Nedvědice and Doubravník
The Castle Pernštejn is one of the largest and well-preserved castles in the Czech Republic. It was founded in the 1270’s or 1280’s on a high cliff by an aristocratic family that began to call themselves after this place the Lords of Pernštejn. The castle itself is made up of a complex of buildings protected by a dry moat. The building development of the castle reached its peak in the last quarter of the 15th and in the first half of the 16th century when it gained its present day form in the late Gothic and Renaissance styles. It is called the marble castle after the walls and portals built from white marble that was mined for in the surroundings of the village Nedvědice. The castle is run by the Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments in Brno, is open to public and is one of the castles enjoying the largest number of visitors in Moravia.
There is the parish St. Cunigund’s church in the centre of the small town Nedvědice which was built in 1727 on the place of a wooden little church from 1520. The main altar is very precious carved work of art.
One of the important Moravian rivers Svratka, 173 kilometres long, rises on the hill Křivý javor near Žaková hora in the hilly area called Ždárské vrchy. The river becomes deeper upstream and forms a unique valley countryside surrounded by steep hills. The country has the same character as on the middle part of the river near Nedvědice and lower down near Doubravník and Borač all the way down to Tišnov. The whole country along the river Svratka is a part of the nature reserve called Svratecká hornatina.
The little town Nedvědice belongs with its thirteen hundred inhabitants to one of the greatest settlements in the Tišnov region. It has been a well known holiday resort since the beginning of the 20th century, later on it has also become a winter sports centre. The area is also famous for its marble that was mined here for in several quarries and has been used for the construction of many important secular and ecclesiastical buildings. It was even given an international award at the World Exhibition in Paris.
The historic centre of Doubravník forms an urban preservation area protected by the state with the parish church, fortification remains, presbytery and a few houses. The Elevation of the Cross Church was built on the place of the abolished convent of the Augustinian nuns from 1535 to1557 in the late Gothic and Renaissance styles by the Lords of Pernštejn and served as the burial place of the Pernštejn dynasty. The present day form of the west side dates back to 1792, before that the floor with the belfry was made of wood. The vault of the Lords of Mitrov in the style of Gothic Revival was added to the north side of the church in 1867 which contains 19 cast sarcophagi made in the ironworks in Štěpánov. The church has a Baroque interior with relief tombstones made of marble and a font from 1601 that attracts the visitor’s attention. The sculptural works were made by Andreas Schweigl and the tympanum created the sculptor Josef Břenek.
The cold river Svratka with many torrents houses the population of trout and graylings and therefore it is a popular place with many fishers. Near Doubravník and Prudká there were even held international competitions in fly-fishing.
The countryside in the environs of Sokolí skála (Falcon’s rock) near Prudká was declared nature reserve already in 1949. It occupies a rocky valley with an opening and it is one of the deepest valleys in the whole of Bohemian-Moravian highlands. The falcons nested here only for a short period of time in the 1950’s. The hardly accessible rocks and hills have become a home to eagle owls and recently also to ravens.
When you get off the train in Nedvědice the first thing that captures your attention is the massive silhouette of the castle Pernštejn on the western horizon. It is perched on the rocky cliff high above the river Nedvědička and it is a monumental building constructed in the course of the last seven centuries. Its pure architectural style with many elements of the fortification artistry has no parallel in the central European art. The building has still retained its past glory of the Lords of Pernštejn who had the bison’s head in their coat of arms – the most powerful animal in the local original woods. The visitor’s attention also deserves the bulky dark yew tree below the castle as the last remnant of the original detrital forest which might remember the time of the castle’s foundation.
The near village Černvír attracts its visitors not only by its covered wooden bridge dating back to the beginning of the 18th century but also by its ancient little Assumption church placed on the rocky cliff above the river Svratka which was originally a Romanesque temple dating from the mid-13th century.
The village Doubravník is a place with ancient past. This is the place where the convent of the Augustinian nuns was founded a few years earlier than the Cistercian convent Porta coeli near Tišnov. The convent was destroyed in the Hussite wars in 1428 and was not renewed and there is a magnificent Elevation of the Cross Church on its place. The church forms a dominant white feature in the Svratka valley and has a very precious organ of 1760 which makes the church an excellent place for concerts of classical music.
The charming little village Křížovice set in the hills above the hill Doubravník has the altitude of almost 500 metres above the sea level. The sculptor Zdeněk Macháček has a studio in one of the former barns since 1971 and is known for his wooden statues one of which is placed on the village square. There is also an art gallery in one of the former farm buildings which was founded in 1991 and is called „Z ruky – From the Hand“. This is a place for short time exhibitions of various works of art, especially paintings and pottery. There is also an amphitheatre in the adjoining park which is used in summer for various important cultural events. Křížovce is a village that was the place where the Tišnov scouts V. Želený and A. Pokorný were hiding before their imprisonment; they took part in the anti-communist resistance movement and were executed in December 1952 after a fatal incident causing death to another man.
There is a settlement called Prudká under the hill Doubravník the name of which tells that the river Svratka breaks its way swiftly through a rocky valley. The golden alison’s petals flow from the gneiss rocks high above the river rapids, dippers jump from the stones into water whereas the grey herons stand motionless to get a glimpse of trout or grayling. This is exactly the part of the Svratka valley above Borač which inspired the writer Josef Uher, born in the near Podolí, to put down the following thoughts at the beginning of the 20th century: „Then I lived in seclusion to be able to devote my time to my own ideas... I fell in love with this country at first sight and I made myself comfortable there right away. And that was here in the open air that I began to think of my hopes I have for my next life."
The wooden covered bridge over the river Svratka in Černvír is one of the important monuments of folk architecture. It was built in 1718 and is the oldest bridge of its kind in the whole of Moravia. It is 32 metres long, 2.6 metres wide and 4 metres high above the water surface. The roof of the bridge is covered with shingle.
The village Prudká known not only for its paper mills or the railway workers’ holiday centre but also for its former mill which was the home to the important Czech painter Bohumír Matal (1922-1988) who spent the last decades of his life here; he was a member of the group 42 and important people from science and culture from Brno met in his house in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
The last village above Tišnov is Štěpánovice set along the river Svratka. It looks similar like other villages in the Tišnov region and is also surrounded by old orchards with tall-trunk trees, which are inseparable from this countryside. It is no wonder that the painter and graphic designer Emanuel Ranný who lives in Štěpánovice devoted an important part of his work to orchards. And the poet Jan Skácel who used to come to visit the painter by train from Tišnov – „apple train“ as he called it – regarded orchards as the symbol of the country.
In the village Podolí there is a house where the writer Josef Uher (1880-1908) was born; he is the poet of this countryside and belongs to one of the most important Moravian writers from the beginning of the 20th century. In his work he put stress on the social integration of people and due to this fact he was often compared to Maxim Gorkij especially in his vagabond period.