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Chosen articles 09.12.2013
The Terezín Memorial
The town of Terezin was founded by Emperor Josef II late in the 18th century. Built as a military fort, it is made up of three parts; the main fortress, the small fortress and two water gates. The main fortress is combined with the garrison town. The garrison town is built as any other town, with a town square and church that was established in the 19th century. The fort itself is still in its great condition. Close to 90% of the structure that is seen on the military compound is original and unbroken. It consists of a bastion system that is flawless, thanks to 300 years of architectural students practicing on it.
During WWII, the town was transformed into a concentration camp to hold Jews from all corners of Europe. The smaller of the two fortresses was used by the Gestapos of Prague as a prison. Between the years of 1941 and 1945, Terezin was considered the largest concentration camp in what was then called Czechoslovakia. It is estimated that over 140,000 Jews of all ages and from many nations found themselves there. Those who managed to make it through the slavery, starvation and horrid conditions in which they lived, later found themselves on their way to extermination camps. It was in 1947 that Terezin became a memorial.
The Terezin Memorial complex is actually within the smaller fortress on the military fort. It is open to the public for tours that last approximately 5 hours. The full price of the tour is 1100CZK. There are reduced rates for children (ages 4-12) for 900CZK and for students (age 12-26) at 1000CZK. There is no food that can be purchased on this tour but they do allow time for tourists to enjoy snacks that they bring along themselves.
The hours of operation of the Terezin Memorial are relatively the same, year round. The schedule is as follows;
Summer Season: Open every day, except for Tuesdays and Thursdays. The tour begins at Old Town Square at 9:15
Winter Season: Open every day, except for Tuesdays and Thursdays. The tour begins at Old Town Square at 9:15. There are no tours conducted from Dec. 24th – Dec. 26th or on Jan.1st.
Getting to Terezin from Prague on one’s own is really easy. The bus that leaves from Prague’s Florenc Station travels directly there in an hour. When tours are booked or reserved in advance, there are two options to choose from. There are no separate fees for booking a tour or making reservations. There is a bus that departs from “Staromestske namesti” in Old Town and another that leaves from “Namesti Republiky” in Republic Square. The point of departure for a particular tour is given in detail when confirmation of the booking is sent.
As you can see, the Czech Republic is full of history. Along with its tales of royalty and riches, it also remembers the pain and suffering as well. This “Special Interest” tour is worth spending the recommended amount of time, which is 3-5 hours. A day at the Tezerin Memorial is sure to be educational, if not anything else.
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