Hilly terrain, lakes, high cliffs, dense forests, flower-filled meadows and three UNESCO-listed sites – this is the Vysočina Region, a rugged land, about which people have said that “here ends bread and begins stone” since time immemorial. But even so, the Vysočina Region will grab you with its serene beauty and as a pleasant place to get active.
The epicentre of the region is Jihlava, a town that owes its imposing architecture to the silver mines around, and one forever linked with the name Gustav Mahler. To celebrate the fact that the famous conductor lived in Jihlava for many years, an annual music festival runs for the entire summer. When strolling through the medieval heart of Jihlava, don’t miss the chance to clamber up the symbol of the town, the Mother of God Gate, or to descend into the labyrinthine network of secret underground tunnels, which at 25km is the second longest in the Czech Republic.
UNESCO wherever you look…
The past has bequeathed the Vysočina Region many noteworthy places of interest. Three of these have been added to UNESCO’s esteemed list of world cultural heritage sites. The town of Telč is a well frequented place, and one which wows visitors with one of the most attractive squares in the country. Renaissance houses in a variety of pastel shades create a fairytale backdrop and a graceful chateau adds to the scene. The Church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená hora lures visitors with its mystical side and unusual architecture. The last of the region’s UNESCO sites are the pride of Třebíč which boasts a well preserved Jewish quarter.
Active breaks amid rugged landscapes
Nature has been generous to the Vysočina Region. On your way through the region you can discover curious peat bogs near Velké Dářko, climb rock formations such as Čtyři Palice (The Four Sledgehammers) and Devět skal (Nine Rocks) or lose yourself in the forests on Žákova Mountain. This serene landscape, whose beauty has been captured on canvas by a whole army of artists, including Chittussi, Kaván and Kosárek, is the ideal stage for an activity holiday. The best place for a spot of cross-country skiing is the area around Nové Město na Moravě, often a venue for skiing competitions. If you prefer getting on your bike, hit the trail from Jihlava to the Austrian town of Raabs. For water sports head for Bystřicka, which in 2010 was declared a European EDEN destination of the highest quality. Large numbers of bridleways can be found around Žďár nad Sázavou.
A break in the Vysočina Region can be combined with a trip to Brno, the capital of Moravia, where a must-see is the villa Tugendhat, a UNESCO-listed site. If you are into wild landscapes, head for the Czech Canada area. This region’s unfettered landscapes, many lakes, huge tracts of forest and its rather cold and bleak climate are responsible for its name.