Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Travel Tuesday: A Walk through Příbor

A Walk Through Příbor

My ancestors were from the Hukvaldy Estate (Velkostatek Hukvaldy). An interesting and important city in this estate was Příbor (this also means silverware in Czech).

According to Czech Wikipedia, Příbor is the oldest town in the Nový Jičín district, dating back to 1251. It was an important administrative center. It burned down 3 times during the Thirty Years War: 1621 (by the Wallachs), 1626 (by the Danes), and 1643 (by the Swedes).

I am not exactly sure where I got this impression, but it seems to me that this is more of a “German” town than a “Czech” town. In the 1800’s-1850’s, it had a booming, bustling, healthy economy. Sigmund Freud was born there in 1856.

Sadly, the 20th century was really bad for this city. It was occupied in 1918, and later in 1938 it became occupied again by the Third Reich. It wasn’t liberated until 1945.

From 1951-1997 it had a Tatra (car company) plant.

When we were there, we observed that the economy there is really slow, which is really too bad. It was empty. But it wasn’t just because it was a holiday; it was empty in an unkempt, somewhat sad way. It was interesting to walk there, especially because it had some of the oldest Czech graves that I have ever seen. I felt really sad to see beautiful old buildings desecrated by graffiti, a completely empty village square, and buildings up for sale/rent on every corner. Maybe times will change for Příbor in the future, or maybe the life of a city is cyclical, and this is one of those down times. Or maybe it will die.

It was really interesting to contrast it with neighboring Mniší (Czech for “mouse”), which is, by contrast a tiny hamlet Příbor definitely feels like at one point it was a city. I think they have nearly identical populations today. But Mniší is very, very clean, and has none of the signs of decay that abound in Příbor. These places are literally 5-10 minutes away, but they could be in different countries, they feel so different.

We enjoyed it there, and I’m sure we will return many times because of my family’s connection to this place. Also, we really enjoyed our time there. The penzion (bed and breakfast) we stayed at (Penzion st Florian) was extremely quirky and fun. And we never did go to see Sigmund Freud’s birthplace, or Štramberk castle. We were too interested in seeing the cemetery, haha.

I want to go back sometime when the kostel with the beautiful stained glass is open (kostel sv. Kříže). We happened to be walking there at twilight, and when we looked up, the sun was shining through the window and suddenly we saw this beautiful, almost haunting, stained glass. But the entire kostel was shut up, like, boarded up. Příbor has two.

Look, a rainbow!

Nobody has opened these doors in a long time.

Look! It is magical!

It was empty!

We turned the corner and poof! This is what we saw!

Church schedule.

This building is really old, and not safe.

The inside of the hotel we stayed at, Penzion st. Florian. Very quirky, and very fun.

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