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Start with a tour of Telc Château (tel. 567-243-943; www.zamek-telc.cz) at the northwest end of the main square. Zacharias of Neuhaus, whose name now graces the main square, was so enamored of the Renaissance style rampant in Italy that in 1553 he commissioned Antonio Vlach, and later Baldassare Maggi de Ronio, to rebuild the château, originally a 14th-century Gothic structure. This castle's exterior, however, cannot prepare you for its interior -- hall after hall of lavish rooms with spectacular ceilings.

Highlights inside the château include the Africa Hall, with rhino heads, tiger skins, and other exotica from expeditions accumulated by Karel Podstatky, a relative of the castle's last owner, in the early 1900s. The Banquet Hall's sgrafitti seems to mock those who overindulge, and the Marble Hall of Knights features a wood ceiling decorated with bas-reliefs from 1570, plus a fine collection of armor. In the Golden Hall, where balls and ceremonies once took place, 30 octagonal coffers with mythological scenes stare down at you from the ceiling.

A 1-hour guided tour of the castle halls in Czech costs 100Kc adults, 60Kc students, free for children under 6. To see the residences, take the additional 45-minute tour, which costs 80Kc. The fee for an English-language guide is an additional 100Kc per person. The castle is open Tuesday to Sunday: May to September from 9am to noon and 1 to 5pm; October and April from 9am to noon and 1 to 4pm; the castle is closed November to March.

Next to the castle is the Church of St. James (Kostel sv. Jakuba), its walls adorned with late-15th-century paintings. Next to St. James is the baroque Jesuit Church of the Name of Jesus.

After strolling the castle grounds, head back to the main square, where a sea of soft pastel facades awaits. If you find yourself wondering how the entire square can be so uniform, you're not alone. After rebuilding the castle, Zacharias realized that the rest of the place looked, well, out of place. To rectify the situation, he promptly rebuilt the facade of each building on the square, though Gothic columns belie what once was. Of particular note is the building referred to as House 15, where a round oriel and sgrafitti portraying the crucifixion, Saul and David, Christopher, and faith and justice jut onto the street corner. And watching over it all are the cherubs on the Marian column, built in 1718.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.