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CZ: Votice – St Martin Is Coming Soon

Published: 9.11.2015
The smell of autumn grapes, baked potatoes, St Martin goose, old Czech crafts, sweet trdelnik, shooting from a slingshot, bread with cracknels, and a glass of the first wine of the year. These are traditions held every year in Votice, Central Bohemia.

„Medieval beer!“, „The one who buys doesn’t get the raw deal! “, a dark headed young man shouts. Pints of beers stand on a wooden tray but cups are being quickly taken by passersby. Nearby, warm bread with home-made cracknels or snow-white fat with chive sprinkled on the top lay in baskets waiting to be sold. Trdelniks are being made on rolling board just around the corner until they get honey-like color. Then they are clothed in cinnamon. Then people fond of sweets can have something tasty for a snack.

Svatomartinské slavnosti ve VoticíchSvatomartinské slavnosti ve Voticích

The town of Votice is in Czech Siberia so one can really expect snow here early. The Central Bohemian Uplands is dominant sight in the area. Votice makes an important crossing point between the towns like – Tabor, Sedlcany, Benesov, and Vlasim. The town was known for its quality weaving trade, pottery, and drapery but today Votice is an important crossroad on the way to Monínec, a large ski resort. Fans of snowkiting make use of large fields laying around. Should you prefer hiking then try the red tourist trail. This one takes you across Lounovice pod Blanikem to Velky Blanik. In the later the Blanik knights ready to aid the nation in the great need sleep.


Children can try out medieval crafts in the true spirit of the era. They can draw bow and put down a painted boar with an arrow. Kids are surprisingly good at it. Next to it little girls try to manage three sticks but joggling pose a great challenge sometimes. Boy go to a stall where swords, machetes, and axes are. A knight’s armor stands in front of the weapons. I buy one too and try it at safe place. A stone fell into the water. I just heard a plop as I hadn’t see it fell to the ground. Slingshots are adjusted just great therefore stones fly long distance.

Svatomartinské slavnosti ve VoticíchSvatomartinské slavnosti ve Voticích

Preparations of medieval games are ongoing in front of the stage. Two men wearing comical shoes, brown attire, white wests show off their weapons. Even a pistol or a blunderbuss. Eventually they bring in a canon, a cord with gunpowder and deafening voice than make everybody else to plug their eary.

Svatomartinské slavnosti ve Voticích

St Martin celebrations in VoticeSvatomartinské slavnosti ve Voticích

St Martin wine is the very first wine of the year. It is ceremonially opened on the 11 of November to honor St Martin who arrives on a white horse bringing white snow cover with him. It, however, doesn’t play out as nicely every time yet you can smell red an white grapes in the air and snow flakes as well. Same name is put on the label of these wines. They must fulfill criteria. A picture of St Martin on a white mount and the name “Svatomartinske” appears on the label. This wine’s history goes back to the times of Emperor Joseph II, the son of famous Maria Theresa. Then farmers made first toast with this wine in hand. They feasted on roasted goose. It is beautiful to see some traditions to survive like that.

Svatomartinské slavnosti ve VoticíchSvatomartinské slavnosti ve Voticích

You can taste the following sorts St Martin wines:

White wine – Müller Thurgau,Veltlínské Red early, Moravian Muscat

Rose wine – Blue Portugal, Zweigeltrebe and St Lawrence

Red wine – Blue Portugal, St Lawrence

GPS: 49°38'20.4"N 14°38'29.9"E


Text: Šárka Vacková

Photo: Šárka Vacková, Wikimedia Commons: Palickap, Palickap (2), Palickap (3)

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