I really like this city. It’s like an uncomplicated version of Prague. Easy to get around and easy to see the sights. The people are, like most of Czech, quite friendly. It rained nearly all day I was out but I think it tells you something if a place is still beautiful in the rain.
One thing I found particularly interesting was the part of the city you don’t normally see: underground. Next to St James’ Church (one of many impressive Gothic buildings) there used to be a cemetery that dates from around the 13th century. Like other city cemeteries it was surrounded by a wall that stopped its expansion. This became a problem for the growing town and so the graves were dug up after 10 years and replaced with the remains of the recently deceased. The contents of the original graves were placed in special underground areas under the church in the 17th century. It filled slowly at first but in the mid 18th century it filled rapidly due to the plague and cholera epidemics and this led to it’s expansion under the cemetery. The cemetery was later abolished in 1784 for hygiene reasons and paved over and the original crypt under the cemetery was sealed off and it’s size and location became unknown.
In 2001, upgrades to the paved area needed to be surveyed before work was carried out and the mass grave was discovered. It was pretty creepy. Over 50,000 bodies are in these little underground chambers. And it’s Friday the 13th!
I also went on a tour with Petr and his girlfriend Simona around another underground passageway under the main market square. Where we could see the old cellars for wine, food and even an underground pub. The castle is also worth a visit, even if it’s just to admire a brilliant view of the city. It also frequently holds different exhibitions inside.