Houses on the square
The square, lined by picturesque facades and arcades, corresponds approximately to the conditions of the time when the town was founded from the point of view of its extent. Originally the houses were built in the Gothic style with characteristic dimensions (medium width into the square was 9 to 11 yards and the depth of about 33 yards) and with characteristic arrangement of both the ground and first floors which, in spite of numerous reconstruction, have been preserved up to now on most of them: the people passed from the square through a large gate with a stone jamb (some houses have kept their bent arch (no. 8, 49, 59 and others) into the vaulted entrance hall – “mazhouse” -, which took 2/3 of the width (in some exceptional cases even the whole width, no. 10, 15, 53, 62) and reached to various depths of the house yard. From this space that originally served for goods manufacture, shop or sale of beer, the people passed upstairs to the first floor and downstairs to the cellars, and through a passage into the yard.
In the second half of the 15th century the arcades and entire fronts with gables were constructed before most of the houses according to unified plans. Arcades, fronts and gables were built individually but some of the fronts were reconstructed in the following centuries, which means that only a part of them have kept their Renaissance style. Most fronts and gables bear the Baroque features, in some of them it is possible to also register the signs of later styles. Particular attention should be paid to the following buildings and civic houses (in the order from the chateau, around the square):
No. 2 - Former Jesuit hostel, finished in 1655 (Františka Slavatová). After the rights of the Order were cancelled in 1773 it became an army barracks, then from 1883 council schools and primary schools, and now there is University centre.
No. 3 - At the end of the seventh century it was a Jesuit Latin Grammar School from 1774 it became a general school, later a school of further education now it´s university centre.
No. 10 - Town hall. It occupies two original medieval ground plots. The appearance it has today dates from 1574.
There is an entrance hall which is vaulted to a Gothic style central pillar with a spindleshaft.
It is one of only a few Central European secular buildings which the front of it has a high architectural arrangement, i. e. the pilasters pass without interruption from the pillars right through to the height to the ledge capital.
No. 15 - Town house with the bay, the windows of which have stone Gothic jambs made in the same manner as at the windows on the first floor. The buildings front is characterised by a sgraffi to painting with Biblical motives, this painting had been covered for a long time, and was discovered and restored in 1952. The sgraffito painting also shows the original look of the house with its castellated attic floor.
No. 32 - This house projects into the square off the aligned front line with arcades. The bottom part of the facade evokes Renaissance but the upper part is already Baroque. It was built around the year 1800, thus in late Baroque.
The authorities bought this house and established a kitchen there for their clerks. The noble clerks were mostly young single men and they were served food in this house. On Maundy Thursay prior to Easter Sunday, sweet porridge was cooked here for the poor.
The tradition to serve the poor sweet porridge was established by Perchta - our White Lady. Mrs. Perchta married Jan of Lichenštejn and followed him to Telč. He did not love her, however, and was often cruel to her. Perchta complained to her brother and father. Back then it was not possible for a woman to leave her husband although he mistreated her. It was not until the death of her husband that she was free and could return to her original family. Since that time Perchta used to stay at Rožmberk castles and provide help where it was needed, especially to the poor and suffering. It was she that first introduced giving to the poor in the fall, to celebrate the completion of the building of the castle in Jindřichův Hradec, and later on Maundy Thursday. They were given other goodies as well. Everyone got a fish, peas, bread and beer. In memory of the Last Supper, the rich used to serve the poor on that evening. The emperor Joseph II abolished the fiving of porridge to the poor in the year 1783. Instead of that the poorest received money that was later distributed by the city council.
Many people used to say that Perchta appeared as the White Lady. She would appear either smiling to foretell some good news or gloomy wearing black gloves, which usually meant death of another tragedy. The White Lady also used to help nannies to watch over the little children of the Rožmberks.
Many a time, Perchta came to a child to cradle it when the nannies were falling asleep from being over tired. The nannies knew Perchta and silently let her cuddle the child. Once, however, there was a new nanny who did not know for darinng to take the child out of the crib. Perchta told her who she was and instruckted her to tell Petr Vok how and from where she was appearing. Then she entered the wall and never came back. The nanny followed Perchta´s intructions and told the adult Vok about what had happened when he was a toddler. Vok thought for a while, and then he had the wall knocked down in the place where the White Lady was last seen leaving. And behold, he found a huge golden treasure there!
No. 39 - a massive renaissance house with a Baroque facade. There is a plaque on the side wall which reminds that the poet Otokar Březina lived here as a student grammar school in the years 1883 - 1887.
No. 47 - a house with an elevated backdrop of the house originally a burgher brewery in 1807 converted into a two-class girls' school. In 1863 a floor was added for the upper industrial class and a staircase was modified. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries the headquarters of the Emil Šolc publishing house.
No. 48 - The house was rebuilt in the 18th century in the baroque style, it is characterised by a single volute gable with chasuble attic window.
No. 54 and 55 these are two typical Renaissance houses. They both have a facade with envelope-pattern sgraffito. The front faces are topped with gable portal and battlements. Let us take note of the openings on the edges of the gable portal. These also served a purpose. Although the builders brought Renaissance style from Italy, they were aware of the tough local winters. These opening were used for removing snow from the roofs. These houses were not only beautiful but also practical. As a matter of fact, that is the way the whole town of Telč was during the Renaissance period. At the end of the 18th century, house No. 54 belonged to Jan Pavel Bílek, a doctor, a pharmacist and a veterinarian. He was interested in history and he preserved many documents that later became the foundation of the town´s museum collections. He also instigated the celebration of the 700th anniversary of the alleged foundation of the town of Telč in 1799.
Since 1849, house No. 55 belonged to the local national reviver Filip Šašecí. This trained confectioner and gingerbread baker established and led the nationalist society in Telč.
No. 57 - Renaissance house with a Baroque front. Kaspar Ober is said to have been the sculptor of the facades sculpture decoration, i. e. two pairs of young men and two vases including the relief of the Immaculate Virgin in the front central field.
No. 59 - This building has a distinct, dynamically waved Baroque facade. The Baroque style started to appear in Bohemia in the 17th centrury. Initially, simple two-tower churches used to be built but later also central buildings full of dynamism were constructed. This started to appeal to the townsmen and they began to rebuild their houses. Many townsmen had the facades of their houses altered in the next decorative Baroque style. Most of the time, the reconstruction was done only on the exterior part of the house. Inside, the houses maintained the old mazhauses.
No. 61 - In 1532 this house was bought by Michael, a baker and later the chairman of the town council. In 1555 he rebuilt the house and provided it with sgraffito schowing the leaders of Old Testament fights. The sgraffito decorations were apparently made by the same artist who worked in the chateau. On a number of columns supporting the arcade you can find plates cut in the stone work which contain the craft signs.
No. 62 - part of the stone entrance to the original smithy is preserved in the house the ceiling in the mausoleum is richly decorated. The inventory of the mausoleum includes an ancient cross entwined with legends. The house served from 1883 until 2019 under various names as a savings institution.
No. 71 - the original manorial granary from 1576 as a building part of the castle. Later the building served various offices. Today it is the seat of the Municipal Library and the Basic Art School. The chamber hall in the rear wing serves the school and the public.