Czech Dreams 2024
The Town of Hodonín lies in the landscape of the south-eastern part of Moravia, in the Slovácko natural tourism region. The region is known to its admirers as a fertile area of high quality wine, folklore and distinctive folk dances and songs. Its unique atmosphere includes wine tourism, cycle and hiking trails, historical and cultural monuments, but also a number of folklore events and festivals. The largest regular cultural events in Hodonín include the Saint Lawrence Celebrations in August and the Wine Festival in mid-September. The town lies on the River Morava, which forms the border with the Slovak Republic. With its 25 thousand citizens, it is one of the largest towns in this region. The originally industrial town is becoming a tourism centre with the attributes of a “spa town” and a “university town”. Hodonín is the birthplace of the first Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The town is an active member of the National Network of Healthy Towns of the Czech Republic.
The history of Hodonín is closely associated with the water castle of the same name which was built by the Czech Prince Břetislav I (1035 - 1055) as part of the border protection system. The settlements arising under the castle became the foundations for the later town. The first written mention of the confirmation of the town’s privileges dates from 1228 from Queen Constance of Hungary, the wife of the Czech King Přemysl Otakar I, and Hodonín thus became one of the oldest Moravian towns. During the reign of the House of Přemyslid and Luxembourg, Hodonín played a significant role in the diplomatic negotiations of Czech sovereigns. In 1762, when the entire Hodonín estate was purchased by Emperor Franz Stefan von Lothringen, the husband of Empress Maria Theresa, it became part of the imperial estate. It remained the property of the imperial family up until the establishment of the First Republic in 1918. Since the mid 19th century, sugar mills and brickworks, a malt-house, a foundry, a tannery, a plywood and veneer plant, a dairy and a fruit and fish canning plant were established alongside the tobacco factory. The extraction of lignite, oil and natural gas also began in the town. At that time, the construction of the Northern Ferdinand Railway positively influenced the town’s industrial development. After the Second World War, there was a sharp increase in heavy industry and power engineering. A hydroelectric and a coal-fire power station were built in the town.
The historic centre of Hodonín is Masaryk Square with the baroque church of St. Lawrence and the town hall in the style of the Nuremburg secession with a restaurant and lookout tower, which is usually accessible during the touristic season from May till September. The Masaryk Museum with its unique exhibition dedicated to the Hodonín native T. G. Masaryk is located in the château. The listed House of Artists (Dům umělců) dating from 1911 – 1913 combines and merges elements of local folk architecture and the secession style and it is home to the Art Galley with a permanent exhibition of Czech painting and sculpture of the 20th century. Visitors to the spa town are attracted by the unique exhibition in the Museum of Oil Extraction and Geology or by the park-like Jewish cemetery. The Hodonín Zoological Gardens breeds about 450 domestic and exotic animals from more than 150 species. The pavilion of exotic birds, the pavilion of primates and monkeys, the sea world exhibition and also the newest educational centre with enclosures for the big cats are all worth a visit. The “U Jezu” wharf offers sightseeing cruises on the double-decker ship, the Konstancie, along the River Morava, on the prettiest section of the river with its unspoilt nature and through the river’s meanders, but also along part of the Baťa Canal. There are a number of attractive hiking destinations and cycle trails in the environs. The Hodonín Spa, one of the youngest spa complexes in the republic, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the commencement of its operations this year. The modern spa complex in the middle of a picturesque park was established upon the basis of the curatively efficacious iodobromite water, which is among the best quality water of its type in Europe. The spa treats disorders of the joints and muscles and the circulation. A walk through the spa park decorated with numerous statues will provide a pleasant experience not only for spa guests.