The region called Czech Canada is situated in the south of the Czech Republic on the border intersection of three historical countries: Bohemia, Moravia and Austria.
Its north-eastern part is formed by wooded hilly countryside which gradually falls to a basin with many artificial lakes and finally to lowlands in the western and south-western part of the region. The major part of it is covered by hilly and densely wooded highlands with predominantly flat hills culminating in rocky outcrops with unusual shaped large stones. Rocky outcrops usually appear amongst the summits (for instance around the Landstejn castle) and even logan-stones are not omitted. There are further hills in the eastern part having the character of an elongated mountain plateau.
The biggest mountain is called "Vysoky kamen" (a romantic narrow-gauge railway encircles its foot-hill) 732 m above the sea. Further mountains are: Sibenik (732m), Kunejovsky vrch (725m), Vysoky kamen at Roznov (723m), Studnice (722m), Bukovy vrch (721m), Vetrov (714m), Cihadlo (700m) and others.
The European water-shed between the North Sea and Black Sea cuts Czech Canada just in its centre: This ridge of highlands are the source for both the Danube river to the Black Sea and the Elbe to the North Sea. Therefore two quite separated networks of brooks drain the hills away filling numerous artificial lakes; the greatest concentration of which is in the western part of the region. The most important lakes are: Kaclezsky (1.76 squared kilometres of surface), Krvavy (1.27 squared km), Ratmirovsky (0.78 squared km), Hejtman at Strmilov (0.68 squared km), Penensky alias Wood (0.60 squared km), Komornik (0.56 squared km) and many others.
The climate here is typical highland continental (high snowfall in winter yet hot in the summer months - often 26 - 32 °C) but it is more extreme in comparison with the rest of the country (higher precipitation and lower temperatures). This is namely the reason for calling this region "Czech Canada".
The difficult life conditions here caused a relatively late settlement in the past. Minimal vestiges of primeval civilisation were found only (e.g. in Slavonice).
A continuous history of this region has been being written since the noble family of Vitek became the owners during the 12th century and a systematic step-by-step going settlement began at the same time. First castles with little towns came into existence during the 13th and 14th century. Jindrichuv Hradec became the base of rule for the House of Rose with further towns in its environs (Slavonice, Nova Bystrice, Kunzak and Strmilov).
Several towns and castles were seriously hit during the Hussite war expeditions (especially the Landstejn castle and the town Nova Bystrice). While the local population sympathised with the Protestant Hussite movement, the fortified centres stayed catholic.
The 16th century brought a relatively quiet enterprise of the nobility (creation of artificial lakes for fish farming, cattle-breeding) and subsequent wealth of the towns at the same time. The architectural noble centres of Slavonice and Jindrichuv Hradec have their origin just at this time. The Emperor's troops unsuccessfully twice endeavoured to capture Jindrichuv Hradec during the insurgency of the Estates in the 17th century. Instead they were more successful at the Landstejn castle which the garrison of Estates rendered.
The subsequent Thirty Year's war caused a general deterioration and penury of settlers. The majority of the territory was gained by catholic Habsburg's adherents and consequently old Czech houses were often replaced by immigrants. Notably the Paulines of Klaster at Nova Bystrice and the Jesuits of Jindrichuv Hradec became overzealous executors in catholic Counter-Reformation.
Manufacture specialising in textiles, glass and the steel industry began to come into existence during the 18th century. However a greater expansion of manufacturing was hampered by the absence of significant railways in this region. Two narrow-gauge railway lines: Jindrichuv Hradec - Obratan and Jindrichuv Hradec - Nova Bystrice overwhelmingly performed the service of wood transport. Further normal-gauge lines Jindrichuv Hradec - Veseli nad Luznici, Jindrichuv Hradec - Jihlava and Jihlava - Slavonice were of local importance only at the same time. (All these railway lines were kept in operation till now and especially the narrow-gauge line Jindrichuv Hradec - Nova Bystrice with historical carriages being seasonally driven by steam engines has become an unique tourist attraction.)
After the declaration of the Czechoslovak republic in 1918 and a consequent general boom during 1918 - 1938 this region was kept alive, like before, through agriculture and was not considerably touched by industry.
During and immediately after World War II. Czech Canada became the scene of conflicts between the German, Jewish and Czech nationalities. The whole affair was initiated by the German national minority (forming a majority of the population in several Czech towns and villages) in the former Czechoslovakia, who in the main began to support the nazi movement in Germany and later in the Reich; confessing and turning the German philosophy of German racial superiority into practice. In consequence of the German capitulation and the Potsdam convention this German minority was deported to Germany and the area resettled by the Czechs. This state of affairs did not last long.
After the iron curtain was dropped at the end of the forties, a few kilometres-wide zone along the state border to Austria was enclosed with barbed wire and all the area behind it has been being cleared of people. Many villages there were totally left by all the inhabitants or razed to the ground (Mariz, Rajcherov etc.) For example, the Mariz chateau was obliterated except for a little piece of brickwork exploited as a source of building materials. Ensuing unremitting reconnaissance, in force of the Bolshevik armed forces, affected a region already 40 km in front of the Austrian state border (in order to prevent people from emigrating to the free world). This caused a further exodus of home productive population and dismissal of any tourism at the same time. For example, there was even a school in the wonderful village Novy Svet (New World) and today it counts only three inhabitants. Because of the political conditions and unusual history the region kept an unspoiled nature almost untouched by civilisation or industry and offers splendid conditions for tourism since the fall of the iron curtain in 1989.
Visitors are attracted by deep forests amongst beautiful hills and valleys of rivers and streams; romantic lakes, fortresses, castles, historical towns as well as cultural landmarks.
Regarding remarkable architectural monuments few vestiges of the Roman art remained in this area: For example the core of Landstejn fortified castle, ruins of the castle at Pomezi and few architectonic elements in Destna and Strmilov (cemetery church of the Holy Ondrej).
Gothic, on the contrary, made a visible mark in the region. Many buildings and houses in Jindrichuv Hradec and Slavonice are of gothic origin; predominantly gothic are castles Landstejn and the castle in Jindrichuv Hradec. The medieval character of other castles was covered by later reconstructions (Nova Bystrice, Straz nad Nezarkou). Especially notable are the stone-wall foundations of houses of a village called "Pfaffenschlag" discovered and conserved by archaeologists a few years ago are very remarkable. This village (called "Bobovec" in the Czech language) had been in existence in the 11th century and was destroyed during the Hussite crusade in 1423. Numerous churches are also monuments of worth from the gothic period (for example in Lipolec, Liderovice, Slavonice, Cesky Rudolec, Stare mesto pod Landstejnem, Blazejov, Nova Bystrice etc.) Extraordinarily valuable constructions are the monastic courts with churches in Jindrichuv Hradec (Franciscan convent with the church of St. Katherine, the provost church of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, churches of the Trinity and St. Wenceslas).
The town Nova Bystrice is proud of its rarely preserved town fortification; in Jindrichuv Hradec one of the original gates and a small part of the town wall are preserved. In Slavonice two arched gateways and a great part of the town wall with bastions and barbican remains of the original fortification.
Renaissance had the greatest influence in the architecture of towns in the whole region. That concerns particularly the town's cultural reserves Jindrichuv Hradec and Slavonice, both of which belong to the pearls of Bohemian and Moravian architecture in general. Renaissance, at the same time, changed the appearance of the originally gothic castle of Jindrichuv Hradec into the present form. The castle Cervena Lhota is admittedly a little far but a charming demonstration of a small Renaissance seat and one of the most romantic monuments in the Czech republic.
The glowing example of Renaissance is the near-by town's cultural reserve Telc (written into the cultural heritage of UNESCO): The burgess' houses and the portico on the square have no analogy all over the world. The chateau in Telc is predominantly Renaissance as well. Several Renaissance houses are also in Dacice: The most dominant is the Renaissance tower at the parish church. Two castles in Dacice have their origin in the same period.
Baroque changed the facades of some town's houses
into decoratively rich exteriors and created new landscape dominants by building new churches, convents and castles. The houses in Telc were enriched with fronts abundant in ornaments, with the Jesuit church The Name of Jesus incl. dormitory, the church of St. Anne and many statues, sculptured public fountains and columns.
The 19th century art supplied the above enumerated row of monuments in the castle in Cesky Rudolec, Stare mesto pod Landstejnem, the church in Strmilov and others. Many lovely folk constructions survived; namely walled farms with ornamental gates being affected by the baroque (in Hospriz, Jindris, Stare mesto pod Landstejnem, Lipolec and others).
The Jewish community was densely settled in the eastern part of the region. Now the only remainder after the German holocaust at the World War II are the desolate synagogues in Jindrichuv Hradec and Telc and cemeteries in Markvarec, Stare Mesto pod Landstejnem, Dolni Bolikov, Jindrichuv Hradec and Nova Bystrice.