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St Nicholas' Church
|o Mayor||Jan Grois|
|o Total||65.93 km2 (25.46 sq mi)|
|Elevation||290 m (950 ft)|
|o Density||510/km2 (1,300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
Znojmo (Czech pronunciation: ['znoimo]; German: Znaim) is a major town in the South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic, the administrative capital of the Znojmo District. It has about 34,000 inhabitants. It is the historical and cultural centre of southwestern Moravia and the second most populated town in the South Moravian Region. The historic centre of Znojmo is well preserved and historically significant and is protected by law as urban monument reservation.
The town is situated on a rock outcropping on the steep left bank of the Thaya River, about 55 km (34 mi) southwest of the regional capital Brno. Located near the border with Austria, it is connected to Vienna by railway and road (about 80 minutes).
A fortress at the site possibly already existed during the time of the Great Moravian Empire in the 9th century. From about 1055, Znojmo Castle served as the residence of a P?emyslid principality within the Bohemian March of Moravia and a strategic important outpost near the border with the Bavarian March of Austria in the south. Few years later (1101), Luitpold of Znojmo, Duke of Moravia, established the Ducal Rotunda of the Virgin Mary and St Catherine in this castle, later depicted by unique scene of genealogy Bohemian and Moravian Dukes of the P?emyslid dynasty and the castle was conquered and devastated by Duke Vladislaus II of Bohemia in 1145.
In 1190, Duke Conrad II of Bohemia founded the Premonstratensian Louka Abbey at Znojmo, which became the settlement area of German-speaking immigrants in the course of the medieval Ostsiedlung movement. The royal city of Znojmo was founded shortly before 1226 by King Ottokar I of Bohemia on the plains in front of the reconstructed castle. The town privileges were confirmed by King Rudolf I of Germany in 1278. On 9 December 1437 the Luxembourg emperor Sigismund died at Znojmo and lay in state for three days at the St. Nicholas Church, before his mortal remains were transferred to Oradea in Hungary.
From the 19th Century, Znojmo is best known as the site for the Armistice of Znaim concluded there on 12 July 1809 during the Battle of Znaim, after the decisive 7 days earlier Battle of Wagram, between Emperor Napoleon and the archduke Charles.
From the 20th Century, it is also the (alleged) birthplace of Leopold Loyka, the driver of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand's car when Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo during 1914, an event which triggered the World War I. After the war, it was part of Czechoslovakia, except during the Nazi German occupation between 1938 and 1945 when it was part of Reichsgau Niederdonau. The German Citizens were expelled in 1945 according to the Bene? decrees.
The Gothic Church of St. Nicholas and the Late Gothic Town Hall tower are the most recognizable landmarks. St Nicolas Church was built in 1348 by Emperor Charles IV, and the town hall, with its 75 m (250 ft) tower, dates from around 1446.
Overlooking the Thaya River valley, on the edge of the medieval city, there is Znojmo Castle, dating back to 11th century, founded by P?emyslid dukes. The only remains of the castle used by the P?emysl dukes is the Romanesque Rotunda of Saint Catherine, the interior of which is covered with 11th-century frescoes depicting biblical scenes and illustrating the life of P?emysl.
Under the town and castle is a vast labyrinth of connected passageways and cellars, Znojmo Catacombs, developed in the 14th and 15th century for defensive purposes and containing wells, drainage, fireplaces, trap doors and escapeways that led beyond the fortifications of the town. The catacombs are the largest system of underground corridors and cellars in the Czech Republic - they are almost 27 km long and up to 4 levels deep.
Znojmo is famous for local production of cucumbers, pickled in the original sweet-sour and spicy pickle, whose cultivation in the Znojmo region was introduced in 1571 by Louka monastery Abbot George II, coming from North Bohemian village ?epirohy. The special taste is also the result of local type of cucumbers, cultivation method, soil, climatic conditions, processing and also the packaging in which they are kept. These are also an ingredient of local specialties such as Znojmo roast or Znojmo goulash. Nowadays, the cucumber festivals are held in the town every year.
Thanks to favorable climatic conditions, the town is successful also in winery and fruit growing. It is the center of viticulture of the Znojmo wine-growing sub-region and a destination for nature lovers, mainly thanks to the newly established National Park "Podyjí".