Třebíč – A UNESCO Two-for-One

The north bank of the Jihlava river with the UNESCO listed Jewish Quarter and St. Procopius' Basilica.
The north bank of the Jihlava river with the UNESCO listed Jewish Quarter and St. Procopius’ Basilica.

A Hub in the Highlands

Sitting astride the Jihlava river in the south central part of the Vysočina highlands region, you’ll find the city of Třebíč. The second largest city in Vysočina, Třebíč rose to prominence and great importance historically and retains a good deal of importance as a regional centre today.

The town site traces its history back to a Benedictine monastery built in the area in the 1100s. The first documented use of the town name, Třebíč, occured in 1277. The town grew prosperous as a centre of culture, commerce and religion though it lost its status as an abbey town and a great deal of its religious influence in 1468 when it was all but destroyed by the Hungarian army at the beginning of the Bohemian War.

Třebíč did recover from that misfortune and take back much of its non religious influence. Today, the city of around 40,000 inhabitants is a well connected hub of transportation and business in the region.

Anterior view of St. Procopius' Basilica and the Vysočina regional museum which adjoins it.
Anterior view of St. Procopius’ Basilica and the Vysočina regional museum which adjoins it.

Třebíč and UNESCO

The main tourism draw to Třebíč is the city’s two UNESCO listed sites; the Jewish Quarter and St. Procopius’ Basilica. The two sites were added to the list together in 2003; part of their significance is in their adjacent positioning to each other, signifying peaceful co-existence of the two religious groups in the city’s history.

The basilica is built on land previously occupied by the Benedictine monastery which predated the town. The monastery saw several renovations and fortifications in it’s lifetime. The basilica itself was built between 1240 and 1260 and incorporated sections of the monastery.

A primary factor in the basilica’s UNESCO listing is in its architectural value; many aspects of its structure are nothing short of amazing given the era it was built in.

An evening view of one of the many small streets in the Jewish Quarter.
An evening view of one of the many small streets in the Jewish Quarter.

The city’s other UNESCO site, the Jewish Quarter, consists of over 100 houses plus two synagogues and a cemetery. It is considered one of the best preserved Jewish ghettos in Europe while the cemetery is one of the largest and best preserved in the Czech Republic.

Třebíč had been known for a strong Jewish population that had first been documented as early as 1338, though the present Jewish Quarter is not the location of the early Jewish community of the city. Through the early 20th century, the Jewish population went into decline and the Holocaust of World War Two decimated what was left of the community.

The Jewish Quarter is currently the only Jewish specific monument on the UNESCO list outside of Israel.

Beyond the city’s own UNESCO sites, Třebíč is located within a few hours travel time of several other UNESCO points scattered between the Czech Republic and Austria; these include two other points in Vysočina itself: Telč and Žd’ár nad Sázavou.

If you like to gear your holiday around UNESCO themes, Třebíč would serve you well as a point of primary accommodation.

The sgraffito facade of the Renaissance era Painted House on the city's main square.
The sgraffito facade of the Renaissance era Painted House on the city’s main square.

A Feel for the Town

Beyond the basilica and Jewish sites, Třebíč comes across as a decidedly non-touristy, working class city that exists primarily for its own citizens. This is not to level a criticism at the city, in fact such qualities can be a benefit if you’ve just spent your day at a point of higher tourist activity and need a laid back place to unwind.

Třebíč is just such a laid back place. It’s large enough to offer a decent selection of restaurants and food markets as well as lodgings of various categories. It’s also well connected enough by rail and bus lines to nearby tourist points, that it doesn’t need to be that touristy itself. In fact, it’s the sort of place that serves very well as a hub to make smaller trips from.

It also must be kept in mind that Vysočina’s greatest attractions are not found in its towns, but in the well protected natural areas that surround them and there’s plenty of natural attractions not far from Třebíč.

A look over the Jihlava river from a viewing point above the city.
A look over the Jihlava river from a viewing point above the city.

Learning More and Paying a Visit

If you wish to know more of what Třebíč has to offer and what other places are reachable from it, look no further than the city’s well organized and multilingual tourism website:

http://www.visittrebic.eu/

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