The Search For Mystery In Tetin
We usually connect mystery with the expectation of someting beautiful, interesting, surprising, therefore with an imagination whose important value is beauty, often hidden, to which we are looking forward.
Therefore it is not by chance that I have chosen that magical and tempting word for my invitation to a stroll throught a place most memorable from the historical point of view and most enchanting as far as beautiful landscape is concerned.
The stroll begins right now and the place it leads us to is Tetin, a beautiful village on a rocky cliff above the Berounka river, distant some 20 miles to the west of Prague. Situated among woods and seemingly protected by a hill named Damil, also known for heathen goddess Limba, it used to be, and has remained ever since, a jewel with a particularly spiritual atmosphere.
A colony was founded in the Tetin locality already by the Celts (also known as Kelts) and the Slaves, but it became known especially since the presence of first Christians, Borivoj and Ludmila. Right here in Tetin was written one of the most interesting chapters of the early Christianity in connection with the Premyslid dynasty, of which the best known for her relation to Tetin is St. Ludmila, its founder. She was the wife of the knight Borivoj, mother of the Czech knights, Spytihnev and Vratislav, and tutoress of her two grandsons, Vaclav, the future duke of the Czech lands, and the prince Boleslav.
The spiritual richness of Tetin is proven by the fact that until the 18th century it had 5 places of worship, namely the churches of St. John Nepomucky, St. Caterine (probably the oldest), St. Ludmila and St. Archangel Michael, and a Jewish synagogue. The first three have been preserved until the present time.
Another special chapter of the Tetin history were three castels, two owned by princes and one of the Premyslid clan. Probably the best known, although not historically proven, was the seat of the heathen princess Tetka (712 AC), the second born daughter of prince Krok. The name of Tetin comes from her name.
The second princely castle was a fortified place founded towards the end of the 9th century by prince Spytihnev. Its central part was situated to the east of the common of the present village and occupied a considerable part of the same. It was built on approx. 10 ha/abbr. of hectare, 1 ha being 2.47 acres).
The third castle belonged to the Premyslid dynasty. It was founded at the beginning of the 14th century either by king Wnceslaus II or by the castle´s first possessor, member of the Premyslid clan, named Stephen hailing from Tetin, nephew of Jan, provost of Vysehrad. Besides Tetin, Stephen possessed also a number of villages in the Podbrdy region. In Prague he founded two chapels, St. Philip´s and St. jakob´s. Considering the situation in those times he was a feudal lord well educated, qualified and esteemed. The castle had probably been destroyed by the Prague combattants during the siege of the Karlstejn castle (yar 1422). Only the remnants of the entry tower remain to the present day.
Moreover, Tetin has also a manor-house dating from the 18th century. In 1998 the local Communal Office installed a clock on it. Every hour it chimes a part of a popular song "Over the Berounka under Tetin." The mansion used to be, especially during the 19th century, a meeting place of the foremost representatives of the Czech cultural, spiritual as well as political life. Just to name some of them: Josef Jungmann, Josef Dobrovsky, Frant. Ladislav Celakovsky (his daughter Marie was being tutored for some time at the Tetin manor-house), Jos. Krasoslav Chmelensky, Jos. Vorel and others. In 1821 the writer and linguist prof. Vaclav Vojacek was born there (he compiled the large Latin-Czech-German Dictionary).
Also Vaclav Hajek of Libocany, at that time the dean of karlstejn, wrote his well known chronicle during the years 1527 - 1533 there. Two poems about Tetin were written by Jaroslav Seifert, the Nobel prize winner and foremost Czech painters presented it in their works, e.g. Mikolas Ales, V. Rabas, K. Panuska, V. Spala, J. Hellich and others. Karel Hasler, the beloved song writer composed among about Tetin during his several weeks´ stay there.
An important role in the development of clerical and spiritual life had for several centuries been the Tetin pilgrimages. They had been, and hopefully also will stay a part of the historical folklore of Tetin and a motivation of people to visit the locality. Sometimes it is mentioned that they were known already in the times following the assassination of St. Ludmila. The pilgrimages were one of significant manifestations of the rise of the cult of this saint. With various intervals they survived for centuries, with the exception of e.g.the Hussite wars, the reforms of the Emperor Joseph II and the two world wars. We are now beginning to follow up with this tradition, often attended by exponents of clerical, cultural and even political life together with thousands of faithful pilgrims. The national pilgrimage of St. Ludmila organized on September 19, 1992 on the occasion of the Decade of Spiritual Renewal after the reconstruction of the church of St. Ludmila can be considered a continuation of these traditions. The pulgrimage to Tetin takes place every year on the day of St. John Nepomucky, i.e. On May 16, and also as a commemoration of St. Ludmila´s martyrdom on September 16 (the princess Ludmila was murdered by assassins hired by her daughter in low Drahomira on September 16, 921).
Tetin still remains an extraordinary and noteworthy locality. There are not many places that from the point of view of the number of their monuments can document their past with five churches, three castels and a manor-house, but Tetin also had a brewery (the building is still standing), a mill and a brick-work. It has a unique flora and fauna, since 1974 it is a protected environmental area. The so called "Turkish stables" are still sometimes mentioned worlwide. >From the archeologic researches there is results that the whereabouts of Tetin were already frequented by people of the older stone age. (The stables are not accessible nowadays). To Tetin belongs also the natural reservations Koda, one of the most beautiful and precious places of the Czech Karst.
In spite of numerous discoveries and knowledge of research scholars, Tetin still can be ranged among the places imbued in many mysteries yet undisclosed. Among such is e.g. The mode in which Princess Ludmila was murdered. There are many legends emanating from the castle of the princess Tetka, many unknown facts are probably still hidden in the Premyslid castle, only partly archeologically exploited, as well as more exact timing of the construction of the churches. But even the degree of the present historical knowledge and the beautiful romantic nature offer manifold pleasure from the experiance and knowledge. And moreover those mysteries still hidden can be accepted as factors which underline the attractiveness and uniqueness of this enchanting part of central Bohemia.Jana Brajerová
Translated by Charles Opatrny
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