Chotěšov Abbey is a former Premonstratensian nunnery founded between 1202 and 1210 by the Blessed Hroznata and settled by nuns from Doksany Abbey. The new foundation soon acquired wealth and influence, to the envy of the surrounding lordships and territories.
In 1421, during the Hussite Wars the nunnery was occupied and destroyed by a Hussite army under Jan Žižka. During the Thirty Years' War, in 1618, the nunnery was again occupied and plundered.
Between 1737 and 1756 the abbey was extensively rebuilt to Baroque designs by Jakub Auguston. On 21 January 1782 however it was dissolved under the rationalist reforms of the Emperor Joseph II. The lands and buildings were bought in 1822 by the Prince of Thurn und Taxis
In 1878 part of the premises were leased to the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, also known as the Visitandines or Salesian Sisters, for refugees of their Order from Moselweiss near Koblenz in Germany. They established a community and a girls' school here, which rapidly became well-known, particularly for the study of languages.
After World War I a group of sisters returned to Germany and set up a community in Marchtal Abbey. At the beginning of World War II the school was closed and instead the sisters took over the running of a home for elderly women which was established in part of the premises. All German sisters were obliged to leave the abbey and the country in 1945 after the end of World War II, leaving about 30 Czech sisters to run the home.
All occupants of the abbey were evicted in 1950, when the abbey was requisitioned as accommodation for the Czech army until 1975 when the army left, leaving an estimated 10 million crowns' worth of damage for which compensation has never been received. The buildings have stood empty ever since.
After some years under the control of government agencies, in 1991 ownership of the buildings was divided between the town of Chotěšov and the Visitandine nuns at Chlumec, whose share has since also passed to the town.
The abandoned buildings are in part in a state approaching the derelict and are threatened with collapse, despite their architectural and historical value and the great efforts of the local community to save them.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.