Zacharias of Hradec

born on 1526 or 1527 in Jindřichův Hradec died on 4 February 1589 in Telč a Renaissance nobleman, the master of Telč

Following the premature death of his father Adam I of Hradec, Zachariáš, together with his brother Jáchym were declared in 1549 major (in their 23 or 22 years respectively), and in the next year Zachariáš took over his part of the paternal heritage (the towns of Telč and Slavonice, and the villages of Kunžak, Strmilov and Rozkoš). In 1551 he took part in the trip of Czech noblemen to Italy to welcome there the elected Czech king Maximilian II.. After that he kept permanent residence in Telč from where he also carried out his public offices: the Assistant Judge of the Moravian Provincial Court (118-67), the supreme chamberlain (1573-87), the provincial captain (1567-73) and vice-captain (1573 and 1580-88).

In 1553 he married Kateřina of Wallenstein, and through her dowry he acquired the villages of Polná, Přibyslav, Ronov and Borová. After her death in 1571 he married his second wife Anna of Šlejnice. From his first marriage he had son Menhart (who died as early as 1579) and from his second marriage daughter Kateřina, later married to the nobleman Ladislav Berka of Dubé. Due to his illness Zachariáš had to abandon his offices in 1573 and died, after great suffering, in 1589.

However, even before his death he could already see the fruits of his efforts, especially in the town of Telč and its environs. He succeeded in improving the economy to a high contemporary standard (creating lakes for market fishing, construction of farmyards, reclamation of the soil, central administration carried out by carefully chosen qualified officials and specialists) without worsening the living conditions of the population. In fact the duties of the serfs were rather reasonable under Zachariáš’s rule. He also moved the antiquated and non-functional “hospital” from the centre of the town to the Old Town where he created a rather up-to-date hospice for elderly people.

The solid economic situation enabled the extraordinary artistic and especially architectural development of the town (completing the Renaissance reconstruction of the castle, including the splendid interiors and furniture, the ongoing reconstruction of Telč square with first Renaissance gables, mostly on houses of the officials or builders). It is largely thanks to Zachariáš’s activities that at the end of the 20th century Telč became listed on the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage.

Bubliography: BERINGER, JANOUŠEK: The Town and the Estates, Telč 1891, pp. 17-19 TIRAY: Moravian Geography: The District of Telč, Brno 1913, pp. 106-112)
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