Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Grapes of Drazic and Basilisk of Vrazda

Benatky nad Jizera lies approximately 30km northeast of Prague on important trade routes crossing east and west in an area that was settled by Celts in pre-Christian times. The first mention of it appears around 1052 as the town, Obodr. In 1356, Jan of Drazice applied to build a town with a monastery at the crest of the hill. The church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary was built in 1349 adjacent to the new found monastery. The village of Drazice is within walking distance from Benatky where ruins from the ancient castle can be found.

The Benatky arms include two shields bearing three golden grapeleaves on a blue background, representing the Drazic heraldry. The Drazic nobility provided at least three Bishops of Prague and the first Archbishop of Prague.

Jan 1 Bishop of Prague 1134-1139
Jan II of Drazice 1227-1236 bishophry
Jan III of Drazice 1258-1278 bishophry
Jan IV of Drazice 1301-1345 bishophry

The Drazic arms can be seen on the Bishop's House in Prague, located on Drazicke Square on the left side of Charles Bridge in Malostrana. The Bishop's House was established as the original bishop's palace in Prague. Later Charles IV established the Archbishophry at St Vitus at the castle.

Other associations to the Drazic family include the development Cesky Brod. Under Jan I, Bishop of Prague, a marketplace was established by the church of St Gothard and a town called Biskupsky Brod, established under Jan III in 1268. The name was altered to Cesky Brod in 1315 during the occupation of the Romovs.

Jan IV of Drazic knew Pope Boniface VIII, the last pope before the Avignon Papacy. Where his loyalties lay in the struggle between church and state is not clear since he was also a friend to John of Luxemburg. John I was a strong ally of Philip the Fair who rebelled against the avaricious taxation of the Church in Rome. Philip the Fair made the succeeding pope, Clement V, his vassal and refused to concede to the superiority of the Pope over King. Charles I also maintained his independence from the papal supremacy and appointed the first Archbishop of Prague,who was also a descendent from this family.

After 1385, the Drazic lineage vanished and little can be discovered. During the Hussite Wars, the monastery was destroyed. The area became Hussite territory. In 1526, Friedrich of Drazice, burgrave of Donin moved his residence to Benatky where he built the Italian renaissance palace on the hill over the ruins of the monastery.

The large shield on the Benatky arms displays a castle with a rampant golden basilisk or cockatrice which represents the heraldry of Oldrich of Vrazda from Kunwald. Kunwald became the source for the stream of Hussitism known as the Unitas Fratrum, later called the Moravian Brethern. A certain John of Rokyzana gained permission from George of Podebrady to establish a new community centered with the supremacy of the Bible to Catholic ecclessiastical authority.

Ironically the town that produced three bishops shifted allegiance with a stong following of the Bohemian Brothers ( Church of the Moravian Brotherhood), administered by John Augusta in New Benatky. Brother Lucas, the second leader of the Bohemian Brothers (Unitas Fratrum or Moravian Brothers) died in 1528 to be succeeded by John Augusta who was persecuted by the Spanish Hapsburg Ferdinand I of Austria (1503-1564). Ferdinand I was a staunch Catholic and intolerant of dissenting beliefs in the Bohemian lands. In 1547, the Bohemian Estates rebelled against Ferdinand, in retaliation of his intolerance and brutal dictatorial powers. The combined forces of Charles V and Ferdinand defeated the Estates. Ferdinand imprisoned John Augusta for his leadership in the rebellion in the White Tower of Prague where he was tortured and then transferred with Bilek to Pürglitz where Ferdinand maintained a seat. In 1551, Ferdinand I introduced the Jesuits into the Bohemian lands to enforce rigorous acknowledgement of Catholicism and suppress dissenting beliefs. The Bohemian Brethern and their associates were driven into hiding. In 1561, John Augusta was confronted in debate with the Jesuit, Jindrich Blissem. He was released from prison in 1564 and died in Jungbunzlau.

To get to Benatky
Bus from Florenc, Stand 12 7am, 7:55am, 9:20 am, 12:15pm

pay on bus, approx 45 kc one-way

catch bus at Ceska Sporitelna in Benatky 18:05, 20:40, 21:40
or walk to Lysa to catch the train. 18km train ticket

Museum entrance: 20kc
Offering of postcards and mementos. Small medals range in price from 80kc for the small basilisks and 300kc for a Tycho medallion.

Open Tuesday –Sunday
9:00 – 12:00
a 13:00 – 17:00
Zámek 49, 294 71 Benátky nad Jizerou
Telefon - 326 316 682

Benatky nad Jizerou
Aug 11, 2006 - 32 Photos


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