Třebíč Monastery  

Autor: Marcel Ramdan, student KTF UK v Praze

On the borderland between Brno and Znojmo on the unpopulated land of the River Jihlava the Moravian Přemyslides Oldřich and Litold established a Benedictine monastery “in honour of the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Saint and forever famous Virgin Mary” in 1101.  Given the political situation  they chose as a location for the monastery a border area of the Třebeš domain,  one well protected by forests and a river. Through its extensive foundation they established the largest Benedictine monastery in Moravia of the time, and even in the Middle Ages it was believed that the monastery had been founded by the  Konráds family.

Already in the middle of the 13th century King Přemyslid Ottokar II grants permission to  establish  the Feoffee fortified settlement inspired by the Ministerial settlements of Magdeburg,; fortifications were built under the supervision of the abbot to provide protection for the monastery.  Simultaneously, a monumental Marian basilica, today known as St. Procopius’ Basilica, was finished. In the  1270s the Benedictines founded a colonization town in the vicinity of the monastery on a green field site. The opposite river bank of the Jihlava was chosen for the town. Up until the 14th century the monastery was to grow in power and influence.  

Even though this place was later protected by walls, the construction of which was allowed in 1335 by Margrave Charles, later  Charles IV;  it was still to be a fatal place for the Benedictines. After the Hussite riots that shook up the monastery’s economic base of the monastery, Hungarian troops marched rapidly on Třebíč. In May 1468  Hungarian troops besieged the monastery while inside the monastery walls  was the son of the Czech King, George of Poděbrady: Victor. Consequently Třebíč was to become the fundamental place of the conflict between the Czech King George of Poděbrady and the Hungarian Matthias Corvinus. The monastery was taken  by the Hungarian troops on June 15 in 1468 after Victor’s heroic escape of Victor and the equally heroic defence of the monastery by Václav Vlček of Čenov.

Moravia came under  Hungarian administration, the monastic properties were confiscated by the secular lords, and the monastery was occupied by a military garrison (still in 1478 in a private letter there is mention  of a Hungarian troop presence). The Abbey without economic provision was unable to redeem the pledged property and was itself dependent on the support of  the  lords pledged to. The Benedictines were expelled from Třebíč between 1524 and 1536.

The Osovský family bought the monastery in 1557 and began  its reconstruction into an aristocratic residence.  Other construction works took place under the  Valdštejn family, who administered the manor from 1613. The castle was rebuilt in a baroque style and even the basilica was to  regain its original religious purpose after so many years. We owe a lot to the baroque builder Francis Maximilian Kaňka, invited by the Valdštejns,  for the thoughtful work he carried out on the medieval building .