Tábor is a city of the Czech Republic, in the South Bohemian Region. It was originally named after Mount Tabor, which is believed by many Christians to be the place of the Transfiguration of Christ. However, the name became popular, and it now translates to “camp” or “encampment” in the Czech language.

The town was founded in the spring of 1420 by Petr Hromádka of Jistebnice and Jan Bydlínský of Bydlín. These religious leaders came from the most radical wing of the Hussites, who soon became known as the Taborites.

Tábor is iconic for the years in which it flourished as an egalitarian peasant commune. This spirit is celebrated in Smetana’s “Song of Freedom,” made famous in the English-speaking world by Paul Robeson’s recording in both Czech and English.

Route Distance Links  
Prague to Tábor 123 km map/gpx cue sheet
Tábor to Jindřichův Hradec 50 km map/gpx cue sheet
Tábor to České Budĕjovice (EuroVelo) 67 km map/gpx cue sheet
Tábor to České Budĕjovice (Rozmberk) 92 km map/gpx cue sheet

The historical part of the town is situated on the summit of an isolated hill separated from the surrounding country by the Lužnice river and by an extensive lake, to which the Hussites gave the biblical name of Jordan. This lake, formed 1492, is the oldest reservoir of its kind in Central Europe. It is 53 hectares in size, and is used for swimming in the summer.Tábor lost its strategic and historic importance when it was captured by King George of Poděbrady in 1452. Though a large part of the ancient fortifications have been demolished, the castle of the Tábor Hill still preserves many memorials of its past fame. In the center of the city is Žižka Square, reachable only by very narrow streets, laid out so as to make the city more defensible in time of war.

TáborFirst-time visitors may not suspect that there is an ingenious labyrinth of tunnels underneath the houses and streets here. The townspeople dug cellars under their houses and these were subsequently interconnected. Approximately one kilometer of this tunnel system is open to the public.In the center of the square is the statue of Jan Žižka, the greatest of the Hussite leaders. Here also is the Dean Church of Lord’s Conversion on Mount Tabor, built in 1516 in the style of the Bohemian Renaissance. The town hall contains a museum, with memorials of the Hussite period such as farm carts which doubled as battle wagons.Major parts of the ancient fortifications and the ancient Kotnov tower and gate of Bechyně near the tower still exist. On the east side of the town (about 2 km from the Infocenter Tábor in the direction-route Chýnov-Pelhřimov) is the Baroque Castle in Tábor-Měšice, which is open to the public.

Photo credits

  1. Tábor. © Suzanne Levasseur, 2007.
  2. Tunnel Under the House. © Ximena del Campo, licensed under Creative Commons, 2007.
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