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Dyje river region
For a long time, much of Podyjí was inaccessible to the public because it encompassed a vast border zone with Austria. Thanks to this, the countryside around the Dyje River remains well-preserved in its original unpolluted form. The Dyje twists, curves and meanders, and on its left bank it is blessed with the best of southern Moravia’s vineyards, such as Šobes. By taking a trip along the river, you will come across the ruins of long-abandoned mills, you can enter vineyards and sample their wine, and, as soon as you leave the Dyje Valley, you’ll find yourself in sun-drenched fertile lowlands with fruit orchards and more vineyards. The region seems to have been made for pleasant strolls from spring to autumn, for bike rides, and of course for a gourmet experience – in addition to all the wine there are Znojmo’s baked goods and its pickles.
Several monumental castles and romantic chateaux stand guard along the border that spans over the length of the Dyje. Additionally, the Czech Republic’s smallest and youngest national park is situated along the river. The region’s network of marked hiking and biking trails is more than sufficient and enables visitors to chose the difficulty that best suits their wishes and abilities. Of course, it goes without saying that you can also go horseback riding in Podyjí. In the summer months, the water conditions at the Vranov Dam are good; the same can be said about the summer swimming pools in Únanov and Znojmo. And finally, wine enthusiasts can set out along the beautiful paths of the local vineyards and charming wine cellars. However, you should be careful when it comes to the somewhat contradictory practice of combining cycling and wine.
The region’s natural centre is the town of Znojmo . Znojmo is one of the Czech Republic’s oldest towns and today it constitutes southwestern Moravia’s natural cultural and commercial centre. Several outstanding historical monuments are situated in Znojmo, of which the most notable is indisputably the Romanesque rotunda of Saint Catherine with its unique frescos. Visiting Znojmo during the Znojmo Wine Festival (Znojemské vinobraní) is highly recommended. The festival is situated throughout almost all of the city’s historical centre. Its biggest attraction is the historic procession of King John Luxemburg (Jan Lucemburský), which takes place either on the Friday evening or Saturday afternoon of the festival and ends with a historic scenario on the main platform. Refreshments are available at any of several dozen stylised taprooms and “mázhauz” (roughly translated: “measuring houses”). Two more popular attractions are the knight tournaments and a historical market with craftsmen and merchants. This medieval town also has the most extensive labyrinth of underground tunnels in the Czech Republic. The tunnels beneath Znojmo cover 26,5 kilometres under the historical part of the city and 12 kilometres outside of that part. In some sections there are four stories above one another, only one part in Znojmo – the Loucký Monastery – also has a fifth floor.
The monumental Loucký Monastery is a significant Znojmo landmark. It offers tours of its art gallery, Romanesque crypts, a cooper’s and vintner’s museum, and stucco halls and cellars. A tour of the monastery ends with some wine sampling. A visitor’s centre provides information about the operations of Moravian wine cellars in Šatov and the Malovan cellar, as well as more about wine tasting at the Šobes vineyard and new sampling stands in the Havraníky vineyards, in parts of the Křížov cellar in Přímětice, in the Znojmo underground, in Znojmo Castle, and you can learn more about the region’s historical wine train. The sightseeing train travels to the most attractive parts of the royal town of Znojmo.
A network of wine-themed bike paths run through Podyjí. They connect to other wine trails in neighbouring touring and wine-growing districts, as well as to bike paths in the Austrian parts of Podyjí (Thayatal). Some of the more popular trails include the circular bike path that leads from Znojmo through Podmolí, to Popice and back and the circular trail from Havraník to Popice and back. Another favourite trail is a longer route that connects Podyjí with the Lednicko – Valtice district.