In the shadow of the mysterious mesa known as Vladař, we find the town of Žlutice, interlaced with medieval cellars underground and covered with monasteries and chateaus above ground. Those who search for the hidden gems of the Czech Republic should sit up and take notice and plan a trip here to see the famous hymnal, the architectural jewel of minimalism, or the statues of Matthias Braun.
In the shadow of the Hussite Movement
The units of Jan Žižka clashed with the Catholic army on Vladař mountain, and to this day, there is a model of this battle in Žlutice Museum. Furthermore, the exhibits are dedicated to the history of the town, as well as to the Hussite Movement. In the cellar of the former court, there is a preserved original medieval prison with an exhibition on torture.
Up until the 1970s, the original of the famous Žlutice Hymnal, i.e., the handwritten Utraquist hymnal dating to 1558, was stored in the museum. Today, you can scrutinize its facsimile.
A region inclined to faith
There are many locations associated with faith around Žlutice. The most famous of them is the pilgrimage site of Skoky, where to this day, many Czech and German pilgrims regularly head out to and where mass is celebrated in both languages. In fact, the well-known phrase “Panenko skákavá!” is derived from the local pilgrimage painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (the literal translation is “Jumping Virgin!” with the meaning being like the phrase “Jumping Jehoshaphat!”, yet the adjective is also derived from the site name – Skoky (Jumps); translator’s note).
Perhaps a half-hour drive from Žlutice is the Premonstratensian Monastery at Teplá, which boasts a tradition of over eight hundred years. The monastery library is accessible, as is the museum or the Baroque living quarters of the monastery.
Even a bit further from Teplá is the Nový Dvůr Abbey of the Trappist monks, originally hailing from Sept Fons in France. In 2000, the monks commenced reconstruction work on the ruins of a Baroque farmstead, and the resulting new building with a modern minimalist church won several architectural prizes. On your stop here, do not forget to taste the mustard that the monks manufacture.
A visit to the chateau and great beer
One of the cycle paths from Žlutice leads all the way to Chyše Chateau. Aside from the tour of the chateau, whose history reaches as far back as 1158, and the unique oil painting by Peter Brandl dating to 1699, the chateau brewery is also open to visitors. Here, natural beer without chemicals is brewed using the spring waters from the Doupovské Mountains.
Somewhat further north is Valeč Chateau with the statues of Matthias Braun, depicting the allegory of human characteristics and mythological figures. After touring the chateau, set out on the Way of the Cross to Calvary Hill, where a beautiful view of the municipal reserve opens in front of you.
Those who are rather impressed by castles should aim their steps towards the ruins of Hartenštejn near Bochov. This is one of the most ingenious fortified constructions of the late Gothic period in the Czech Republic, with a thought-out ground plan of defensive bastions and battery towers with embrasures. Some sections of the castle have been preserved in their original state.
Relax among animals
Not interested in historical monuments? The Kobylé organic farm expands out just beyond Žlutice, and it is an ideal place for a relaxing holiday in nature. Even with children, who can join in the life on the farm, take care of the animals, or even try horseback riding.
An alternative lies not far away in the village of Nežichov, south of Toužim. The Belina family organic farm, located at the foot of Třebouňský Hill (popular among paragliders), focuses on breeding sheep and cattle, but you can also find horses, rabbits, or even cats here. You can taste home-made fresh cheese and milk, sweet quark creams, or spreads. You can find accommodation with your children in the attic rooms or in the cottage on the slope.