Tøebíè is a town of around 40,000 inhabitants that straddles the Jihlava River towards the southern end of the Czechomoravian highlands. Approximately halfway between Olomouc and Èeský Krumlov, it’s a good place to break the journey, and a good base for exploring the region, with interesting towns such as Telc, Znojmo, and Jihlava nearby.
Until the Second World War, Tøebíè was one of Moravia’s major centres of Jewish culture. The Jewish cemetery and residential Jewish Quarter are among the best preserved in central Europe, and were added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 2003. The Jewish quarter is a warren of narrow streets, crooked lanes, and hidden passageways, and the extensive cemetery lies above it on the hillside. There are two synagogues, the larger of which is accessible to the public and houses a permanent exhibition of artifacts relating to Jewish history in Trebíc.
Also added to the world heritage list in 2003 was the Basilica of St Procopius, a beautiful blend of the late Romanesque and early Gothic styles. The carved stone portal around the north door is particularly highly regarded, but the exposed stone vaulting, crypt, and rosette windows are other highlights of the 30-minute guided tour.
Across the river from the basilica and Jewish quarter is the historic centre of Trebíc. Its main square still faithfully serves its original purpose, which was to be a market place. The fresh fruits and vegetables on sale are a good value, and teamed with some fresh bread from the bakery on the north side of the square they become perfect fare for a picnic lunch. The black and white "painted house" on one corner of the square is the tourist information office, but the panorama is dominated by the tower beside St Martin’s church. The tower is accessible to the public, and the viewing platform offers superb views across the town to the hills beyond, but the tower’s main claim to fame is that its clock faces are the largest in Europe, with a diameter of 5.5m and 60cm numerals.
Other interesting sights in Trebíc include a windmill from the year 1836, an orthodox church with a gilded "onion" dome, and the city baths on the left bank of the Jihlava below the palace.
Trebíc has a vibrant, youthful energy; with a good variety of bars, cafes, and restaurants, it makes an excellent place to spend a night or two while passing through southwestern Moravia.