Getting Oriented in Moravia

The most obvious difference between Bohemia and Moravia is that the former is beer country and the latter is wine country. The divisions, while amicable, run much deeper. The people are also more in touch with their past, embracing folk costumes and music for celebrations. In smaller towns some older women still wear embroidered scarves and dresses, something you never see in Bohemia. The pace is also much slower, as agriculture and not industry has always been the driving force of life.

The castles and châteaux attest to the fact that the area was once quite wealthy, but in recent times development has been limited, leaving many areas still unspoiled. And because it’s so far off the beaten path of Prague, you’ll see far fewer tourists.

  • Třebíč. One of the best-preserved Jewish quarters in Central Europe, with a number of synagogues and a cemetery, this small town finds itself on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The city’s dominant feature, however, is a looming Catholic basilica.
  • Telč. Time seems to have stopped several centuries ago in this town, almost unchanged since the Renaissance. Beautiful frescoes adorn the exteriors of most of the buildings in pastel colors or ornate black and white.
  • Mikulov. Moravia is wine country, and Mikulov is at its center. Castles, châteaux, and sculpted parks dot the area, and vineyards cover many of the hills. Small wine cellars serve the best of the local beverages plus regional cuisine.
  • Brno. The capital of Moravia, Brno is a busy hub and the modern counterpoint to Prague's Old World charm. That said, Brno also has a castle, a cathedral, and an Old Town Hall that would be on par with attractions in other European capitals.
  • Olomouc. The central city of Moravia was a major base for occupying Russian soldiers. Parts still have an abandoned feel, but the city is slowly waking up. The main square offers a truly monumental baroque column not far from a curious socialist-realist town clock built after World War II.

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