Slavkov u Brna

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Coordinates: 49°9′11.72″N 16°52′35.37″E / 49.1532556°N 16.8764917°E / 49.1532556; 16.8764917
Slavkov u Brna
Town
Slavkov u Brna - Castle.jpg
Castle
Flag
Coat of arms
Country Czech Republic
Region South Moravian
District Vyškov
Commune Slavkov u Brna
Elevation 211 m (692 ft)
Coordinates 49°9′11.72″N 16°52′35.37″E / 49.1532556°N 16.8764917°E / 49.1532556; 16.8764917
Area 14.95 km2 (5.77 sq mi)
Population 6,227 (1.1.2012)
Density 417 / km2 (1,080 / sq mi)
First mentioned 1237
Mayor Ivan Charvát
Timezone CET (UTC+1)
 - summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 684 01
Location in the Czech Republic
Location in the Czech Republic
Wikimedia Commons: Slavkov u Brna
Statistics: statnisprava.cz
Website: www.slavkov.cz

Slavkov u Brna (Czech pronunciation: [ˈslafkof ˈu br̩na], i.e. Slavkov by Brno; historically known as Austerlitz) is a country town east of Brno in the South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic. Population: 6, 227 (2011). The town is widely known for giving its name to the Battle of Austerlitz which actually took place several kilometres to the west of the town.

At the beginning of the 13th century, the Teutonic Order built a monastery stronghold whose remains can still be seen today in the vaults of the Austerlitz Palace. The first written testimony about the place date from 1237. The Czech name Slavkov is first documented in 1361, the German name Austerlitz in 1633 and is said to be a truncation of the Czech Novosedlice (Novosedlicz, Nausedlicz), which means "new settlement", although this cannot be clarified definitively. After the defeat of the Order in the Battle of Grunwald, the town became the property of a number of noble owners until, in 1509, the local gentry family of Kaunitz assumed control for more than 400 years. At the end of World War II, the ethnic German majority of residents were forcibly expelled.

Sightseeing[edit]

  • Baroque Slavkov Castle (Austerlitz) has 115 rooms and an impressive garden in the French style. The Palace was designed by Italian architect Domenico Martinelli. In its historic salon, an armistice was signed between Austria and France after the battle of Austerlitz on 2 December, 1805. There is a small historic museum (only in Czech) and a multimedia presentation about the battle.
  • On the main square is a late Renaissance town hall and mansion. Parts of the old town wall can also be seen.
  • Church of the Resurrection of the Lord (on the south side of the main square). The classicist building with three pulpits was designed from 1786-1789 by the Viennese architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg.
  • Church of St. John the Baptist (in the cemetery). Beneath the church is a vault which contains the tombs of the Kaunitz family.
  • Chapel of St. Urbanus (to the north on the Urbanus hill). The chapel of 1712 was badly damaged during the battle of Austerlitz and had to be rebuilt during 1858-1861.
  • Jewish Heritage. Only the synagogue (built in 1858) remains from the Jewish ghetto. There is also a Jewish cemetery a little bit outside the town.

Monuments and sights of the Battle of Austerlitz[edit]

The battle of Austerlitz actually took place several kilometers to the west of Austerlitz. Public transport to the site is limited, and the landscape has preserved its bucolic aspects. Agriculture still dominates the hilly terrain which has not changed much (apart from the sprawl of the villages). A highway bisects the battlefield.

  • The Old Post (stará pošta) in Kovalovice is an original period building dating from 1785, which now serves as a hotel and restaurant. On 28 November 1805 the French cavalry general Murat set up his headquarters here. On the day of battle, the Russian general Bagration had his headquarters here. After the battle, Napoleon slept in this house and held preliminary negotiations about an armistice. A small museum is dedicated to commemorate these events.
  • On Santon hill to east of Tvarožná village is a small white chapel. The hill was a mainstay of the French position and allowed the French artillery to dominate the northern portion of the battlefield. Below the hill, the yearly historical reenactments take place.
  • On Žuráň hill Napoleon Bonaparte had his headquarters. A granite monuments depicts the battlefield positions.
  • In Šlapanice village a number of mass graves with a monument can be seen.
  • The Peace Memorial (mohyla míru) on Prace hill. The memorial near Prace village has been designed and built in Art-Nouveau style by Josef Fanta, an architect from Prague, during 1910–1912. The First World War postponed its inauguration until 1923. It is 26 m high, square, with four female statues symbolizing France, Austria, Russia and Moravia. Within is a chapel with an ossuary. A small museum commemorates the battle. Prace hill is situated 324 m above sea level and was the highest point of the battlefield, overlooking a great part of the battlefield. At the start of the battle it was occupied by the Russian Kamensky's column and the Austrian Kolowrat's division. It was then overtaken by the French troops under the command of St. Hilaire and the columns of Thiebault, Varé and Levaseuer at 11 a.m. The troops of the Austrian general Jirčik had defended this position, but the general was severely injured and died. Every year, the events of the battle of Austerlitz are commemorated in a ceremony.
  • Near Křenovice village stands a weathered peace cross.
  • The Old Vineyards (staré vinohrady) near Blažovice saw the bloody collision of the French and Russian guards. Today, a new Monument to the Three Emperors has been erected.

Much in the same way that in London, the English have named Waterloo station to commemorate the Waterloo victory, the French gave the name of Austerlitz to one of the major Parisian train stations, the Gare d'Austerlitz. There is also a Quai d'Austerlitz in the XIIIth arrondissement of Paris. In the Netherlands a small village was founded in commemoration of the battle, see: Austerlitz (Netherlands).

See also[edit]

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