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.
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
The historic town Znojmo and St Hippolytus Mount (Hradiště) are divided by the unusually deep valley of the Granice brook.
The valley remained deforested through most of the Middle Ages for strategic military reasons.
After 1878 the newly constituted Znojmo Beautifying and Foresting Society and Znojmo’s City Council began to co-operate on a lot of development projects, one of which, the Granice Forest Park was founded.
The main entrance to the park was opened at the end of Přemyslovců street, in front of the former Minorite (Franciscan) Monastery.
The valley was reforested and a network of quality paths winding along the slopes of the valley were built.
There are lookouts, romantic stone niches with benches, and a few footbridges were built to allow the paths to pass over the stream.
Early in 20th Century the Granice Forest Park was connected with Caroline’s Garden by a new path along the slopes of the hill below Znojmo’s Castle.
The valley is now a paradise for hikers and cyclists who often enjoy refreshments at the reconstructed Spalení Mlýn (Burning Mill) half way along the valley.
Around 1660, Thomas von Schlesin, the provost of Hradiště and a counsellor to Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, had one of the first Baroque buildings in Znojmo built on the top of St Hippolytus Mount.
This small oval church was consecrated by the Archbishop of Prague Cardinal Ernest Adalbert Count von Harrach to Saint Anthony of Padua.
St Anthony of Padua’s Church soon became a popular place with pilgrims travelling from far and wide.
Fourteen small “Stations of the Cross” (wayside shrines) were built along the old path climbing up the slope out of the Granice Valley.
In 1992, this “Way of the Cross” was reconstructed and some new art works were added to the small altars in the stations.