Tábor Town

The hotel is situated on the main square of a beautiful medieval town, Tábor, one hour south of Prague. Tábor played an important role in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1420, it is central to one of the most famous periods of the Czech history – the Hussite Movement and Hussite Wars.

In the 13th Century a castle and small town by the name of Hradišté was established, only to be burned down in 1277. In the 14th Century the lords of Sezimovo Ústí built another castle, all that remains of this is the single Kotnov Tower, and over the next hundred years the settlement evolved into Tábor, named after the biblical Mt. Tábor. The importance of Tábor really began in the spring of 1420 when radical Hussites, followers of Jan Hus, made the town their home and military base.

Jan Hus was born around 1372 in Southern Bohemia to a poor family; he managed to become a teacher at Charles University in Prague, and in 1402 became a preacher. He wanted to return to the original doctrines of the Catholic Church; tolerance, humility, and simplicity, and his message of Catholic reform had a great influence and following for the Czechs. In 1412, he escaped Prague and took refuge in Sezimovo Ústí, the neighbouring town to Tábor. He lived and taught here until 1415 when he was unfairly tried on a charge of heresy at Constance, in present day Germany. Although given safe conduct by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, it was ultimately a trap and he was burned at the stake on the 6th of July 1415. His death caused mass religious revolt among the Czechs, and sparked a religious upheaval out of which the Hussites movement was formed.

However differences developed and the group split into a moderate group the Utraquists and the radical Táborites. In 1420 Sezimovo Ústí burned to the ground and Huss’s followers moved to Tábor.

The Táborites saw themselves as God’s warriors, their philosophy that all people should be equal on earth as in heaven made them few friends in the church and nobility of the time. They developed the town into a military bastion in defiance of Catholic Europe; under constant attack they became a powerful fighting force under the command of Jan Žižka and Prokop Holý. They were eventually defeated by the Utraquists and Sigismund Catholic forces in the Battle of Lipany in 1434.

In 1437 Tábor became a royal town, but the town ignored the Czech King until 1452 when troops surrounded the town and demanded they acknowledge the King, which they did.

The town slowly evolved from a military fortress into a normal town. For the next hundred years the town underwent a building boom, but all of these Renaissance style buildings were destroyed in two great fires in 1532 and 1559. The town was rebuilt in stone, the underground tunnels were developed, and the sgraffito house decorations which still can be seen became fashionable. In 1547 the town refused to send troops to help the Czech King Ferdinand I in his campaign against the German Lutherans. The king retaliated by confiscating land, which was the basis of the towns’ stability and economy. In 1618 Tábor refused to acknowledge the Habsburg Monarch, instead joining an uprising formed by non-Catholic noblemen. They held out for 30 years until the town was overrun by general Marradas whose soldiers pillaged the town. At the end of the Thirty Years’ War the town stabilized and became the quiet town it now is. Tábor retains a proud sense of history, and some would say that anti-authoritarianism, independence and defiance still persists in the narrow streets and cobbled squares.