Monday, December 12, 2005

The Žďár nad Sázavou Adventure (Part II)

Of course, a good deal of our sense that something about the trip could go awry connected directly to the fact that we were not too sure we could really ski near Žďár nad Sázavou. We knew that it was theoretically possible, but it is early in the season, we do not have our own equipment, and part of the attraction of Žďár nad Sázavou was that it is (sort of) between Prague and Brno and has a UNESCO site.
In the morning we inquired diffidently about the sights of Žďár nad Sázavou and about skiing in the vicinity. The desk clerk (who is also the breakfast waiter and the café barkeeper, although other people clearly work at the pension) indicated that the zámek and church were pretty much closed for the winter, and that there might be some skiing within about 20km but that he was not sure there was really enough snow. Did we have a car? (No.) Well, there was some information at the train station and we could take a bus. He also produced an informational pamphlet.
While I would describe us as reasonably adventurous people, it cannot be said that this description fits all of the time. At times our lack of initiative is striking. Put us in a nice café and we might well stay there half the day. (Not that there is anything wrong with that in itself; we believe firmly that generations of artists, writers, musicians, and graduate students cannot be wrong on the café-frequenting habit.)
But we did not venture down to the train station to investigate the skiing further. Instead, we complained (not to the clerk) that it is senseless to close museums and other indoor attractions for the winter. I noted that while I was well aware that most things closed in October or so during the Communist period, I could not see why this should be so now. Žďár nad Sázavou has a book museum that we would have liked to have visited, but that it should be closed for the winter seemed exceptionally annoying. Lacking any better plan, we headed for the nearby Zelená Hora church, as after all it is a UNESCO site and the photos online had looked pretty interesting.
Of course, Zelená Hora was also closed for the winter, but its churchyard was not, and the whole thing is surrounded by a sort of cloister. It is a baroque structure designed by Santini, and while baroque architecture sometimes gets to be a bit much for us (writhing marble columns and all that), this example is a remarkable mix of baroque and gothic (not something one usually finds), with a sort of deceptive simplicity. It is not actually simple, but it gives the impression of being so while in fact having all sorts of odd and graceful variation.
In sum, we were much taken with the place and spent a long time circling it, photographing it, and arguing over whether the roof was copper (I thought it probably was and Jesse felt that it could not be as it was blackish).
While my impression is that Jesse’s photos were better, I will put up some of my own (of which the aerial view is not one).
A view from the approach.

From within the churchyard.

Plasterwork from the ceiling.

The walkway.

A doorway

Another doorway

A door ornament

Yes, not quite like anything else, although perhaps a little like the Hvězda lodge in Prague

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Anonymous Megan said...

Hi Karla,

Laid up at home in Kutná Hora with a demoralizing urinary tract infection, I decided to investigate this strange blogging world with my new, free afternoon. And I came to this website. Searched for ´Prague´ and ´Fulbright´and stumbled not only to your blog, but directly into an article about our meeting last wednesday. What fun! I´m already addicted. You can look forward to seeing a new Kutná Hora-based reader on your register thing, and I look forward to more writings, adventures, and talks about voyeurism. Until Friday´s party (you´re going, right?),

December 12, 2005 1:43 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

Infections--ouch!!! I hope you got a good antibiotic and some cranberry juice. Get well fast and see you Friday. (Voyeurism? well, re lives of the surrealists, yes. OK, and anthropologically in general.)

December 12, 2005 5:04 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

Nice photos, I particularly like the one of the church and the cemetary. All the angles work well against the snow. Also, I wanted to say thanks for your blog post on Kolokolo, I found it a few days ago and wanted to write in and say hello but then thought it would be vain to comment on a post about my own blog!

December 14, 2005 11:16 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

Hi Julia,

Well, I had been meaning to put another comment on your blog myself. It's always enjoyable. A link to the Nohavice schedule is forthcoming here.

December 15, 2005 12:40 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

Cool, grab your tickets fast because I've heard they are going quickly! We're heading to the Akropolis concert, but most of the venues will be nice I think.

December 15, 2005 8:37 PM  

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