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World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

Blog: WHS #632: Telc

I think the WHS of Telč will defeat me – can I really write 500 words about this over-commercialized market place?

The historic center of Telč consists of a castle and a triangular marketplace, both of which originate from the Renaissance. Most striking is the series of original houses at the square, built in stone at the end of the 16th century after a fire had destroyed their wooden predecessors. In the 17th century, baroque facades and gables were added to several of them.

One of the nicest façade-gable combinations, with sgraffito

Not a lot of people from the general travel audience will have heard from Telč. But tourists do come here in large numbers: upon entering the town by car you will be directed to one of the major parking lots around the old center. There are ample parking spaces for buses, and the parking has to be paid for.

From the parking it is only a few minutes walk to the city's main attraction: the market square. It is a very elongated square, approximately triangular in shape. On all three sides there is a row of colourful buildings with arcades. They are all in different colours and with various types of gables. The square itself isn’t especially pretty, unlike for example the Grand Place in Brussels or the Piazza San Marco in Venice. Maybe because it isn’t fully enclosed – it opens out to 5 roads.

Adam at Telc castle

In almost every review of the Telc market square on this website or at Tripadvisor you will read about the eyesore of the place: the center of the square is literally filled with parked cars and larger vehicles, blocking close views of the surrounding buildings. Parking actually has been allowed here only since 10 years or so, one wonders why they have made that decision. It also seems totally unnecessary given the many adjoining streets and parking lots. The view was even more obscured this Saturday by a bunch of haphazardly positioned market stalls, sporting commercial logos. It amazes me that so far no remark about this issue has been made in the State of Conservation reports concerning this WHS.

In a far corner of the square lies the “chateau”. This is not a medieval type castle such as in Cesky Krumlov, but a more palatial one dating from the Renaissance and designed under supervision of Italian artists. I wasn’t in the mood for a tour with a tour guide and a large group again (which is the only way to get inside). But the building itself, the courtyard and the garden can be admired for free and are well worth it.

Plague column at the market of Telc

The verdict (5/10):

I spent about 2 hours in Telč, including time for consuming a hearty and cheap lunch with the locals at the Švejk restaurant. The facades of the buildings aligning the square are indeed beautiful, but I couldn’t really enjoy them because of the obstructed views and the lack of information on display on site. This website has some more background on their origins.

Word count = 500

Published 20 May 2017

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Responses to WHS #632: Telc
Philip Wharmby, Bury GB (29 June 2017)

I was there in 1997, a charming place the. We wondered why there were so few tourists at such an architectural gem