This is a very attractive square , really a wide street with coloured buildings under czech state care of historical buildings. The short adjoining side streets are also picturesque. Plenty of shops and places to eat and drink. A feature of the square is the white round tower of the church ,which can be climbed to the top for about 60 koruna. The tower is 56 metres highThe Church is the only roll-shaped tower in czech republic
Only a few steps away from the upper end of the historical centre is the castle Chodsky Hrad. There are only a few of the original walls of it left, it was often rebuilt. The castle was the place where th Chod's Letters were kept safely throughout centuries. These letters were the guarantee from the Bohemian kings for a number of big privileges the Chods had for being responsible for the defence of the Bohemian frontier in this area. And so the town of Domažlice had a dog in the old coats of arms symbolizing their dedication to guard the frontier.
Today Chodsky hrad hosts an ethnographic museum.
The dog in the window which you see in photo 3 still lives the old Chodsky traditions. I suddenly saw this dog in a window of the second floor of a house not far from the leaning tower. When the dog noticed that I prepared to make a portrait of him he started to bark aggressively towards me... Enlarge the pic!
This small town got in 19th century an absolutely oversized Town Hall in typical Austrian Historism style which was characteristic for the "ink castles", the administrative buildings of this period - in some way a demonstration of the power of the imperial government. It is with its proportions in some way "killing" the buildings around it.
A memorial plate in marble at the facade of the Town Hall is memorizing the victorious US Army which liberated the western part of Czechia in 1945 at the end of WW 2. I asked several locals whether this plate was already there before 1989 when the Communist rule ended. And they all told me that this plate was not here in Communist time.
I was in Domazlice exactly 40 years and 3 days after the "Prague Spring" of 1968 was terminated violently on 21 August 1968 by the intervention of the Soviet Army and their Allies. This "Prague Spring" was a peaceful revolution within the communist Czechoslovakia which intended to reform the system and to create a "Socialism with Human Face". And there were many big changes within a few months, a real democracy was coming up, censorship of the media was terminated, all people were allowed to travel abroad to any country of the world and together with many other changes of this quality it was seen by the Soviet Union as a danger for the entire system but in reality this was the last historical chance for a successful reform of communism. And the fact that the Soviet gerontocracy destroyed it violently was nothing else than the intellectual capitulation of communism. But the CIA and all these other "intelligence" agencies in he West did not understand it and so it took the communism 20 years more to die.
Interesting that there were close to no memory activities in Czechia at the 40 years anniversary. All what I could find was on an advertisement pillar at its lower end a poster announcing a memorial exhibition in the nearby city of Plzen. The text of the poster reads in English: A short tinge of freedom. 40 years anniversary of the occupation of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.
There is not too much left of the fortifications of old Domažlice. Most remarkable is the Lower Town Gate (Dolna Brama) which was built around 1270.
Between some houses you can find other remains.
The centre of Domažlice is the long and slightly inclined Market Square. At its lower end the Lower Town Gate (Dolni brama), in the middle opposite to each other the Leaning Tower and the Town Hall. All other houses are in baroque style and have arcades.
Maybe you do not fully notice it at the first glance but after a few minutes on the main street/square you feel that the highest tower around is a bit strange or at least unusual. You might consider that it is the perfect white cylinder - a bit thicker than a Turkish minaret and complete different as compared to other Czech church spires. But after a third glance you notice that the tower is really leaning. It is only about 60 cm for the more than 50 meters high spire. Like in Pisa it was already noticed when it was built and so they used inside heavier brickwork at the opposite side and much lighter at the side towards which the tower is leaning to prevent a further ongoing of the inclination process. The spire belongs to the deanery church which often burned down and was rebuilt, last time by the famous Bavarian Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer in Baroque style.
You can climb the tower to enjoy a nice view of the red tiled roofs below and the nice hills with dark forests around. It was of course a perfect place to observe the frontier region and to see early everybody aproaching with unpleasant intentions.
The St. Laurence Festival is like a county fair, arts/crafts show, music festival, and ethnic entertainment all wrapped up into one. Ethnic song and dance groups from around the Czech Republic participate. It's surprising what diversity there is among the regions of Czechia in music, dance, costumes and variations on the Czech cuisine. Lectures and special presentations at the local museums and other venues are put on during the festival.
The food sold by the street vendors beats anything I've seen at fesitivals in the U.S. In the evenings the beer tents crank up the music, the dancing and the coviviality. Reserve a hotel room early because the town does fill up.
There is a string of quiet villages that lie between Domazlice and the Bavarian border. These Chod villages were created in medieval times as part of the royal plan to guard the border and to control commerce.
Today these villages offer historical sites and small, local museums that often don't make the English language guidebooks. Also, there are stores that sell Bohemian crystal, hand painted ceramics, and lace at prices well below what you will pay in Prague.
The Chod were a Bohemian people brought to the region to protect the border and control the trade routes. From the 13th through the early 17th centuries they were given special rights and freedoms by the King of Bohemia. They were allowed to convene their own courts, and were free from feudal taxes and allegiance to any local feudal lord. Their only allegiance was to the King. When the Chod began to lose these rights (as a result of backing the wrong side in the Hussite rebellion), they unsuccessfully rebelled themselves.
The Chod history is told in the Chod Museum
The wooden stairway that spirals up inside the 56 meter (12 stories) tall tower leads past the old church bells to an observation deck. The tower dates from the Gothic era and leans slightly. That fact along with the cramped confines of the stairs makes climbing a challenge but one worth the effort for the views of the town.
The gateway was once part of the original fortification. cars go through the centre arch, pedestrians walk through small side passages, there is a shop in one of them.
This reenactment takes place every evening. The actor explains the history of the event in Czech and English.