REGION: Settled since pre-historic times, evidence of Stone Age, Celtic, and Slavic fortified settlements exists. Castles, fortresses, towns and villages under the reign of the Premyslovci family include the town of Pisek founded in the mid-13th century by King Vaclav I to protect the large sites where gold could be panned. The castle and town was established where the Otava River was crossed by the 'Golden Route' linking Bohemia, Austria and Germany. In the 13th century, a medieval building workshop, a Deanery church, and a stone bridge appeared. The stone masons and builders participated in the construction of the Zvikov Castle at the confluence of the rivers Otava and Vltava. Orlik Castle towers over the man-made lake of the same name on the Vltava river. A unique historical complex of fortresses can be found in Kestrany. St. Peter and Pauls Church in Albrechtice nad Vltavou has well-preserved frescos from the 12th century and an adjoining graveyard with painted chapels. The largest Romanesque building in South Bohemia is the Premonstratensian Monastery in Milevsko. The cemetery and synagogue in Pisek attract visitors as does Protivin's Castle. Another castle in Vraz, 10 km north of Pisek, since 1936 has been a rehabilitation and spa facility specializing in neural diseases and disorders. Various bridges in the area constructed at different periods are of interest. Pisek is the first Czech town that supplied electric light from its own power plant, an old electri station with an exhibition of historical documents is open to the public. [February 2009]
TOWN: map and photo: "The town Písek, the third largest town in South Bohemia, is an important cultural and economical centre of the region. The town lies on the Otava river about 45 km NW of the town České Budějovice. In the 13th century it was a settlement near the gold panning spots on the left bank of the Otava river. The name of the town dates from that time and it means "Sand". Later Písek became a trade village with the Royal Court. In 1254 King Premysl Ottakar II founded a town in the place of this settlement and the royal castle was built above the ford across the river. A monastery, a dean's church and a stone bridge over the river were built. A mint was here from the end of the 13th century as well. From 1308 Písek was a free royal town and from the middle of the 14th century it was a district centre. A salt-house and a cereal storage, the biggest in Bohemia, were founded here during the reign of King and Emperor Charles IV (14th century). During the Hussite Wars the town was captured by the Hussites and became their centre. At the time of the Thirty Years' War, 1619 and 1620, the town was captured again and the inhabitants slaughtered. In 1641 the town was the royal town again and in the 18th century became the centre of the district again. An important and well-known educational centre in 1860 a secondary school, in 1884 a school for game wardens, and in 1899 a school for foresters were founded here. ...The centre of the town comprises the square, divided into two parts by block of houses - the western part with the castle and the eastern part, used as a market. Not far from the square is a town theatre from 1902. Only the remains of town walls, demolished in the 19th century, have been preserved: remains of the well-known Putimská Brána (Putim Gate), a part of walls along the Otava river and the tower called Baba (Beldame). The Písek castle was founded together with the town and important as first Czech Gothic architecture. The Early-Gothic stone bridge, which was built at the end of the 13th century, is one of the oldest stone bridges in Europe and the oldest preserved in Bohemia. A dominant feature of the town is the deanery Church of the Nativity of Virgin Mary founded together with the town in its highest point. The monastery stands in the SW corner of the lower square (western part). The monastery was closed in 1787. The original church was destroyed during the Hussite Wars and then was rebuilt in 1636 and reconstructed in 1716. The single-aisled church has a tower from 1641. In the western part of the lower square is the Baroque town hall, which was built between 1737 - 1764. In the upper square, also called Small Square, there is the Baroque Marian Column from 1713. One of the most interesting buildings in the town is the Neo-Renaissancen health centery from the 1880's as well. The 1899 hotel in Art Nouveau style with 11 pictures of the history of the town by Mikoláš Aleš can be found not far from the upper square. The old power station constructed by František Křižík in 1888 on the bank of the Otava river was built for streetlights and is a museum now. On the outskirts of the town, near the road to the town Tábor, a sylvan cemetery founded in 1920. The town museum with mineralogical and archaeological collections and exhibitions of the history of the town and gold mining is located in the castle. A lot of important Czech artists and scientists studied, lived and worked here." Písek is usually called "The Athens of the South", although Athens is much more southerly, because it has many high schools and schools of higher education. Town website and another website. [February 2009] NEARBY:
nature reserve Řežabinec
village Albrechtice nad Vltavou
small village Putim
US Commission No. CZCE000044
Pisek is located in Bohemia, Pisek at 49°18' N, 14°09' E , 42 km NNW of Ceske Budojovice and 56 miles SSW of Praha (Prague). Cemetery: 1500 m NW of the old stone bridge, near the railroad line. [2005 town population is about 29,081] with fewer than 10 Jews.
Earliest known Jewish community was 1724 with prayer-room recorded. 1785 more numerous congregation existed. Jews banished 1424. New Jewish population after early 17th century [with 408 in 1898.]1930 Jewish population was 254. Peak Jewish population was second half of 19th century (449 people in 1884); Jews moved to big town in 20th century. Native town of poet and and writer Richard Weiner (1884-1937), popular violinst and song composer Otto Sattler (1906-1990). The Conservative or Progressive/Reform landmarked Jewish cemetery (No. 2434) originated about 1877-1879. Buried in the cemetery are R. Weiner (exhumed and reburied in municipal cemetery in 1987) and Kamila Stosselova (1892-1935, inspiration/muse of famous Czech composer Leos Janacek) with last known Jewish burial in 1961.The isolated flat suburban, rural (agricultural) land without sign has Jewish symbols on gate or wall. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all via a continuous masonry wall and locking gate. The approximate size of cemetery before WWII was 0.5846 ha s and is now about 0.3 ha.
20-100 stones date from late 19th century (oldest sold tombstone: 1877 or 1879)-20th century. The marble, granite and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration or multi-stone monuments have Hebrew, German and Czech inscriptions. The cemetery has special section for children but no known mass graves or structures. Praha Jewish community owns reduced cemetery; the municipality owns separate part. The cemetery property now is used for Jewish cemetery only in reduced cemetery and recreation (park, playground, and athletic field) in separate part. Adjacent properties are agricultural and road. The boundaries are smaller than 1939 because the part without tombstones is separated by new wall. Rarely, private visitors and local residents stop. Vandalism occurred occasionally 1981-91. Approximately 120 tombstones taken away in 1980-1981. Vandals opened many graves in 1985-1986. 1945-1981 tombstones were overturned. The mortuary was pulled down in 1969-1970. Local/municipal authorities, regional/national authorities and Jewish groups within country did restoration in 1989-92. Now, authorities occasionally clean or clear. Slight threat: uncontrolled access, vegetation and vandalism.
PhDr. Jan Podlesak Bezdrevska 1021/83-70-11 Ceske Budejabice; tel. office 038/371-41 and Jiri Fiedler, Brdickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40 completed survey on 4 August 1992. Documentation: cadastre of 1877-79; notes of research team of Statni Zidovske Muzeum Praha (1976); archives of PhDr J. Podlesek (see 74); Jan Herman: Jewish Cemeteries..(1980); Die Juden und Judengemeinden Bohemens… (1934); Max Grunwald: Zur Geschichte der judischen Gemeibde in Pisek und Mirotitz (archives of YIVO, New York); K. Kvanisckova: "Prochazka po piseckych hrbitovech" in Pisecky spravodaj, 1965, No 12); Pisecka citanka No.2 (1981); Ondrej Kolar: "Likvidace zidovskeho hrbitova u Pisku" in Cesko-bavorske Vyhledy, 1991, No. 11). Other documentation was inaccessible. The site was not visited. Mayor T. Zajicek and inspector J. Hladky in Pisek were interviewed July 1992.
UPDATE: July 27, 2007 – Pisek – Vandals overturned 23 tombstones, and five were shattered. The historic 19th century cemetery is no longer used for burials. It was re-opened to the public in 1993 after renovations. The Jewish cemetery, dating to 1879, is situated on the outskirts of Pisek and is usually locked and unvisited. One of the cemetery's walls has been the target of vandalism for the previous two months. [February 2009]
|Last Updated on Monday, 23 February 2009 12:49|