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Slavkov u Brna - Austerlitz

The picturesque town, which entered history especially as the location of the Battle of the Three Emperors in 1805, is situated twenty kilometres east of Brno in a wide valley of the Litava River. Rising in the south are the foothills of the Zdanicky Forest, in the north stretch the Drahanska Highlands. Austerlitz near Brno offers its visitors not only a rich variety of cultural, social and sporting activities, but also a number of significant historical sites. Standing out among them is above all the Baroque chateau; situated on the square are the Classicist church of the Resurrection of the Lord, Renaissance Town Hall and Manor. The local Jewish monuments and the church of St. John the Baptist are also very captivating. We also should not forget about the chapel of St. Urbanus, situated north of the town on the hill called "Urban".

 

The history
The settlement was founded on the crossroads of the trade routes, leading from Brno towards Bucovice, Hodonin and Vyskov. The first mention about the village dates back to 1237, when it was registered under the name of "Novosedlice" as a property of the German Knights Order. The German version of this name "Neusterlitz" afterwards gave the base for the later German name of the town "Austerlitz". Under this name Austerlitz is known today around the whole world especially due to the history of the Napoleonic wars.

In Austerlitz the German Knights built the fortified order commendam, which with its farming background was among the richest farms of this Order in the Bohemian Kingdom. A huge building of a rectangular ground-plan, fortified by four towers, was after the decay of the Order passed into secular hands. In 1416 Austerlitz gained its town seal and coat of arms, which is today the oldest preserved coat of arms privilege in the Czech Republic. In 1509 the Austerlitz estate became the property of the Kounic family, who contributed to the development of the town as well as building the local chateau, a dominant feature of Austerlitz.

The present
Austerlitz has a population of almost 6,000 inhabitants; the average altitude is 210 metres above sea level. The face of the town is up to the present day considerably enhanced by the axial alleys, which sensitively blend the town estate into the surrounding countryside. In 1990 the historic town centre was declared an urban preservation zone. The town also plays an active role as a member of the Politavi and Zdanicky Forest micro-region.

Thanks to a sophisticated urban plan the southern industrial part of Austerlitz is spread along the main traffic routes - railway Brno - Veseli nad Moravou and the road I/50. In contrast, the northern part is mainly the residential part of the town and blends into the green area, composed of the chateau park complex, golf course and the garden area called Vinohrady.

Napoleon's Day
Every year around August 15th for the anniversary of Napoleon's birthday grand summer celebrations with a rich programme are held in the Austerlitz chateau complex, which will certainly satisfy visitors of all ages. As the colourful fair common as well as unusual items are sold, children can enjoy fairytale theatre performances and jumping inflated castle, big and small will have fun at the fashion show of historic costumes. The history comes to life in the chateau premises, where tours in costumes are held. The event also includes exhibitions and exposition, in the chateau park a programme with Napoleons soldiers takes place. The traditional finale of the Napoleon's Day is the Chateau jamboree in the chateau courtyard, crowned by the fireworks show.

Commemorative events to the Battle of Austerlitz
Every year hundreds and thousands of military history fans visit the place where on the 2nd December 1805 one of the biggest battles of the Napoleonic wars - the Battle of Austerlitz took place. At the beginning of December pious and commemorative events together with mock-battles take place at various locations starting from Austerlitz, through to the Peace Memorial Mohyla Miru and up to Santon and Zuran. Not only a large number of spectators, but also enthusiasts dressed in historical uniforms come here. A several days long programme on the Austerlitz battleground starts with the festive parades of soldiers. The atmosphere and colours of historic uniforms are accompanied by the pious acts held at several momentous places. Fans of military history together with admirers of historical weapons and uniforms regularly take part in the mock-battles below Santon hillock by Tvarozna.

Held regularly in Austerlitz within the framework of the commemorative events is the trade fair with accompanying programme. There are performances of the fair theatre and historic music is played, the grand finale of the programme is the evening parade of soldiers in historic uniforms and a fireworks display.

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