Telecí, Czech Republic


Current Name: Telecí

(Svitavy District, Pardubice Region)

Region and/or Nearby Villages: Borová, Oldřiš, Sádek, Pustá Rybna, and the larger town of Polička

Historical Names: Never known by any other name. It is the only village in CZ with this name.

Village Website: http://www.teleci.cz/

Submitted by Katherine Roushar Jorgenson

The village most associated with my Roušar family is Telecí. My 7th great grandfather Mikuláš Roušar moved there from Nedvězí when he married Anna Puchar in 1668. ¨My great grandparents Josef Roušar and Anna Fajmon left there for Minnesota in 1887 and 1888. My first visit was in 2002, 115 years after they left. I have been there several times since and feel the presence of my ancestors when I walk the streets and go to Sunday mass. I stay with my cousin Marie and her husband whom I met on that first visit.

Telecí is a charming village located in the picturesque Bohemian-Moravian Highlands or Vysočina, of East Bohemia. This is a beautiful region of long valleys and high hills. It is one of the best-preserved villages in that area with numerous log buildings, many built in the Polička style with the house, barn and other farm buildings connected to form an enclosed square with an open court in the center and no windows to the outside. The village stretches for about 6 kilometers in a valley along Telecí Creek with houses one or two deep along each side of the road. The fields go up the hills and are interspersed with wooded areas. The views from the hills are breathtaking. The village extends to the Svratka River, which is part of the border between Bohemia and Moravia.

The first written mention of Telecí dates to 1403 when it was already listed as a congregation settlement of a parish, but it was probably founded in the thirteenth century by colonists from the German areas who were invited there to protect the royal town of Polička and the provincial route (Trstenice) that lead from Bavaria via Prague to the Moravian Margravate.

The origin of the name of the village is uncertain but there are various theories. The word telecí is found in the dictionary and means veal or roast and the Czech word for calf is tele. The book Telecí historie a současnost or Telecí History and Present, written in 2003 for the 600th anniversary of the village, gives several theories for the origin of the name. One is that it is a distortion of the term “ty lesy” or “the woods”. This view has some support in the fact that there are many local names that are related to forests and trees such as Borová (Pine), Borovnice (Pine), Březiny (Birch), Javorek (Maple), Bukovina (Beech), and Sádek (Orchard) and that in early days the area was very densely forested. Another theory is that the name comes from a derogatory use of the word calf or calves, implying stupidity. Perhaps people in neighboring villages referred to the settlers in the village in this way. However, the most obvious explanation is that it refers to a home for young cattle. These kinds of local names, taken from the animal kingdom, are quite common. Examples of neighboring villages with animal derived names are Kobylí (Mares), Pustá Rybná (Empty of Fish), Nedvězí (Bear) and Koníkov (Horses).

The Gothic Church of St. Mary Magdalena in Telecí dates from the second half of the 14th century. It was a Catholic Church but after the Hussite wars both Protestants and Catholics worshiped there. After the Thirty Years’ War, it once again became solely a Catholic Church. The church and the cemetery are surrounded by a wall and there is a defensive belfry, built in the 16th century, where parishioners went for protection during the times of religious conflict. Protestants were not able to worship openly but continued to worship clandestinely. However, this changed when the emperor Josef II issued the Patent of Toleration on October 13, 1781. This edict extended religious freedom to non-Catholic Christians and allowed them to hold religious services. They were allowed to erect houses of worship but with many restrictions. They could not have a steeple or resemble a church and had to be built on the edge of the village and face the fields. The Protestant or Evangelical Church in Telecí was built right away in 1782, indicating that there was an active protestant group in the area. The seven-hundred-year-old Singing Linden Tree is a powerful symbol of this time of repression.

Submitted by Robert Kadlec

Lukásova lípa, The Singing Linden

This legendary tree in Telecí is associated with the time of religious oppression. According to an expert estimate, one of the oldest and largest Czech linden trees is around 700 years old. Trunk circumference almost 12 m, crown height 25 m. The legend tells of a secret Czech brother, who found refuge in a spacious and then closed cavity of a tree while copying the New Testament and forbidden psalms. He shone with tallow candles, sang the lyrics, and the sound of a large crown gave the impression that a linden tree was singing. The topic was elaborated in various literary ways by A.Jirásek, T.Nováková, A.Wenig, M. Bureš, J. Orebský. Two variants of the story are excerpted here.

Lukásova lípa
Lukásova lípa.

Miloslav Bures (1909-1968): From the collection "Singing Linden: Legends and Stories from the Highlands", published in 1956.

“Lukásova Lípa, named after the former owner, has been buzzing in the village of Telecí for several hundred years. This rare tree has long belonged to everyone, because it has merged with the lives of our ancestors, who fought in this region for faith and freedom of thought. Everyone talks about it with love, as if it were a living tree. Yes, this linden used to sing. She sang in a human voice. She is the mother of all linden trees in these corners of the Vysočina region. It was in ancient times, when the locals could only secretly profess their faith. The persecution after the Battle of Bělohorská (Battle of White Mountain (8th November 1620) also affected villages in the Polička region. Books by the best patriots and priests were burned at the border. Many of our honest people have had to flee abroad. Those who remained met only secretly to borrow protected books from each other and make sure they still lived in the same thought and were close in heart. At that time, old Jiroušek lived in this village. He knew the need for books that strengthened the heart and spirit. He decided to describe the most important ones if his strength was enough. So that the unauthorized would not know about it, and also so that no one would disturb him at work, he found a hiding place where hardly anyone could look for him: in the hollow trunk of Lukás's linden tree. Her spreading trunk measured twelve meters in circumference, so a table with a chair squeezed into her. Old man Jiroušek always entered the hollow of a tree in the dark.. He wrote long into the night by tallow candles. He made a comma on the plates for each candle burned. According to these simple records, he consumed 1,204 candles at work. He began copying the New Testament, which he wanted to complete as soon as possible. When he rewrote the book, he decided to add psalms to the copy. When copying them, he quietly sang verse after verse, for here and there the forgotten word remembered him better. The old man heard very little. Little did he know that his voice, coming from the trunk of a tree, coincided with its murmur, as if a linden tree was really singing. People who passed by at night and heard the singing did not know whether it came from a crown or from a tree trunk. They didn't find it. The enemies, who wanted to reveal the secret of the singing tree, left in intimidation. Old man Jiroušek also wrote old songs. Lukás's linden tree, which has since been called "singing", provided him with the necessary refuge for further work.”