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České Budějovice town tour - Piarist Square

Hroznová Street between the Masné Krámy Restaurant and the Komerční banka will soon lead us to Piarist Square. It was named after a grammar school, which was established here by the Piarist Order and was seated in the convent buildings. The convent along with the adjacent Church of the Sacrifice of Our Lady are the oldest architectural sights in České Budějovice. Another remarkable fact is that the square is situated at the place of a former cemetery, which we are reminded of by a cross in the paving and by symbolic tombstones.

Dominican convent

Construction of the Dominican convent was started at the moment when the town was founded. However, it was finished as late as in the middle of the 14th century. In the 17th century it was reconstructed in the Baroque Style and in 1728 it had to be repaired at high cost after it was damaged by a fire. A little later the bell tower was made taller.

Church of the Sacrifice of Our Lady

České Budějovice - Dominican convent with the White Tower and the Church of the Sacrifice of Our Lady, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.The area also features the Gothic three- -nave basilica of the Church of the Sacrifice of Our Lady. Wall paintings in the interior are extraordinarily valuable; some of them date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. The church is connected to the convent buildings by a corridor that is arched with gorgeous Gothic cross vaults. In some vault bolts there are coats of arms of the noblemen who contributed to the operation of the convent with their gifts. The corridor forms a cloister which closes the convent garden, the so-called paradise court, from four sides.

A Gothic stone gargoyle that looks like a monster reminding us of a frog sticks out of the wall of the Church of the Sacrifice of Our Lady. There is a legend concerning this strange sculpture which says that a frog crawled into the foundations of the church during its construction and repeatedly caused the church walls to crumble. In the end, the frog was hounded out of the foundations. It is said that its sculpture in the wall used to be placed lower, but the stone frog has been crawling upwards step by step until it reaches the roof and then the church will collapse and it will be the end of the world.

Salt Warehouse

České Budějovice - Piarist Square - the Salt Warehouse, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.The dominant feature of Piarist Square is the Salt Warehouse - a Gothic building with small windows and a strikingly tall and steep gable equipped with a battlement. It was built in 1531 and served as an armoury and a gunpowder warehouse. Later it was turned into a granary and subsequently into a salt warehouse. This last purpose gave the building its name. The original medieval timbering has been preserved in the interior, most of which is inaccessible. Part of the Salt Warehouse is today the seat of the Museum of Motorcycles.

You can see reliefs of three stone faces in the gable of the Salt Warehouse. Nobody knows exactly what this decoration represents, but legend has it that the faces belonged to thieves who were caught stealing in the Church of the Sacrifice of Our Lady and who were then executed - they literally lost their heads.

Let‘s leave the Piarist Square and Hroznová Street and head for the Zátka Embankment.