Bílovice nad Svitavou


This village surrounded by beautiful forests lies a few kilometres from Brno in the valley of the river Svitava. It was a favourite destination for many artists - for example, the poet Stanislav Kostka Neumann lived here, and many important people visited him here including the Čapek brothers, František Gellner, Zdenka Braunerová and Jiří Mahen. The novelist and journalist Rudolf Těsnohlídek often travelled to Bílovice and eventually settled here. On 22 December 1919 he found an abandoned seventeen-month old baby in the nearby forests, which became the basis for the Czech Christmas trees of the Republic and the charity collections for abandoned children. Těsnohlídek also set his stories about the cunning vixen Bystrouška in and around Bílovice, which were published in the Lidové noviny newspaper in 1920. Janáček also enjoyed taking trips to this area, particularly while he was composing The Cunning Little Vixen, and he even observed a family of foxes here. Today in Bílovice we can find vixen Bystrouška's lodge, the place of Pásek's pub, and a well bearing the composer's name.

Bílovice nad Svitavou, historical postcard © archive JZ
Bílovice nad Svitavou, historical postcard © archive JZ

No-one wanted to write it, he even left it on my table and one afternoon I took it to Bílovice. On the way back on the train was a railway official, like a cavalier from Ekeby, living in a castle in Bílovice. He took my drawings, started to laugh and wouldn't stop until I promised him that I'd write something to go with them... And so I started writing. It was a beautiful early spring in 1920.

From the memoirs of Rudolf Těsnohlídek, who was given the task by the Lidové noviny editorial board of writing text to accompany Stanislav Lolek's drawings, which resulted in the stories about the vixen Bystrouška, set in a Bílovice gamekeeper's lodge and the surrounding forests.