A Final Stop and More Templars

After the experience at Mikulov, we headed back to Brno taking a short detour to a town named Čejkovice. I wanted to take a quick look to see if there was anything there worth spending time on later. Čejkovice was the second Templar establishment in the Czech Republic after Prague and the first in Moravia when they arrived in the 1230’s here. Just as in the case of Jamolice, the town’s coat of arms recalls their presence.

 

Čejkovice coat of arms

 

Unfortunately, not much is recorded regarding the presence of the commanderie – only a mention in 1248 in a document issued by the Lord of Břeclav apparently. The history of the town is summarized as follows by the website of the Chateau – more of which shortly!

Following the dissolution of the order, Čejkovice was acquired by the powerful Lords of Lipá. After Jindřich of Lipá and his descendants, Čejkovice was held by Albert and Vilém of Šternberk, the Moravian Margrave Jošt, Boček of Kunštát, Heřman of Zástřizl, Herolt Kuna of Kunštát, Albrecht of Víckov and Jan Adam of Víckov. His property was forfeited because he took the anti-Hapsburg side during the Uprising of the Estates. In 1624, the Chateau was gifted to the Olomouc College of the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits completed the construction of the building in its present form.

After the Jesuits were abolished in 1773, the Chateau was transferred to a study fund in 1774. In 1783, Čejkovice was purchased from the study fund by Emperor Joseph II and the Supreme Office for the Administration of the Imperial Estates was established at the Chateau. “In addition to the offices and residences of officials, ten imperial rooms were ready for members of the imperial family and their guests at all times in the inner section of the building, as the Hapsburgs often held hunts and hunting festivities at the nearby Hodonín forestry district.” (from the Čejkovice Journal 1248–1998). In 1785, Čejkovice was visited by Emperor Joseph II, and in 1880 by Emperor Franz Joseph I.

The town is also the third-largest wine town in the country and sits in the center of the Moravian wine area.

 

The Templars built a fortress, a church (dedicated to St. Kunhuta) and a tower. The fortress eventually became the said Chateau – which is now a hotel! The Templars were also engaged in the wine business locally it seems and a provincial Templar commander is believed to have lived there – a man by the name of Ekko. The Templars are also believed to have constructed vast wine cellars by the Castle which are still in use today and are known as the Templarske sklepy or Templar Cellars and tours can be booked it seems. There is also a wine maker and label that I see every time I visit the supermarket and always thought to be just a brand….it turns out, this is the Templar wine maker for real…

 

 

Now the interesting thing about Ekko is that he died in around 1310 in ‘Resnowitz’ – which is the old German name of Řeznovice where we started our weekend at the Templar church with the part of a Templar tombstone – perhaps his. It seems he is the Templar commander buried there. He was a pretty important fellow being head of the templars in Bohemia, Moravia and Austria until 1308.

Again, the Templars are always associated with strange legends due to the order’s wealth and supposed practices. In this case, there is supposed to be a Templar treasure hidden somewhere in the vicinity of the fortress and the cellars are reputed to extend for many kilometers underground….

The Templar Cellars

And what of the Templar church? According to its website it has a history as follows,

The first mention of the church is dated in 1269. It mentions the foundation of the church by the German Templars. The parish led the spiritual administration until 1311, when the order was abolished. They brought here respect for St. Kunhuta and her church. She was the wife of the Bavarian Duke Henry. We are missing information about the following period. The parish must have been dilapidated and abandoned. Only after the Thirty Years’ War in 1624 Čejkovice was taken over by the Jesuits who led proper spiritual administration and also took care of the church.

 The church was several times in its history destroyed and rebuilt. It was first destroyed by the Swedes in 1645 during the siege of Brno. Jesuits repaired it, but 20 years later burned down with a large part of the village. The fire was then in the blacksmith’s forge and the bells melted in the fire. The church was rebuilt with the tower in 1700. It was not long after 5 years that Hungarian rebels invaded and destroyed the church by fire. It was then restored again. But it burnt down again in 1778. Then it was repaired again. In 1891, a large reconstruction of the roof and ceiling took place. There was a vaulted ceiling in the church at that time, which was very heavy, and the perimeter walls opened and threatened to collapse the church. Therefore, the vaulted ceiling was torn down and replaced by a flat ceiling and at the same time a new tower was built. The whole church underwent a general overhaul. The church was consecrated Bishop of Brno on 9.1.1892.

So promising perhaps? We pulled up to the Hotel Chateau hoping to get at least a coffee only to discover it was closed. It would open the following day! The cellars were also closed with no possibility of a tour until April at the earliest while the church is a modern building – though it may still be worth a visit. So after a short and chilly walk to take a few photos, our weekend was over and we headed back to Brno.

 

The Chateau – now hotel

 

The Templar Cellars

 

And Templar Restaurant…

So, we will go back in the Spring and stay in the Chateau where Ekko and his retinue once stayed and tour the cellars, visit the church and sample the wine….. could be fun!

Strangely though, we had come full circle and in an unexpected way. The famed Templar commander who resided at Čejkovice – our last stop – turned out to be the one buried in the church we had started at…..

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