Southern Moravia photography guide
Our contributors have added 14 photo spots to this Southern Moravia photo guide. Have you discovered an amazing new location in Southern Moravia?
Moravia is a historical country in the Czech Republic occupying the south-eastern part of the country, and has as its capital Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic (390.000 inhabitants).The land takes its name from the Morava river, which traverses the area southward.
For photographers the most iconic part of the region is Southern Moravia, near to the city of Kyjov. The most interesting area forms the shape of a triangle between the villages Svatobožice, Čejč and Žarošice. On the foothills of the Carpathians there are some smooth, long hills with large fields of extensive agriculture. Vast areas planted with cereals, buckwheat and rapeseed, as well as some beautiful vineyards make the area quite similar to Tuscany or the Palouse region. Instead of Tuscany's classic cypresses you’ll find poplars, elms and chestnut-lined avenues and in the place of iconic Italian villas there are numerous scenic chapels, usually surrounded by trees. In the spring you’ll find stunning structured patchwork fields bursting with colour – details seen with tele lens are similar to Rothko's paintings.
Other noteworthy spots described in this guide are the windmill villages 25km northward from Kyjov. Agriculture is not as well developed here as in the Kyjov area – the fields are noticeably smaller, there are more forest areas, but the ornament of two outstanding windmills makes that region worth a visit.
Southern Moravia also offers great opportunities for nature photographers and you can almost treat a visit there as a european safari. Expect to see many roe-deer (known as ‘Moravian antelope’), hares and pheasants, many of which are accustomed to human presence.
The major difference between Moravia and Tuscany or the Palouse region is the soil structure. In Southern Moravia there are some lignite seams, which are close to the planted surfaces. Brown coal dust affects the colour of the soil, which is why freshly plowed light brown fields are often full of much darker coloured earth and can look like they are in the shadow of heavy clouds.
Most popular Southern Moravia photo spots
I have included in this small guide 14 of my favourite spots to photograph the landscapes of Moravia. If time is unlimited, I would recommend spending five - seven days and returning at least a second time to many of these spots, especially to those that work well as sunrise and sunset options. If you only have a day or two to spend in this region, I would start with Dufek vineyard, St. Barbara chapel and Tsunami, as they are close enough to shoot all three in one evening. I would also strongly recommend the Chestnut Avenue spot, which is one of the most scenic views in this region.
There are no restrictions regarding photography in the Southern Moravia area and it's probably one of the safest places in Europe. The best time to visit the area is spring which usually begins with a flourish at the start of April and coincides with some of the first green cereal-filled lawns and plowed, brown fields. In the second half of April and first half of May the rapeseed fields are in full bloom, making the landscape spectacularly colourful. It's also worth visiting Moravia in autumn, when the vineyards are full of warm colours and the fields are already ploughed for the winter.
Your most important items of gear will be a long telephoto lens with a solid tripod. In Southern Moravia you’ll want to shoot the details of the landscape which are usually far away from the spot. Lenses should have at least 300mm on a full frame camera, but a longer focal length would be even better. In my opinion, a 400mm lens should cover the majority of spots mentioned in this guide. A stable tripod for heavier lenses is another necessity for shooting here. Please take note when packing that this area lies on a large passageway between the Alps, Carpathians and Bohemian Massiv, so strong winds are quite common here. Wading boots will also be a useful item to pack as they will help you to stay dry during scouting walks through muddy fields and paths after rain.
Also good to note is that the rich, loose Moravian soil is sensitive to wind, and on breezy days you’ll find there is a lot of dust in the air. Don't change your lens out in the open unless it’s absolutely necessary and clean your front lens regularly.
You can easily reach Moravia by plane. There are not many flights into our out of the local airport, Tuřany in Brno, but from nearby Vienna or Bratislava airports you can easily reach the region. A rental car will be indispensable to explore the rolling fields and Moravian countryside. One big advantage of this region is the quality of the roads, which in most cases will get you directly to the spots.
In Kyjov and surrounding areas there are a few accommodation options from 10 - 25€/per person per night. The cheapest category is a kind of youth hostel, known as ubytovna (Trifin in Kyjov, www.ubytovani.trifin.cz/ubytovna-kyjov/). A more comfortable place to stay is the 3-star Hotel Pivovar (www.kyjovsky-pivovar.cz), with it's own brewery and a good restaurant. Outside the city you can find nice places to stay in the surrounding villages. I can recommend Penzion Svatoborski Sklipek in Svatobožice (www.vinarstvi-dufek.cz/vinny-sklipek-ubytovanim/), as mentioned in The Josef Dufek vineyard spot description or try any of the pensions in the wine cellars of Mutenice. In the high photographic season (april-may) it's advisable to reserve your room in advance.
In the Tourist Information centre (informačni centrum, Svatoborska 26, Kyjov) near to the city market you can buy good maps of the region. An exchange bureau (směnárna) is located at Kollarova 226/10.
Piotr Skrzypiec Curator
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