There are a lot of good reasons for visiting the Moravia area of the Czech Republic, which gets about 1/100 the crowds of the country’s capital city.
Of course I have zillions of photos from the trip, some for fun and some for the article I was working on, so I am posting a few here of what you actually see in the region.
In part you see a region rebuilding after lots of communist neglect. Some old castles and fortresses are in good shape, such as the one in Mikulov pictured here: the government sunk money into reconstruction as kind of a jobs creation program. Others languished since nobody owned them except the state and therefore nobody cared.
The Czechs have made up for lost time though and now there’s also the expected expat property boom taking place where foreigners are buying up historic homes and refurbishing them. The villages are the epitome of the word “picturesque” now, with colorful houses and wine cellars leading to the inevitable church in the center. Most towns seem to have a castle as well, a remnant from the days when the Lichtensteins and their allies ran a feudal system and collected lots of spoils.
This arch is on a cycling route through an odd park that’s filled with the follies of people who had more money than they could spend. This arch is out in the middle of nowhere really. There’s a stone structure built to resemble a medieval castle in ruins – turrets and all – just for amusement and occasional hunting parties. Other grand houses, sculptures, and a minaret are on lands that were shaped to make a lake with islands. This was all in addition to the other castles that were their real quarters.
On the natural side, the scenery is more pastoral than breathtaking. Lots of vineyards and farmland – the latter punctuated by concrete bunkers from 1938 near the Austrian border. You can ride a bike for miles and miles along the Signal Road, which serviced the Iron Curtain fortifications that kept anyone from leaving.
Most of the tourists who come to this southern part of the Czech Republic are the ones that are from right across the border: you’ll see more visitors from Austria than anywhere else. I definitely didn’t hear many American accents or even Brits for that matter.
For more info on Moravia and the Czech countryside, visit the official Czech Tourism site.