which would have been clearly visible from any roof or tower of medieval Znojmo, was taken advantage of by many historic military leaders: In the winter of 1631/1632, during the Thirty Years’ War, Catholic troops mustered here under the command of Albrecht von Wallenstein, in 1742 King Frederick the Great’s Prussian soldiers made camp here, and in 1809, during the Battle of Znojmo, The French used the position to bombard the Austrian troops gathered below the Vienna Gate with cannons. From World War I up until the 1960s the mountain was often used as a military exercising ground. Fortunately, those bitter days are now gone.
In the 1970’s Cow Mountain narrowly missed a communist suburban expansion plan, which would have built scores of concrete panel type apartment blocks, of the type which can be seen all over Eastern Europe, and a large dual-carriageway bridge was to be constructed to span the river valley. Luckily these plans never came to be, although up until a few years ago a model of the proposed monstrosity was on display in the town hall.
written with help from a document written by my friend PhDr. Jiri Kacetl