Before I begin posting updates from San Francisco I’ve one more Czech based post to write. If you’re a regular reader you’ll remember last Summer we paid a flying visit to the fortress town of Josefov. We had a look around the tunnel network underneath the town and drove through the main square area. It was part of a lovely adventure day which took in Kuks as well as nearby zoo (Which I still have to edit the photos from).
I really liked the look of the place and planned on returning again. So one lazy Sunday a little while ago I randomly decided, right that’s it, i’m going to go back to Josefov and check it out a little more. Handily enough there’s a train that stops in the town of Jaromer, which is a short stroll across the Labe.
So yeah I totally could have hired a kayak and rowed by way up here from Pardubice but the train was more convenient, although kayaking down/up the Labe sure sounds fun! Aaaaanyhoo so I got on the train heading to Jaromer, via Hradec Kralove and it took about 40 mins or so to get there.
From the station it’s about a 10-15 minute walk to the fortress, over the Labe and then the smaller Metuje river to get into the town. Being a Sunday, everywhere was closed and the place was a bit of a ghost town (great planning there James), but I wasn’t there for shopping or for lunch. I was interested in the architecture of the place, the unique layout of the streets, the fortifications and the crumbling textures of the buildings.
And crumbly they were indeed in many places, the signature orange-mustard yellow paint of the town, falling apart in whole chunks on some buildings. If you’re a texturesexual (I’m sure there’s a market for it out there somewhere) you’ll be in your element in Josefov. The crumbliest of crumbliness awaits you throughout Josefov and it adds to the charm and lived in feeling of the place. It feels like a town that had a glorious past of revolution and war, holding off army after army, and then….was simply….forgotten. The format of war changed and there was no longer a need for such large fortifications, one plane could cause more damage than a whole army could.
There’s examples of this kind of structure all over the world, and they’re fascinating places to walk around. You can picture what it was like in its heyday, with generals in their perfectly tailored and faultless attire commanding their troops against the baying armies outside the walls. But now they’re just buildings, sadly left in a state of disrepair, no longer needed for their primary purpose. In a way it’s good as the tools and structures of war should never be celebrated, but at the same time, the horrors of war shouldn’t be forgotten either.