The Metropolitan Cathedral in Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 5, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Once upon a time in the 13th century!

We have a lot to see in the city of Olomouc, but yesterday we decided to head into the surrounding countryside for a day at Bouzov Castle, only about 35 kms (22 miles) away. They were having a special day at the castle, where everyone is dressed up in period costume with displays of jousting, dancing, and entertainment that you might have seen in the 13th century.

It took a bit of planning to get to the castle, but it was well worth it. We had to get up early yesterday (6:00am!), left the flat around 7:00am, and took the tram to the bus station. There, we caught a 7:35am bus to the town of Litovel, and then another bus to the village of Bouzov. Then, a 10 minute walk to the castle. Cost of the buses was 54 korunas ($2.70) per person. We arrived at Bouzov around 9:00am.

Our first view of the castle! 

On the way up the hill, someone had their fence posts decorated with broken coffee mugs!

They have several different tours available, and we had an included tour because of our Olomouc Region Card (we will tell you more about this in another post). Our couchsurfing hosts Mirek, Hanka, and their son Frantisek came with us, so we also purchased the extra tour for 300 korunas ($15.00) for us all to go to the top of the tower. 

We were there fairly early, but they had lots of activities to keep us occupied until our first tour started at 11:10am. This special day included fresh butter churning and tasting!

Straining the butter.

Then, they gave you free tastings with fresh bread! Yummy!

The entrance to the castle. Notice the iron gate that comes down at the drawbridge!

I think these old castles are simply amazing. Can you imagine how they built something like this eight hundred years ago!? Seems like something out of a fairy tale.

You better be on one side or the other when this comes down!

Unfortunately there is no inside photography allowed. But the interior rooms of this castle are fantastic, and well worth the 120 korunas ($6.00) per person entrance fee for the tour. 

There was an old photo at the entranceway. I took a pic of it to give you a better idea of what the castle looks like overall.

The fancy well in the courtyard.

The well.

There is a 40 metre (120 feet) deep well bored into the rock deep beneath the castle. An extensive examination of the bottom of the well was conducted in 1995, and they brought up over 100 kgs (220 lbs) of materials, including 13th century artifacts as well as many cameras and sunglasses!

Although the tours are conducted in Czech, they do provide an English translation pamphlet so that you can follow along.

video
Okay, you asked for more videos! Here's a short 16 second video of the dance they did before our next tour. Turn up your volume too!

Next was our trip to the top of the castle tower. Beautiful views in all directions!

View of villages in the countryside.

An interesting history note...at one point, the castle was owned by the German Order of Knights. This organization still exists, now as a charitable group. In 1939, the castle was confiscated by the Nazi's and occupied by an SS group. In 1945, the castle became the property of Czechoslovakia, and later the Czech Republic. Currently, the Czech government and the Order of Knights are embroiled in a restitution dispute!

Our couchsurfing hosts, Mirek, Hanka, and Frantisek at the top of the tower.

Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then is a video worth a thousand pictures? How about a short 15 second video of the view from the tower?

video

We were done our tours, but they still had the free re-enactments of events that may have taken place 800 years ago. They did a really good display of different types of sword fighting which is best shown in a short 21 second video. I know...I'm going a little overboard on the videos!

video

We took the bus and the train back from Bouzov, and then made a detour to an office building near the train station in Olomouc where they have an observation window on the 18th floor.

Olomouc at dusk.

We had a great day! But it was almost 9:00pm when we got home. Then had some potato pancakes for a snack, and it was time to hit the sack!

Busy day again today as we will explore the city of Olomouc!


12 comments:

  1. Amazing Castle. And they have so many Fairy tale castles!!!!

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  2. What a wonderful experience to put yourself waaaaay back in time. Great job on the pictures.

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  3. Totally cool. And no not too many videos. So how do you eat those potato pancakes? With butter and syrup? or Ketchup? You know me, always thinking about food....

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  4. Not sure how that happened, but my comment vanished into thin air.

    That castle is quite something, and looks to be very well kept.
    Good thing the SS gave up their spot before the Allies came in and did a number on the place (as they would have had to do)

    I've never quite understood the "no pictures inside" deal. We discovered that when we went to Prague Castle. Had to have a 'license' to take pictures. Whatever that means. Maybe it means they can come after you if you publish your pictures? Probably.


    You didn't overdo it on the videos as far as I'm concerned. If they're short enough, then I'm good.

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  5. A long day indeed but oh so worth it. i wish I could have seen inside the castle, was it done up in period furniture or just empty?

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  6. An amazing place. Nice that their tasting was free. When we visited the Folk Museum in Oslo last year, they were demonstrating how flatbread was made back in the day; you could taste it with a bit of butter for a price; we said no thanks.

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  7. Another fun day of sightseeing, thanks for taking us along.

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  8. What an inspiring way to begin my day, by tagging along on your adventures! I felt as if I'd stepped into "A Knight's Tale" for real.

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  9. Great tour-you are having such a great trip:)

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  10. What a great day!

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  11. Is not allowed to take pictures inside of castles and churches because of thieves. There are valuable things to steal and someone could use the photos to schedule theft. Sorry for my english ;-)
    Petra from Olomouc.

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    1. Thank you Petra! By the way, we loved Olomouc!

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