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20. Catacombs

- A vital refuge, yet a deadly trap -
 

 
 

A vast labyrinth of subterranean passages and halls, situated under the entire medieval city, was gradually created in the course of the 14th and 15th centuries by interconnecting individual cellars under each and every burgher house and palace in the city. The purpose of these catacombs was to protect city inhabitants from all hardships and suffering they had always undergone in the times of war. The Znojmo catacombs led in some places under the fortifications and out of the city, which might have proved crucial when the city was under siege and yearned for food. The subterranean halls were ventilated by plenty of shafts, cellar fireplaces were connected to house chimneys, and there were wells full of water and also a drainage system, so that Znojmo burghers could spend quite a long time in their sophisticated refuge. If enemies should break into the labyrinth, they were in for several unpleasant things to deal with: slippery slides, trapdoors, extra narrow passages, allowing only one man to go through, and so on, and so forth. No enemy was meant to get out alive!   

 
Responsible: PhDr. Jiří Kacetl
Created / changed: 19.6.2008 / 19.6.2008

 

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