Thursday, 25 July 2013

Bučovice - Part 1: The Town

Back in June 2011, me and my sister visited a little Moravian town with a special little chateau, which turned out to have some very interesting other buildings as well... and I never posted about it. Maybe because I took well over a hundred photos in there (namely, 185), and before I worked my way through them, there came the long Baltics trip I never finished posting about either.

The first thing I photographed in Bučovice was the Catholic rectory/vicarage/whatever do you call it? (Lisa, could you please help me out here?) I had a hard time fitting the whole thing into the photo from across the street.

This is the town hall. It helpfully tells you so, but in Czech. Now you can say "town hall" in Czech. (Or at least, now you can recognise the word in a text.)

If I am not mistaken, it is a cubistic building.

In case you didn't know, yes, there is such a thing as cubism in architecture.

(As an aside, though, I'm rather annoyed with the Wikipedia article; it lists Czechoslovakia as one of the few countries that experimented with the notion, but fails to mention anything else about it in the rest of the article. Even though the little town of Pečky in the Czech Republic now boasts the only cubist church in Europe and, according to this Czech site, the only cubist church interior in the world. Hello!
Come to think of it, though, I am annoyed with the Czech Wikipedia article about Pečky as well, because it also fails to mention the church.)

But back to Bučovice.


On your left, the Czech national coat-of-arms (with the words that literally translate "town office", meaning the town hall and related bureaucracy), on the right, Bučovice's.

Next to that marvel of modern architecture stands a very classic (classicist?) house.

I have a feeling this green house probably used to be a pharmacist's, but now, I believe it houses a bank.

This mixture of styles was one of the things I loved most about Bučovice. You never knew what came next.

Well, next came the town square. On one side...

... a house dating to 1913. On the other side...

... one dating to 1733.

Housing a tobacconist's and a drugstore.

There was also this building that could have been awesome had it been renovated.

On the upper end of the town square, there is a church. It sits across a busy street, so it was rather impossible to photograph it without some pesky streetlamps getting in the way...

There is this smallish statue of who I believe to be St. Cyril and Methodius, really popular in Moravia (for obvious reasons).

"Donated by the Civic Savings Bank in Bučovice".

The church is rather simple, which I liked...

... even though it has an elaborate altar, so typical of Roman Catholic churches in the Czech Republic.

And then, on the lower end of the town square, you can see the chateau. But since that ate up most of the 185 photos I took that day, and this post is long already, I leave the chateau for Part 2.

One of the last photos I took in Bučovice was of this pub/restaurant - it did not look particularly like the kind of restaurant we would enjoy (we had our lunch in a pizzeria instead, another fairly stable fixture of small Czech towns these days) - but it looked fairly pretty in its own right. And somewhat fun: the name of the pub is "At the Green Frog".

You can see the rest of my photos from Bučovice - well, still somewhat more carefully selected than 185 - here. Chateau photos to be added at a later date.


  1. Wow what an incredible place. And so it the cubist church, which I popped over to check out too. I did laugh when you said the church was plain followed by that photo of all the blingbling inside! hehehe.
    I love it when architecture has time to evolve, so towns and cities show layers like that. It's nice to see towns that are all old, but the all new ones are usually pretty dreary, without that depth of styles mixed up!

    1. "Blingbling" is a fairly accurate term for the inside of most old Catholic churches here. :D Secular Czechs used to seeing that in churches then turn up their noses on the plainer styles found elsewhere. (I've observed that effect at work in the cathedral in Helsinki.)
      Personally, I'm used to a small chapel with white walls, chairs like this: and most of the decoration centered on the organ that you can't really see during service, so everything beyond that is quite ornate to me! :D

      I really like it when there is a bit of everything as well... Of course, I'm showing the pretty side of things. But the town really felt like a place much more worth visiting than one could surmise from its general obscurity... Czech Republic is full of places like that; you could spend your whole life on one-day trips around the country...

  2. We would never see so many layers in this country - we're not old enough! I love these posts!

    Yes, if it's where the priests live, it's the rectory. :) And what a charming building it is!! So quaint looking - I'd love to go in.
    And I'd LOVE to attend Mass at that beautiful white church of Sts. Cyril and Methodius - so gorgeous and bright inside. (I assumed the name of the church, unless the saints outside are just visiting :D .)

    Now, I am going to guess that Radnice is pronounced " rahd NEE tseh". the "eh" sound comparable to the e in "Czech". Am I right in thinking the c is a ts sound? It seems the broadcasters on the BBC say it that way.

    Nice clear photos, Hana - that building from 1733 is very well kept! Thanks for sharing; it's never too late! ;)

    1. Ah, thank you! I never know which one applies - we only have one word for them all in Czech. :D

      You got the word almost correct. The differences are, when there is an I after N (and some other consonants; as opposed to Y), the consonant is pronounced softly. And assuming your capitals are the accent, it would be something like "RAHD nyee tseh" in your transcription system. Where "EE" is pronounced short.

      I checked, and the church is the Assumption of Virgin Mary (another of the things I'm never sure of in English, especially seeing as I usually don't need that...), so yes, Cyril and Methodius are only visiting. As I said, they are popular in Moravia.
      And yes, the church was very nicely bright, in spite of the dark wood. Now that I checked: it was built in 1637 - 1641 and rebuilt to the way it is now in the 1820s. So that's where the classicist outlook comes from.

      And you're welcome: I love sharing these, because there is just too much beauty in this country to keep to myself! :D

  3. thanks you for sharing this!
    i love catholic churches - the more bling the better :-) every time we cross the nearby border to czech republic we visit one of this mostly baroque buildings. all the gold and putti and ornaments!

    the green frog i would like to visit. I prefer a hostinec rather than a pizzaria when in your country :-)

    1. Well, we have somewhat opposing tastes here... but I sure am glad to hear you like visiting. :-) South Moravia is far away from you, but if you ever feel like staying longer, I wholeheartedly recommend it - it was a rich region, and is rich in places to visit!
      I think my problem with some of the baroque bling is that it is out of balance. I have called myself a balancist once, and here it works this way: I do not mind over the top, but I like it going over the top in a good proportion! :D The church in Bučovice manages that quite nicely, though.

      We're lucky to have a good pizzeria in our hometown, so I'm always hopeful about pizza. Zelená žába would have been nice, if only - I believe we tried, and found out they had practically nothing to eat, and looked at us strangely - I suppose it's more of a pub for local beer-drinkers. Which we were not, and we were in need of lunch.

    2. o.k. - beer is not a good idea when you are hungry :-)

      for south moravia - husband and i imagine some slow car trips to discover country and towns, driving around and staying where its beautiful.

  4. These photos are beautiful! I've always had a fondness for interesting architecture (I think I inherited that from my mom, the architectural photographer), and these buildings are gorgeous!
    I also had no idea about cubist cool! I'll have to do some research on that.(:

    Decked Out in Ruffles

    1. Thank you! I have always had a thing for architecture, too (though never enough to actually pursue it). Czech Republic is good for constantly reviving such an interest - we have all these layers to our towns, and so many architectural sights it would be quite impossible to visit them all during one's life...

      Cubist architecture, or at least the version of it found in the Czech Republic, is quite fantastic. It is, I guess, a bit like Art Deco, but with very clean lines, without the opulence. We also have a purely Czech variety, rondocubism, which employs more round shapes. (Though apparently it can be called by many other names as well.) On large, representative buildings in cities (banks and such like), they both tend to be rather clunky, but when they're not, it is one of those distinctly Czech things I love about my country without even realising it most of the time...

  5. Hi Hana - I loved this tour of Bučovice with all it's variety of architectural styles. As you rightly say, in nearly every Czech town, you can discover many fascinating buildings such as these.

    I am with you in much preferring Churches that are simple & plain, rather than being full of baroque bling!

    With regard to the name of the building where the priest(s) live, it does vary. In the Church of England, it is either a Rectory or a Vicarage, depending on whether the occupant is a Rector or a Vicar! There is no difference these days but the historic names are still used. The place where a Roman Catholic priest lives is often known as 'The Presbytery'.