City officials, quick to notice that helping visitors helps them, have placed signs guiding visitors to almost every nook and cranny of the center. Since the walled city is relatively small, there's no wrong place to begin a tour, but I prefer to start at the southern gate by the Svinenská brána, the oldest of the town's three gates, for reasons that'll become immediately apparent. Just outside the gate and to the right stands the Regent Brewery, founded in 1379. Locals will tell you that their brew is every bit as good as Budvar, and they're not lying. On entering Old Town, continue straight through Zizkovo námestí and you'll arrive at Masarykovo námestí, where the beautifully colored Renaissance facades look as though they were built yesterday.
To the left lies the entrance to Trebon's showpiece, Zámek Trebon (Trebon Castle; tel. 384-721-193). The castle's history is similar to the history of the town. The original Gothic castle was destroyed by fire and reconstructed several times, most recently in 1611. Rather ordinary looking from the outside, it has splendidly decorated rooms that provide a terrific backdrop to the 16th-century furnishings. An exhibition on pond-building fascinates most children. A large part of the castle now houses regional archives. Admission is 100Kc. April, May, September, and October hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 9 to 11:40am and 12:45 to 4pm. June through August, it's open from 9 to 11:40am and 12:45 to 5:15pm.
Walk out the castle gate and straight along Brezanova Street to the Augustinian monastery and the 14th-century St. Giles Church next to it. Inside the church are replicas of some of the finest Gothic works in central Europe; the originals have been moved to the National Gallery in Prague. The church and monastery are open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 7pm and Sunday from 9am to 6pm.
To the south of the Old Town lies Rybník Svet, a large pond that locals flock to on hot afternoons. Several locations around the pond rent windsurfers, bikes, and other outdoor equipment with which to enjoy the surrounding areas. On the southeast shore of the pond is Schwarzenberská hrobka (Schwarzenberg Mausoleum). Built in 1877, this neo-Gothic chapel and crypt is the resting place for most members of the Schwarzenberg family.
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