Sunday, August 12, 2012

Plague Column, Telč, Czech Republic

The Plague Column in Telč is a nice example of the type of medieval architecture that is scattered all across the southern part of the Czech Republic.  Telč is a beautiful town, with  a picture-perfect town square, a local museum, great restaurants and a dramatic history.  The town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and as such deserves a visit if you are nearby. For a bonus, name a UNESCO World Heritage site you'd like to visit.

The town square is flanked by beautiful pastel Renaissance and Baroque buildings, and there is a large chateau at one end.  It is in Telč that one really starts to understand the culture clash between the Soviets and the Czechs during the Cold War.  They were from the same planet, but entirely different worlds.  The Czechs celebrated art and architecture in  a way the Soviets could never connect with, and the entire southern Czech Republic is dotted with many towns which are almost as picturesque.  

It is easy for us to forget just how devastating the Black Plague was to Europe.  Nothing really compares to it in modern memory, in that anywhere from 30-60% of Europe's entire population was wiped out during one or the other of the plagues that swept through Europe, probably originating in the Orient and transmitted via rats and their fleas to Europe via the Silk Road.  

The connection between the last question and this one?  Yersinia pestis, the etiologic agent of the bubonic plague, is also one of the organisms which causes a sporotrichoid spread.   

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