overcast
Tu 22.10.
11/13°
cloudy
We 23.10.
12/16°
almost clear
Th 24.10.
10/18°

Písek - Sightseeing

A stroll through the city

Putim Gate

We now return along Podskalí Street to the fortification walls, then we turn past the bastion tower onto Fráňa Šrámek Street. Crossing above the fortification moat, we come to where Putim Gate stood until 1836. The gate no longer exists, but it has been immortalized in a Czech folk song.

There is a folk song about Putim Gate in which a student sings about "two maidens watching" him from behind. Few know that there are actually two maidens near Putim Gate in Písek today. These are (unfortunately) not real ladies, but stone reliefs of two heads on the wall of a house near the stone steps. The reliefs are actually younger than the song, which means that an unknown sculptor drew inspiration from the folk song and not the other way around...

It stood between houses No. 131 and 132 and was one of three city gates (the other two were the Prague Gate, also known as the Lower Gate, and Budějovice Gate). Putim Gate was the first of them to be demolished. The gates were demolished because they hindered traffic into the city centre.

House At the Cannonball

During the demolition, several cannonballs were discovered from the many times when Písek was besieged and bombarded. The cannonballs were then inserted into the facades of the adjacent house, which was then aptly named "At the Cannonball", or "U Koulí". This house, now serving as the Otakar Ševčík Elementary Art School (there is a monument to the violinist in the house's courtyard), has a rich literary history. The house has served as a residence to writer Josef Holeček, and poet Adolf Heyduk, and the poet and writer Fráňa Šrámek spent his childhood and youth here. Valuable Renaissance sgraffito was recently discovered and restored on the façade of the house "U Koulí".

House Sign

From Fráňa Šrámek Street we turn left onto Drlíčov Street which leads us to the city's dominant feature, the Deanery Church of the Birth of the Virgin Mary. Along the way, though, be sure to notice the interesting façades of the burgher house "At the Silver Denarii" bearing the coats of arms of the five cities of the Prácheň region: Strakonice, Blatná, Písek, Vodňany, and Sušice. The decorations come from 1940 and also include a panoramic view onto Písek and a simple map of the city centre. A bit closer to the church, we find the house "At the White Lamb", named after the house sign on its Baroque façade.

There are many more houses in Písek with interesting house signs. These come from when the houses weren't marked by numbers (before 1770), but by the names of their owners or by individual symbols. One of the nicest and most important of them is the symbol of the sailboat (At the Golden Ship which we saw when we viewed the town square) and the relief of the elephant (At the Elephant, across from the old bridge).