We overslept! What a surprise after all activities we experienced in the previous day. But luckily for us the pleasure cruise on Bata canal, we had booked in advance, started at 11AM. Have your heard before the name Bata? No? And what about the international Bata shoe company? For those who knows the company could be a surprise that the founder of the company was a Czech entrepreneur Tomas Bata.
He founded the company in Zlin town in 1894 and before his death in 1932, he already had established several factories in India, France, the UK or in the USA. His son and the heir of the family enterprise moved to Canada in 1939. He set up a community around the factory in Ontario bearing the name Batawa which still exists.
But back to Bata canal. Tomáš Baťa is considered to be a very progressive businessman at the time with many dreams. One of his dream was to construct a canal on the river Morava initially to transfer lignite from mine in Ratiskovice to Otorkovice power plant. Both owned by Bata company. Another function of the canal was to regulate the Morava river to prevent of destructive flooding. The canal was constructed in the years of 1934-1938 in the total length of 51 km of which 24 km is artificial canal while the 27 km fall to the Morava river. It has total 33 bridges and 14 canal locks.
This canal was supposed to be later a part of the Danube-Order waterway. But until these days this dream was not still achieved and exists only partially.
Since 1995 the canal has been serving for recreational purposes only and has became one of the most popular attraction of the region. People come here to spend their vacation or for a weekend break to cruise the river and get to know the history of the canal, to admire technical infrastructure and surrounding nature. You can rent here boats and you do not need any special driving license. The staff of the renting company will provide you with a brief acquainting instruction for riding a boat. Or if you don’t feel for riding boat you can take one of many offered organized cruises on the river on bigger boats accompanied by guides. What drawn my attention is the possibility to rent a houseboat, equipped with kitchen corner, beds, toilet and bathroom which enable you to experience a whole 60 km length of Bata canal from Otrokovice to Skalica in Slovakia. Again you would be a captain of the houseboat. For bike lovers, there is a bike trail along the canal and its surroundings. Regular public cruises are suited for transferring people with their bikes too.
After an hour of the pleasure cruise on Bata canal we got on our way back to Brno with the last necessary stop in the vicinity Mikulčice village. The site of our interest was the Archeopark Mikulčice which introduces people the early history of Slavs who settled in the region during the 8th century and later founded The Great Moravian Empire. Mikulčice Valy, due it its extension is considered to be a capital town of the Empire although there is no written proof of it.
Tour in the archeopark is possible with a guide every one and half hour or it can be visited individually but in this case, you are not allowed to enter the Exhibition pavilion. Upon our arrival, there was already ongoing tour with a guide we were allowed to join. The guide first introduces you the history of the Great Moravia Empire which even though lasted for 70 years in the 9th century, it was fully recognized by that time known world. The ruling princes were successful in establishing independent ecclesiastical institution headed by Archbishops. First Archbishop was St Method who together with his brother Constantine arrived to the Great Moravia in 863 on the request of the Prince Rastislav. They main task was to convert pagans to Christianity and to educate and ordain new priests. To fulfill this task, they even invented Glagolitic script which is the oldest known Slavic alphabet, not in used today. To succesfully complete their task they even conducted Masses in Slavic language.
After brief introduction the Great Moravia we continued to the site of the Acropolis where is installed an Exhibition pavilion built over the 2nd church. The door to the Exhibition bears an inscription in Glagolitic script which is a quotation from the Holy Bible. When you enter the pavilion, you see the foundations of the 2nd Church discovered during archaeological research conducted from 1950s. In the foundations are placed body skeletons of men and one woman which were buried in the church. The church was surrounded by 200 graves. In the Pavilion are on display different objects of everyday use discovered during the research. After watching a short movie which explains you the construction of discovered churches in the area you leave the pavilion and explore the whole 10 ha area on your own.
I was surprised when I learned that in the settlement are found together 12 stone-built churches of which foundations are spreading over the whole area and more than 2000 graves. To each church lead a trail equipped with an information board. The atmosphere of the complex is very magical and peaceful. I think it mainly due to ist location in the forest meadows. I must say Slavs knew where to settle down 🙂
The composed archeology park of Mikulčice tries to achieve to be recorded on the List of world cultural heritage UNESCO.
My personal recommendations for visiting Slovácko (the Moravian Slovakia):
- it is just one hour driving from Brno, so you can do a day trip on your own and with me 🙂
- for overnight stay I recommend hotel Pod Věží in Strážnice town
- to rent a bike contact hotel Strážnice
- to take a cruise on Bata canal contact Bata canal company
- to rent houseboat contact Bata cana company
- to choose a bike trail try this site