The Melnik chateau sits high on a cliff overlooking where the Rivers Elbe & Vltava come together.
I didn't go into this 9th century Chateau, just admired it from the outside, then enjoyed the marvellous views.
A wooden castle once stood here and was used as a home for Bohemian Queens who were widows.
The last wife of Emperor Charles IV, who made Melnik a royal city, had the chapel of the castle constructed. The Chateau has a Renaissance appearance and sgraffito patterned arcades with rich decoration. Take a look at the Chimneys too, they are rather flash! I wish I had taken a close-up of them!
You can take a guided tour around the chateau and enjoy a wine tasting in the chateau cellars.
Looking at the outside of this building doesn't really make you think it's a Museum of Wine & Prams, it really looks like something to do with a Church, which it once was! It was the Church of the 14 Holy Helpers! On the façade, is a circular window with a sun motif and the letters IHS (Iesus Hominum Salvator – Jesus, saviour of mankind) Between the pair of rectangular windows there is a stucco frame with a painting of St. Francis of Assisi.
What an unusual combination is a Wine & Pram Museum!
As the growing of vineyards and the making of wine has been happening in the Melnik area since the 10th century, you will find in the main building, information on the history, nature and a viticulture exhibition.
The second part of the wine growing exhibition, is situated in the historical 14th century cellars, which are located under the museum, this part is dedicated to cellar winemaking.
Other displays in the Museum include a view of a medieval town, Burgher and rural interior, Folk architecture, general life of villagers and the nature found in the Melnik Region.
The collection of historical prams is also a permanent collection, and this is probably the only museum you will find them in the Czech Republic. Prams covering a range from mid 19th century till the mid 20th century are spread out over 8 rooms.
The Museum has a café where you can sit either inside or out. You can buy an alcoholic drink, soft drinks, or try one of the 14 kinds of coffee on offer, including Frappé, hot chocolate, tea, punch or museum mull AND 50 different kinds of Czech wines - these can be tasted and bought by the bottle. SPOILT FOR CHOICE!
Sandwiches, desserts and other sweets are available.
Tuesday - Friday 9.00 a.m. - 5. p.m.
Saturday - Sunday 9.00 a.m. - 12.00 and 12:30 p.m. - 5 p.m
CLOSED MONDAYS CLOSED HALF HOUR FOR LUNCH
Main exhibition or historical prams: adults: 25,- Kè; children, students, pensioners: 15,- Kè
Both permanent exhibitions: adults: 35,- Kè; children, students, pensioners: 20,- Kè
Family: 50 or 70,- Kè
I happened to come across the Church of Saint Ludmila by accident! When I entered the Church yard, I thought how lucky I was, as in-front of me stood a delightful wooden building. It turns out this building which is built out of wooden shingles, was placed there at the end of the 1895 Czech-Slavic Exhibition. It now houses the Church Bell, the oldest preserved town bell from 1598 with Czech inscription.
The Church was built in 1585 and was destroyed by the Swedes and not rebuilt until 40 years later.
Villa Karola - I wonder how many towns or cities have their library located in such a lovely building!
The pseudo-gothic architecture of the Villa is painted a fairly bright yellow.
I walked past the villa when I was following the walk to see the views over the river and plains. On the fence by the Villa, is a copper information board pointing out the sights that are seen from here.
The street I was walking along led me into the picturesque huge Peace Square. The Town Hall is located in the square, and many Renaissance buildings, all a little different to one an other.
Lots of them, have little extras like the one with a black bird, I'm sure it would have some meaning! Others had statutes of saints – defenders against dangers. Fire and Black Death [plague] visited Melnik on more than one occasion, so people wanted to protect themselves, that is why you will see Saints Florian, Roch and Rosalie on the houses and church altars. Then I found faces and pretty stucco work, lovely small balconies and plenty of bright colours!
I thought it a very nice square!
Peace Square had many different houses which they called Town Houses.
"At the Black Horse" was one that I really liked! It has been re-constructed in Renaissance style, and still has a lovely strip of ornamental sgraffito under the windows, from when the house was first built.
A passageway joins it with the town hall.
Some of the houses in Peace Square are quite interesting!
One of them is known as "At the Golden Star," which you will see on the corner of the building on a blue background.
On walking through the arcade, you can see a Renaissance portal that includes shields with a bell and tin pot, signs referring to Bartos, a bell-founder who bought the house in 1570. Evidently, he had a flourishing business and produced his own beer to put in his own pots!
It wasn't until the 17th century, that the Baroque gold star originated on the house corner.
The town hall in Melnik for sure stood out! What bright, rather hideous colours it was painted!
Located in Peace square, the original Town Hall was built in the 14th century in Gothic style. Fire destroyed the building, so it was rebuilt in Baroque style, having a new copper dome added to the repaired tower. By 1793, the Town Hall was in use once again!
It still has the gothic alcoves standing on very heavy looking pillars. If you stand infront and look directly at the building, a Gothic oriel of the Chapel of Saint Barbara from the end of the 14th century can be seen, and on the façade, circular portrait profiles of Prince Wencelas and Princess Ludmila.
I didn't venture inside, I didn't know if I could! Evidently, the Renaissance hall on the first floor has many inscriptions in reddish brown chalk, which are 400 years old.
It's quite an attractive building, I just would prefer it painted in different colours!
There is another water tower in Melnik, this one dates to the 16th century and the medieval water supply.
This Tower is plain, not as an attractive a Prague Gate, although still an interesting feature of the town. The water was pumped from Psovka stream to the upper floor water tank which had an inflow, outflow and overflow pipe. The duties of this Tower closed in 1882 when the Prague Tower which was at a higher level, became the Town's Water Tower.
House no. 12 in Melnik Square [Peace Square] is known as "At the Golden Grape."
I found the buildings in Melnik town square mostly built in Renaissance style, with lots having very strong appearances through their columns and arcades.
This house is neo-Renaissance, and was converted into this style in 1903.
The house itself has some interesting history, as the wife of the first owner gave up her courtyard
to build a “dwelling for the poor”. This never happened, instead, in 1585, the Church of St. Ludmila was built on the same site. In 1856, the house became a Hotel which it still is today. The Hall was used by amateur actors, and it was here, the first amateur production in the Czech Rep. was presented, this was "The Bartered Bride."
I liked the appearance of this building, and do remember to look upwards to see the lovely decoration under the eaves, all around the outside of the building.
The Prague Gate used to be the entry/exit gate situated in-front of the main fortification
wall. Once, there was a moat here, but no sign of a drawbridge has been found? Because of this, the historians believe that seeing the Chateau is from the same era, it is almost certain that access to it was covered by another Barbican gate.
This is how it would have worked. An armed man would have been in the gate tower entrance of the town. He would open and close the gate morning and night, and also supervise the prisoners,
who served their sentence in the prison.
Several fires and extreme gales have damaged the gate Tower. Today, the Baroque appearance has long gone!
The Prague Gate lost its chief function in 1836, when it became the water-tank for the old town water supply system. Then, between 1916 and 1920, the Prague Gate was restored and a new clock dial added. I passed through it on my way into the old town.
At the time I was in Melnik, it looked like they were doing up the area where the Well is located.
A Well is a Well, nothing really interesting to look at! Here at Melnik, it is the underground, a corridor system that was in operation in the 13th century that is the interesting part.
The Well was hewn out of the rock, probably early in the towns growth, as water was needed and this was the only source of water. This Well which supplied the water, is 54 metres deep and is the widest known Well in the Czech republic. You can do a tour down here by getting in touch with the Tourist Information centre. Access to the well is an underground corridor from the house no. 51.
If you come to Melnik, then you must not miss seeing the wonderful views from the viewing area by the Chateau.
I walked from the city centre to the Chateau, then followed the pathway along the edge of the cliff, this is known as the terraces. Wow! The views were fabulous of this pretty countryside and of the confluence of the Elbe and the Vltava Rivers.
At this place, not only the Vltava joins the Elbe but the Vltava navigation canal as well. The Elbe first meets the Vltava and then there is the canal, which is the narrowest.
I could see a Lock, then beneath the cliff- face were three River Cruise Boats - Melnik is a popular destination! I could see for miles, even to large Power Stations a long way away.
If your staying in Prague, a historic steamboat travels to Melnik. It's meant to be quite a scenic cruise
The Church of Saint Peter and Paul is alongside the Melnik Chateau. It was built in the 11th century, but renovated and extended in the 14 and 15th centuries.
For some unusual reason, I didn't go inside this Gothic church which has arched ceilings, excellent stained glass windows and frescoes.
ENTRANCE FEE IS 40czk
In the crypt beneath the Church, is an Ossuary with the bones from between 10,000 - 15000 people.
Entrance to the ossuary is through a small door and down a narrow and steep staircase from the outside of the church.
The bone crypt is open from 10am until around 4pm but is closed every Monday, as is the interior of the church
Another separate entrance is to the staircase leading up to the lookout level of the church's Bell tower.
The ticket office for the tower is at the top of the first staircase, and from there it's up again to the level of the bells and then again to the clocks and the lookout walkway.
The lookout balcony surrounds all sides of the Tower, behind clock faces and into the small corner turrets. The pretty pear shaped spire of the tower was built in the Baroque style after the original was destroyed by lightning in the mid-17th century.
OPEN DAILY 10 - 1PM CLOSED FOR LUNCH 1.30 - 6PM
Concerts are held in the Church
The vineyards in Melnik grew well in the sunny climate of the area. King Charles IV imported vines from France and expanded the growing areas of the vineyards, so Melnik soon became known as “The Town of Wine”
Celebrations have taken place since 1878, which marked 500 years since the death of Karel IV.
It was at this time, the Statue of King Charles IV was given as a gift to the town. It's located behind Melník Castle.
Another, is a statue and fountain in Melnik town square which is called the "Vine Harvest."
More festivals took place so now it has become a yearly event where people dress in period costume and everybody has a good time!
The Festival takes place the end of September starting on Friday and ending on Sunday, with lots and lots of people attending!