Čáslav

We have many friends in this delightful little town just an hour to the east of Prague. It is one of our favourite places to visit, not only because we have friends there, but also because it is a lovely town in its own right.

town crest for Čáslav

The main square, náměstí Jana Žižky z Trocnova to give it its full title, is predominantly a car park, but doesn't give the impression of being such. Indeed it is also the site of a quite extensive market on certain days. It is bordered on three sides by parades of shops, and the fourth side by the town hall. There is a rather nice restaurant in the basement of the town hall - Restaurace pod rádnici - which is one of our favourite places to eat in Čáslav. In the summer, there is a raised platform erected outside the restaurant, where one can eat and have a drink with a view of the square, whereas at other times the restaurant serves its customers in the cellars of the town hall.

the town hall and square at Čáslav

By train Čáslav is about one hour from Prague on the main line to Brno, or change at Kolín, and is close to the UNESCO heritage town of Kutná Hora - well worth visiting. Kutná Hora was the site of silver mining, and coin minting, and hence became the seat of the kings of Bohemia for a time. We have visited Kutná Hora, and toured the Vlašský Dvůr, or Italian Court,

the Italian Court in Kutná Hora

and the church of St. Barbara. At nearby Sedlec is a kostnice, or church with ossuary. (Compare the smaller ossuary at Mělník.)

Čáslav was also the birthplace of the celebrated film director Miloš Forman, (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus).

On alighting at the railway station, cross the road and walk straight up the street opposite, past the museum, to the main road. Cross the road and go straight on up the narrow lane. At the top turn left and walk straight on to the square. The town hall is on your right. In the middle of the square is a monstrosity of a statue, and also an old water pump - not working on any of our visits! Walking around the square is a pleasant experience on a fine day.

the statue in the square at Čáslavthe water pump

Žleby

A short train ride from Čáslav is the small village of Žleby, which boasts a fine zámek, or chateau. It is well worth visiting and touring, especially if you take both tours! Tour one includes the kitchens, which are amazing, and the tour two includes the tower. Unfortunately, as with most tours in small towns and villages, the tour is in Czech only, although a printed sheet is available in some other languages. The brochure is excellent, available in several languages from the tourist shop.

When we visited there was a small animal park close by the chateau, down a steep path. It boasted one of the only two herds of white deer remaining in the Czech Republic. It had also a display of birds of prey, and if you were fortunate to time your visit well, you could have your photograph taken with one of the birds on your (gloved) hand, for a small charge. See the website: HERE.

There is little else of interest in the small village. We had a drink at a small cafe staffed by unusually unfriendly people, and caught the next train back to Čáslav.