Jindřichův Hradec to Slavonice

Between Jindřichův Hradec and Nová Bystřice, the Greenways trail passes through wooded areas along the Austrian border and the Iron Curtain that were once closed security zones. Today they are open as natural and unspoiled forests.

Route Distance Links  
Jindřichův Hradec to Slavonice 47 km map/gpx cue sheet
Slavonice to Jindřichův Hradec 47 km map/gpx cue sheet

Old Cathedral at KlasterCzech Canada, a remote highland area near the Czech-Austrian border, forms a part of the European continental divide, between the North Sea and Black Sea. The area has a cooler and more continental climate than central Bohemia, with higher precipitation and colder temperatures at night and in winter. This ridge of highlands is a source for both the Danube river to the Black Sea and the Elbe to the North Sea. Numerous artificial lakes have been constructed, to utilize the water for power and irrigation.The Iron Curtain Greenway is another trail, more suited to hiking than bicycling because of the condition of the roadway in some places. It follows the many service roads that were built to support the Iron Curtain in the Communist era. Because these roads no longer have a military purpose, they are being allowed, in many cases, to deteriorate. At some points on this route, it follows the same path as the Prague-Vienna Greenways.

Nová Bystřice was founded in 1175, but was burned to the ground by Jan Žižka in 1420, during the Hussite Wars. When the town was rebuilt, it took on the name Nová (“New”) Bystřice. For centuries it was a regional market town, and a border town that handled trade between Bohemia and Upper Austria. During the Cold War, it was isolated by the Iron Curtain, and a frontier garrison was stationed in the town. Since the Velvet Revolution, traditional industries like agriculture and textiles have been supplanted by tourism. A privately operated narrow gauge railroad runs from Nová Bystřice to Jindřichův Hradec. During tourist season, these trains are powered by a historic steam engine. Nová Bystřice also features a world-famous golf resort.
According to Jewishgen, the earliest known Jewish community at Nová Bystřice was in the second half of 19th century. Before 1848, only one to three Jewish families were permitted to live at Nová Bystřice. Jews moved from surrounding villages to Nová Bystřice after the revolutions and reforms of 1848, founding institutions such as a religious society, a Jewish school, a prayer house, and finally an independent congregation in 1893. But in the 20th century, Jewish families left smaller towns like Nová Bystrice and relocated to the larger cities.

The Jewish cemetery originated in 1878, with the last known Conservative Jewish burial probably before 1939. The isolated rural (agricultural) hillside has no sign or marker. It can be reached by crossing private land. Access is open to all via a broken masonry wall without a gate. There are about 20-100 stones, with Hebrew and German inscriptions, most in original locations, dating from the last quarter of 19th century to about 1939.
Neu Bistritz Jewish cemetary

It is common to see an acronym of Hebrew letters on gravestones. TNZBH is an acronym made up of five Hebrew letters: Taf, Nun, Tsadik, Bet, Heh. These letters form an abbreviation for a traditional quotation from Samuel I, 25:29, in transliterated Hebrew: “Tehi nishmato tzerurah b’tzrur ha-chayim.” This can be translated, “may she or he be bound up in the bundle of eternal life,” or “let his or her soul be clustered among the living souls.” In this passage, b’tzrur means “pebble.” From this stems the Jewish tradition of placing a small stone while visiting a gravesite as a sign of remembrance.Neu Bistritz - Unidentified Headstone

Photo credits

  1. Old Cathedral at Klaster. © Filip Mileret, 2005.
  2. Neu Bistritz – Pachner and Robicek Graves. © alexandria42, 2007.
  3. Neu Bistritz – Unidentified Headstone. © alexandria42, 2007.
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