Return of the Josefov

 

Before I begin posting updates from San Francisco I’ve one more Czech based post to write. If you’re a regular reader you’ll remember last Summer we paid a flying visit to the fortress town of Josefov. We had a look around the tunnel network underneath the town and drove through the main square area. It was part of a lovely adventure day which took in Kuks as well as nearby zoo (Which I still have to edit the photos from).

I really liked the look of the place and planned on returning again. So one lazy Sunday a little while ago I randomly decided, right that’s it, i’m going to go back to Josefov and check it out a little more. Handily enough there’s a train that stops in the town of Jaromer, which is a short stroll across the Labe.

So yeah I totally could have hired a kayak and rowed by way up here from Pardubice but the train was more convenient, although kayaking down/up the Labe sure sounds fun! Aaaaanyhoo so I got on the train heading to Jaromer, via Hradec Kralove and it took about 40 mins or so to get there.

From  the station it’s about a 10-15 minute walk to the fortress, over the Labe and then the smaller Metuje river to get into the town. Being a Sunday, everywhere was closed and the place was a bit of a ghost town (great planning there James), but I wasn’t there for shopping or for lunch. I was interested in the architecture of the place, the unique layout of the streets, the fortifications and the crumbling textures of the buildings.

And crumbly they were indeed in many places, the signature orange-mustard yellow paint of the town, falling apart in whole chunks on some buildings. If you’re a texturesexual (I’m sure there’s a market for it out there somewhere) you’ll be in your element in Josefov. The crumbliest of crumbliness awaits you throughout Josefov and it adds to the charm and lived in feeling of the place. It feels like a town that had a glorious past of revolution and war, holding off army after army, and then….was simply….forgotten. The format of war changed and there was no longer a need for such large fortifications, one plane could cause more damage than a whole army could.

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Like a game of snake, the pipelines that worm their way across the countryside can be a bit of an eyesore. I quite like them though, man made but with an organic air to them.
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Old and abandoned carriages litter the sidelines around Jaromer train station.
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There’s still a lit of factory buildings and industry in the town.
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Ooops looks like someone forgot to take the Christmas wreath off the door.
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The entrance to the fortress of Josefov.
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Strands of a tree hang down into the Labe sucking up its moisture.
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The fortifications run right down to the banks of the Labe. They thought of everything these lads.
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Much of the land around the outside of the fortress walls has been taken over by gardeners and allotments.
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The smaller Metuje river is a tributary of the Labe and its mouth is found at Jaromer.
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Making my way up the path towards the fortress town of Josefov.
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Continuing to make my way up the path into the town. Don’t worry i’m not going to do a photo update every 5 feet.
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One of the more looked after buildings as you enter Josefov.
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When they were bored, the soldiers inside the town could play giant games of chess on the footpath*
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A token of affection in one of the windows. I visited shortly after Valentine’s Day.
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The exposed mechanism of the fountain in the main square.
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Detail of the central fountain.
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It’s hard work holding up that big bowl.
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The front of the Empire Church build in the early 1800’s.
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Mmmmm crumbly.
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The side of the Empire Church has a nice little shaded grove.
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A small Obelisk outside the church.
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The clock tower at the far end of the Empire Church.
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The quaint little tree lined area around the church.
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A lot of the buildings in Jaromer lie empty, or else these people really don’t give a crap about drafts.
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All around the town, the paint is slowly falling off the walls. Well no actually, i’m sure it falls over pretty quickly in chunks.
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Another angle of the back of the church, human for scale.
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The crumbling facade adds to that charming lived in feeling. That’s what I’d tell potential buyers anyway.
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Given my absolutely minimal and last minute planning for this trip, I only had about an hour or two of daylight to explore the area.
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Stairway to Heaven….well into the church at least…close enough right?
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Another building exposing itself, the dirty hussy!
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I can’t resist a nice door and this one certainly has plenty of character.
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This was perhaps a former storage area, now fallen into disrepair. Again to the prospective buyer, it has oodles of charm and just screams Pizzeria…..right? right? Work with me here people.
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Rush hour in Josefov, the place really is eerily quiet.
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Josefov’s very own Rorschach test. 
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Another fixer-upper in the heart of the town.
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Texture fetishists rejoice!
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Might need a lick of paint here and there.
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Such crumbly goodness.
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Step onto top floor balcony at your own risk.
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Oh no, I’ve entered the territory of the infamous fishermen gangsters, time to turn around and make a quick getaway before i’m spotted and they.*puts on sunglasses CSI Miami style*….lure me in. WAAAAAAAAAH!
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Seriously cool buildings, so much history in the walls.
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Probably my favourite shot from the trip, like something out of Les Miserables.
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Saw this VERY sun aged poster in a local shop window, couldn’t resist a spot of cheeky photoshopping. Sorry Shia……
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Nature taking its shit back, nature don’t care for your walls.
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The new bulletproof Velux window blinds, stylish AND functional. Order yours today by calling 1800 CANT SHOOT ME
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Textures galore, a graphic designer/stock photographer’s dream.
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The peeling paint on metal door texture, very popular.
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Some of the patterns looked more like mould or fungus.
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This looks a bit like a muddy pathway, but nope, it’s more sexy peely door paint texture.
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This bench was made by the very talented Eileen Dover.

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There’s examples of this kind of structure all over the world, and they’re fascinating places to walk around. You can picture what it was like in its heyday, with generals in their perfectly tailored and faultless attire commanding their troops against the baying armies outside the walls. But now they’re just buildings, sadly left in a state of disrepair, no longer needed for their primary purpose. In a way it’s good as the tools and structures of war should never be celebrated, but at the same time, the horrors of war shouldn’t be forgotten either.

*probably not true


2 thoughts on “Return of the Josefov

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