Písek is a picturesque town with the oldest bridge in Central Europe, but also with diverse nature. You can explore ponds and hills around the city, and stop by the medieval chateau Blatná.
Písek City Center
Do you know where you can find the oldest bridge in the Czech Republic? It is not the Charles Bridge in Prague, but the medieval stone bridge in Písek from 13th century. Have a walk over the ancient bridge with statues of saints and imagine the merchant of middle age passing it on the “Gold” trade route across Europe.
My favorite experience was the view from the clock tower connected with the Dean’s Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, the dominant of the city. This 72metres high tower provides a fantastic view of the surrounded hills, ponds, cities, and villages up to the Šumava mountain range. Its original purpose was to guard the city. You can take a tour with an experienced guide who will explain to you the story of the tower with interesting comparisons and take you up to a 210-step wooden staircase alongside four modern bells with a total weight of 3.3 tons.
The world “Písek” literally means “sand.” The river flowing by the town is rich with sand that provided the foundation of the city. Besides its medieval bridge, Písek has another interesting point of history. It is the first Bohemian city with permanent public street lighting.
We were interested in discovering more about the nature surrounding Písek. There is a visible division between West-side being a pond area and East-side being a hilly area.
About 7 km from Písek, there is a significant ornithological locality with protected bird species. You can watch the birds from the wooden lookout tower. The highest number of birds can be seen here during spring and autumn during their migration period.
Battle of Sudoměř
The area around Písek witnessed essential battles between Catholic and Hussite forces. If you are wondering about Hussites, they were the first protestants (not really Martin Luther). As a commemoration of their battle in 1420, you can find this memorial of their leader Jan Žižka.
On the East side of Písek starts a hilly area called Písecké Mountains. You can even have a walk from the city center (around 4 km) to the Jarník lookout tower. It is open to the public all year round and offers excellent views of the mountains and the city of Písek itself.
Not far from Písek, you can find Lety memorial, dedicated to the holocaust of the Roma and Sinti population. During its one-year existence (August 1942 – August 1943), about 1.300 people passed through the camp, and 326 of them died. The original camp was destroyed and changed to the pasture for animals. Today, you can visit the replica of wooden houses where the Roma population was held as well as a memorial on the place of mass graves.
On the way back to Prague, we stopped by the Chateau Blatná. It is one of three water castles in the Czech Republic (the other two are Červená Lhota and Švihov). I appreciated the most the 42-hectare castle park with a large herd of fallow deer freely walking close to visitors. They are very tame and used to interact with people, so you can even carefully approach them.
How to get to Písek
Town of Písek is located on the road connecting Prague with the town of České Budějovice, approximately one hundred kilometers from the capital city and fifty kilometers north from the South Bohemian metropolis.