Tábor was the base for the Hussite movement after executing its’ religious leader, Jan Hus, in Prague. It was founded officially in 1420, and the Hussites named it in honour of Mount Tábor, from the bible. Sacrificing their homes, the Hussites arrived here to welcome Christ upon his resurrection. The army who led Tábor, about 15000 soldiers in total, believed that God had instructed them to end Catholic power during that period.
Legendary fighter, Jan Žižka, was the leader of the Taborites, as this Hussite sect was called. Time after time, Žižka summoned his soldiers to beat the Catholic forces until he was killed in a 1424 battle. For a decade more, the Hussites fought on, but their defeat at Lipany put a finish to the movement, and a deal was made with Luxembourg’s Emperor Sigmund of the Roman Holy Empire. Afterwards, the town was led by George of Poděbrad (Jiff z Poděbrad) of Bohemia. The town flourished economically and amassed the necessary wealth to construct the Renaissance buildings, now seen in the historical Old Town.
Prague to Tábor Transport. Alternative to train or bus. Book cheap door to door private minibus.
Many of the sights of the city are situated around or on Žižkovo náměstí (Žižkovo Square). On the west side of the square is the Hussite Movement Museum (website: www.husitskemuzeum.cz). The previous town hall, from late-Gothic times, now records the movement which gave Tábor a place in history and placed it on the map. At the front of this building lies the stone tables that Hussite ministers used to give communion each day. Going out from the museum entrance, turning and twisting for 650 metres (2133 feet) beneath the square, lies a network of tunnels (Undeground Passages) dating back to the fifteenth century. After visiting the museum, go on one of the guided tours, which snake through the underground maze. This has housed all things from kegs of beer to females imprisoned for such appalling crimes as arguing with men. These tunnels also served as a method of sneaking beneath enemy lines if the town was ever overthrown, permitting the Hussite army to initiate an attack from the rear. Museum admission is 60 CZK for adults and 40 CZK for seniors over 65 and children. Opening times are April-October, each day 09:00 to 17:00, and November-March, Wednesday-Saturday, 09:00 to 17:00.
Once you come out of the tunnels, you will be on the opposing area of the square, looking out onto the ‘Transfiguration of Our Lord’ Church, with its’ impressive, vaulted, stained-glassed windows and Gothic-style altar made from wood. Scale the tower for 1 of the top views of the area. This is open each day from 10:00 to 17:00 May to August, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 17:00 in October and September. The admission price is 40 CZK.
You could pay homage to Jan Žižka, the military mastermind of the Hussites, at his statue adjacent to the church. An enchanting array of buildings from Renaissance times, walk down Pražská ulice on the square’s south-eastern corner. From there, you can head down Divadelní and go alongside the River Lužnice towards Kotnov Castle. Should your feet not be up to the journey, you could take a more direct trip to Kotnov by going right down Klokotská ulice, which runs out of the square adjacent to the Museum of the Hussites.
A fourteenth-century castle that makes up the southwestern corner of the town’s wall, Kotnov Castle, is renowned for its’ circular tower, with another excellent town view. In the castle lies a well-maintained collection from the Middle Ages, such as old farming equipment, armour, weaponry, uniforms, along other artefacts. The admission charge is 50 CZK, and it is open from April-September each day from 08:30-17:00.
Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord
Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord is found on the north side of the square, a church built between 1440 and 1512. It is known for its fantastic architecture and also provides amazing views over Tábor. Entry is 40 CZK (30 CZK for concessions), and it is open daily from 10 am until 5 pm from April to August. In September and October, it is only open on weekends.
Very close to the Kotnov Tower, housed in the Bechyně Gate, you will notice a small museum. On show is an exhibition of ‘Life & Work in Medieval Society’. Admission: 40 CZK. Open: 8.30am-5pm May-Sep.
One of the first things to say about Tábor is that, although it is a large town, it is particularly lacking in good places to eat and places to stay, probably due to the fact that it is not really on the tourist trail. It is usually best to eat at the hotel here, which is unusual for most places in the Czech Republic.
Information for Tourists
Adjacent to the Museum of the Hussites, the Infocentrum města Tábor, Žižkovo nám Two, 390-01 Tábor (www.tabor.eu), is packed with all types of information: from the film, postcards and maps to guidance about restaurants, lodging and the best venues for ice-cream. The staff at the centre have countless telephone numbers, pamphlets and helpful advice. It is open May-Sep, Mon-Fri from 08:30-19:00; Saturdays and Sundays from 09:00-16:00; and Oct-Apr, Mon-Fri from 09:00-16:00.
Getting Your Bearings
The Old Town (Staré Město) is located around Žižkovo náměstí, the site of the Hussite Museum and the town church. Medieval walls circle the entire core of the Old Town. Kotnov Castle, now among the museums of the town, is situated on the southwest corner. Away from this historical town, Tábor does not have much else to see, aside from factories and the ever-present apartment buildings (paneláky), which border virtually all big Czech towns and cities.
If you are driving, depart Prague via the D1 Highway and turn off when you see the signs BENEŠOV, ČESKÉ BUDĚJOVICE, on the E55 exit. The E55 goes right into Tábor city and is a 60-minute drive. Once you are in Tábor, it can be difficult to park. Try to reserve a paid position alongside the street once you get to the centre.
Tábor is approximately 1 ½ hour via express train out of Prague, or almost 1 hour out of České Budějovice. Its’ train station enforces baggage checks, and you can reach the town centre by catching bus numbers eleven, fourteen or thirty-one. Out of Prague, the fares are 210 CZK 1st class and 140 CZK 2nd class.
The journey to Tábor on the bus is around 1 ½ hour out of Prague in duration and costs 93 CZK. To reach the centre, it is roughly a twenty-minute stroll. Head across the park, and then turn right at the furthest corner to stroll through třída nine, května into the town.