1. Benedictine Abbey
The Baroque complex of the Benedictine Monastery in Rajhrad is the seat of the first monastery in Moravia ad belongs to Moravia’s oldest church institutions. The Olomouc Diocese was restored in 1063, fifteen years after the monastery was established. Visitors are fascinated by the Baroque beauty designed in 1718 by a famous architect Jan Santini Aichel and built between 1722 and 1840. In the 18th and 19th centuries the monastery was famous for its library and the scholarly work of the Benedictines, namely Bonaventura Pitr, Rehor Volny, Beda Dudik and Maurus Kinter.
Museum of Literature in Moravia in Benedictine Abbey
In 2005 the Museum of Literature in Moravia was opened in the monastery to offer the visitors a permanent exhibition on the most important personalities of the Moravia’s literary scene between the 8th and 20th century, temporary exhibitions and a restored Benedictine library with eighteen thousand books. In total, there are as many as 65 thousand books. Visitors can use the service of permanent guides and true literary treasures can be studied in the research room. There is also a parish centre on the premises of the monastery where exhibitions and concerts take place.
District Archive of Brno-venkov
The collections stored in modern and air-conditioned depositories of the restored District Archive of Brno-venkov contain more than four thousand metres of archive documents covering the time since the 13th century. Sadly, the research room and entirely romantic courtyard with a fountain, statue of St. Benedictus and stone heraldic decorations are only accessible during workdays. The interior of the archive situated in the former monastery brewery is also remarkable.
Only a few metres of the Benedictine Abbey there are two other Rajhrad’s landmarks:
2. Old sawmill
Set in the romantic background of two mill-races and on the path to the pheasantry, an old sawmill has been standing since 1639, as recorded in its inventory list. The sawmill with an overshot water wheel was carefully maintained by the Benedictines. After all, it is situated halfway between the upper and lower monastery wood. Planks and timbers were lumbered here until 1919 when the sawmill was closed down.
3. Strumen watermill
Standing majestically between the monastery and the town, the old watermill was allegedly built as early as in 1092. The first written mention comes from 1340, when the provost Vitek named certain Martin a miller in the Strumen watermill. The mill was gradually expanded and enlarged by the Benedictines and in the nineteenth century it had eight undershot wheels. Since the twentieth century it has served as a small hydro-electric power station.
Take a leisurely walk around other interesting places in Rajhrad, get some refreshment in one of the restaurants and then continue back past the monastery to Rajhradice.
4. Pitr’s bridge
Probably until the mid-eleventh century Rajhrad and the Bendictine monastery were connected by a wooden bridge where a toll was collected. In 1760 a new stone bridge was built that has served since. The three-pillar structure with ice guards, designed by Josef Aneis, used to be decorated with five statues of saints and a stone cross by a sculptor named Nösmann. The statues and the cross now flank the path in the entrance courtyard of the monastery.
5. Statues of T. G. Masaryk and other sights in the town
The 18th century stone fountain was bought from Brno after its fire in 1868. Originally, the spot of the fountain was occupied by a pillory and in 1975 first fountain was built with a wooden duct which was between 1892 and 1896 replaced by a metal one. There used to be an entrance to a huge municipal cellar where there is a statue of St. Florian. The upper part of the square used to be dominated by a statue of T. G. Masaryk which sadly enough hasn’t survived the turns of events. Another statue of the same man, standing in front of the primary school in Matlaska, miraculously survived.
6. Parish church
In 1330 the Chapel of the Elevation of the St. Cross was built so that the believers could participate in services even during floods. In 1683 the provost Arlet had the structure enlarged and in 1766 the building was reconstructed in the Baroque style by the provost Konrad. It was promoted to a parish church in 1767. On the cemetery at the east side of the church there is a memorial of the dead Benedictines. Abbots and outstanding scientists are also buried here, among others for instance Beda Dudik, Rehor Volny, Pavel Vychodil.
7. Convent of the Consolatory Sisters of the Jesus’ Divine Heart
In the western section of Rajhrad there is an extensive complex of the Convent of the Consolatory Sisters of the Jesus’ Divine Heart which was built between 1924 and 1929. The congregation was established by Marie Rosa Vujtechova in 1915. The dramatic history of the congregation can be read about on the information board at the church entrance. In the convent there is a St. Joseph’s Hospice and Mother Rosa’s Home for the Elderly.
8. Railway station and the first train ride in 1838
A bronze plaque at the railway station reminds of the fact that in 1838 the first regular train service in the Czech Republic was established. The line from Brno to Rajhrad goes through the town centre. The first trial ride from Rajhrad to Brno was taken by the “Moravia” engine on November 11, 1838 and on December 15 the regular service was introduced. The whole branch from Vienna to Brno was opened on July 7, 1839.
9. General Kozyr monument
At the south end of Rajhrad there is a memorial of a tragic war event. On April 23, 1945 the Red army’s major general Maxim Yevseyevich Kozyr was shot to death in front of the building which now seats a secondary school. His vehicle was accidentally led into an area still occupied by German troops for which the whole crew of the vehicle paid with their lives. In 2008, the Russian Federation’s embassy declared this monument to the most important WWII memorials in the Czech Republic.
10. Monastery granary
The monastery granary was built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and is a very distinct building, very often depicted in paintings. It used to store grain from the whole monastery’s land. The 1788 patent stated that each dependent arable land owner had to contribute to the granary for three years. The granary was built far enough from Rajhrad to be safe from a possible fire.
11. Chapel of St. Scholastica
The chapel dedicated to St. Scholastica was built in 1897. Above the altar there is a painting by Jan Jiri Etgens, a gift to the chapel from the Abbot Korcian who consecrated the chapel on July 25, 1898.
12. Loucka bell tower
Standing at the village square, the quaint bell tower comes from 1848 when it replaced the original wooden and smaller one.
13. The Svratka Dam
A river dam built in 1848 that regulates the new bed of the Svratka river.
14. Subsidiary church of St. Charles Borromeo
The village is dominated by the church of St. Charles Borromeo which has replaced a chapel built by the provost Celestin Arlet in the late 17th century as an expression of gratitude for the fact that locals were spared during the plague epidemic which raged in Moravia between 1675 and 1676. In 1772, after a great fire, a larger chapel was built and then between 1868 and 1869 it was replaced by the church. The credit for the construction belongs mainly to Vojtech Slouk, a Benedictine monk and the chaplain in Opatovice, who is also the author of Charles Borromeo’s portrait behind the altar. The church has one nave and is 30m long and 11.4m wide. The statue of St. Rosalie comes from the original chapel, the clock were transferred here from the former Dominican convent in Brno.
You shouldn’t miss a miniature cemetery from 1865 which is extraordinarily cared about by locals. Cemeteries in Rajhrad and Opatovice are the only ones on the microregion.
16. Propitiatory stones
Propitiatory stones, another interesting place to visit, come from the first half of the 17th century. Legend has it that the stones commemorate a fight of three men who shot one another dead for love. There were originally three large stones, probably marking the position of the men.
“Statule” is another commemoration of a tragic event. A gamekeeper was shot to death by a poacher here in 1830
18. St. Wenceslas Chapel
Originating in 1840, the St. Wenceslas chapel standing in the village square was enlarged in 1848 and has been since a venue of a traditional mass held on the St. Wenceslas Day.
19. Soldiers Monument
Soldiers Memorial can be found in the centre of the village and commemorates the 62 Soviet soldiers who died here during the battle of 1945. There is a biennial celebration held that attracts members of military clubs in period uniforms coming from Brno and around.
20. Stone cross
Now standing near the bridge over the railway, the Stone cross from 1810 used to stand next to the former cemetery which was established after the cholera epidemic in 1831. The cemetery was removed in 1838 during the railway construction.
21. Ludmila pool
Remains of a swamp in the floodplain of the Svratka river. The locality, rich in flora and fauna, is now being regenerated.
22. Bell tower
The bell tower in the village square comes from 1857 and is one of the most important monuments in Popovice. Inside there is a painting by a Benedictine monk Vojtech Slouk. It was given to the people of Popovice in 1868 as a reward for their help during the construction of the church in Opatovice.
23. Stone cross
Situated in the western section of the village, the stone cross probably dates back to 1697 as this is the date that is hidden in the Latin inscription. But there is another inscription on the other side of the cross saying that it was erected in 1802.
24. WWI Monument
This monument, commemorating the people who died during the WWI is the oldest one in the microregion. It was blessed by the Abbot Prokop Sup in October 1920.
A small pond which was completely restored in 2008. Another water biotope, newly established, can be found in front of the entrance to the Rajhrad pheasantry.