T.G.Masaryk Square with the original Czech Savings Bank building, Marian Column and fountain with its statue of Záboj -> Star of David monument -> Odboje Sq. (Square of the Resistance) and Václava Hanky Square with the grammar school building and the municipal cultural centre, Hankův Dům -> Valová Lane with remains of the old town walls -> Church of St. John the Baptist with its “lapidarium” -> Kohoutův Dvůr -> Šindelářská Tower.
Length of circuit: approx. 1.7 km
T. G. Masaryk Square was originally called Záboj, later Gottwald Sq. From the grand layout of the square straight streets led to gates in the town walls.
The Renaissance building of the Old Town Hall was built in 1572 after a fire in a burgher’s house which stood on the same spot. The original gable faced onto Church St (now Palacký St) and on the square side it had a tower propped up by two supporting columns. In 1790 the town hall burnt down and in 1833 it was given its present appearance, although its façade has undergone some changes.
The façade of the town hall contains a clock with a Latin inscription. In addition to an hour and second hand, the clock used to have an extra hand which divided the day into twenty-four parts. The green dial with the numbers 1 to 24 remains to this day. The Latin inscription says: This house hates wickedness, loves peace, punishes crimes, maintains laws, honours noble hearts.
Today it houses representative halls and an exhibition hall.
One of the dominating features of the square is the Secession Czech Savings Bank building built in 1909 –1910. Its right wing was added later, today’s appearance dates from 1930.
Another building of interest is on the west side of the square (when facing the savings bank it is to the left), No. 85 with an arcade on four pillars, decorated with lion masks and a statue of Jan of Nepomuk on the gable.
In the centre of the square stands the Marian sculptural group which has the appearance of a richly decorated Rococo pyramid. It dates from 1750–54 by Josef Procházka from z Chrudim. It is an expression of thanks for the salvation of the town from the horrors of the scourge of the plague. On the tip of the pyramid is a statue of the Virgin Mary standing on a globe representing the Earth. This Earth is entwined by a snake with an apple in its mouth. Above the parapet in the centre of the sculpture are the statues of St. Kosmas and St. Damian, St. Laurence and St. Florian. The column is surrounded by six statues - St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Francis Xaverský, St. Norbert, St. Ignatius and St. Jan of Nepomuk.
The fountain with a statue of Záboj is a sculptural monument from 1857. It was sculpted by the locally born sculptors, František and Antonín Wagner. The fountain with the statue of Záboj was uncovered in the square on 29th September 1857 during the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the discovery of the Dvůr Králové Manuscript. In 1950 it was moved to the edge of the town and in 2005 it was returned to exactly the same spot where it previously stood.
It is an allegorical celebration of the mother tongue and Czechness. Záboj, a character from the Dvůr Králové Manuscript, is wearing an old Slavic folk costume, has a sword in his belt, his right hand resting on a shield and his left pressing a varyto to his chest. He is standing on a rock from which three spouts of water gush, symbolising purity, health and constancy. Beneath the statue, carved into the rock is the name Záboj and below that the words: “They speak to thee in the words of our forefathers” which means that we should respect and nurture the Czech language.
Go from the square along Švehlova St. to the roundabout and turn right down the hill. On the right is a monument in the shape of the Star of David.
The first Jewish families came to Dvůr Králové n/L. around the year 1850 and built one of the first textile factories. In 1890, the local Jews built a synagogue which was consecrated a year later. Despite surviving both world wars, it met a cruel fate in the 1960s when, despite the protests of many citizens, the synagogue had to give way to the construction of a road and was demolished.
On the site of the former synagogue stands a monument in the shape of the Star of David whose origin was the work of Rabbi Norman Patz as the initiator and Academic Sculptor Jaroslav Černý, who designed the monument. He did not manage to complete the work because of his untimely death, however, and it was his son, Ota Černý, who finished the work his father was unable to complete. The monument was consecrated on 16. 2. 2008.
From the monument, continue along Rooseveltova St to the right of it towards Odboje (Resistance) Square and Václav Hanka Sq. Along the way you will pass a wooden, log-built house which is probably the oldest house in the town. It used to belong to a lathe man Šmíd, later it was the barracks headquarters, a gendarmerie, a dye house and lastly a wood turnery.
Náměstí Václava Hanky (Václav Hanka Sq.)
The centre of the square is decorated by the “Manuscripts” fountain by the local sculptor, Jaroslav Černý.
The dominant feature of the square is Hankův Dům, a neo-Renaissance building from 1874, which now serves as the municipal cultural centre.
The Svět Cinema is also unmistakeable. Originally a “Sokol” gymnasium from 1896, it was converted into a cinema in 1927.
Náměstí Odboje (Square of the Resistance)
The square is dominated by the monument to the Resistance. The monument was designed by the Prague sculptor, Professor Jaroslav Horejc and architect, Vilém Kvasničky. It was carved out of local sandstone by František Bílek. The monument was unveiled in 1922, is six metres tall and depicts the Motherland clutching a badly wounded son who has sacrificed himself for her. Another feature the square is the historical grammar school building built in 1893 – 1895.
From Hanka’ House, head along the adjacent lane with the church in the background.
The town was fortified around the end of the 13th century. The large oval shaped walls surrounded the town. There were four entrance gates to the town: Upper, Lower, Šindelářská and Hradišťská. The gates were guarded by round towers, only the Upper Gate had a square tower. The fortress nature of the town was reinforced to the south and west by the River Labe; where there were water-filled moats and draw-bridges. The fortifications of Dvůr were exceptional – the walls were not equipped with a walkway with castellations, but an inward sloping lean-to roof.
From 1785, the walls no longer served any purpose, but still in 1841 they existed almost all around the whole town. Even today traces of the wall can still be found. In some places there are entire fragments to bring you into touch with the town’s history – e.g. a section in Válová Lane and also on the west side of the Church of St. John the Baptist and by Šindelařská Tower. Part of the Upper Gate has been preserved (fragments of it can be seen at the end of Válová Lane – it is still known as Na Bráně – By the Gate).
At the end of Valová Lane, turn right uphill and at the crossroads on the left is the church.
This Gothic church was built on the site of the original, small Romanesque church. It has since been converted and enlarged twice. It only gained its present appearance in the 1890s. The church steeple was built up to its cornice in 1644 and in 1894 its spire raised the height to its present 64 metres.
There are three working bells inside the steeple. The largest bell dates from 1505 and is called St. John and also known as ROUGH or BIG BELL. The next bell, called “Death Bell” is from 1508 and the third, “Čapek” or also “Midday” is from 1540. In addition to the bells, the newer clock works ring every quarter of an hour.
Manuscript dungeon – discovery of the Dvůr Králové Manuscript
On 16th September 1817 in the tower dungeon, the “Dvůr Králové Manuscript” was found by Václav Hanka, which influenced the atmosphere of the Czech national rebirth. Today the manuscript is kept in the National Museum Library in Prague. The tower dungeon is open to the public in the summer season.
The town wall behind the Church of St. John the Baptist contains a Gothic semi-circular portal, probably from the infirmary chapel, and an Empirical gravestone from 1811, next to a richly ornate Empirical portal from 1791 and five tombstones.
To the north of the church, in the middle of the Republic Sq. is the Forgiveness Oratorio – a sculpture grouping of Jan of Nepomuk which was moved here in 1956 from today’s Rooseveltova St. On the pedestal stand the statues of St. Barbara, Simon and Jude. This sculpture dates from around 1730 and was created by Josef Procházka of Chrudim.
Behind the church at the main crossroads, go right and after about 250 m is the main building of the town museum - Kohoutův Dvůr.
The whole complex was originally a squire’s manor which F. A. Berger, an officer of Earl Špork, had built on early Baroque foundations between 1736 and 1738. Kohoutův Dvůr got its name in the mid-19th century when it was converted by the then owner, Alois Kohout. Three buildings remain from the original farmstead. The main building is connected to the grange by the gate house with the Berger’s arms and monogram. The space above the entrance is decorated by a relief of St. Florian. On the gallery is a statue of Mary Immaculate, with St. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist on either side of her. The grange was used in the past as a granary and so had a very important function for the town.
At the present, the town museum is housed in Kohoutův Dvůr. The main building has had a permanent exhibition documenting the history of the town since 1978 and in the newly reconstructed grange there has been a gallery, lecture hall and exhibition hall since 1998. The complex of buildings includes a third building which was originally a stable. The courtyard is dominated by a Baroque stone well.
From the museum turn back towards the church and after about 40 metres, turn right into Tylova Street. After a short walk you arrive at the only surviving stone tower.
Šindelářská Tower is the only surviving tower of the original four town wall towers which guarded the entrances to the town. It is 20 metres high and 7 metres in diameter. Its foundations descend about one metre into hard clay. Its name is derived from the street where shingles were made in workshops. Until 1790 the tower was decorated by a small astronomical clock. Like the tower in Pisa this too leans slightly – when viewed from Věžní (Tower) Street it is clear how it is propped up by the neighbouring house. There are also some remains of the town wall around the tower. The inside of the tower is unfortunately not open to the public.
From Šindelářská Tower continue straight along Havlíčková Street. At the end of the street turn right to get back to T.G.Masaryk Square.