Lesní Hluboké is a village located about 25km from Brno at exit 168 of the D1 motorway. The village got its name because it is surrounded by forest. As a visitor you can find it easily, as the village is a dead-end street. However, due to its location Lesní Hluboké is a sought-after place among tourists. It can be a starting point for walking the landscape of the Bílý potok protected national park. The Bílý potok brook flows through the famous Šmelcovna settlement, the through Hálův mlýn and into Brněnská přehrada (the Brno reservoir).
Right after the exit and next to the village there is a place called 9 křížů (Nine Crosses) that is closed to the village. The nine crosses stand at the beginning of the forest surrounding the village. A story is told about the crosses and something that happened in 1540. It has been preserved as follows:
“In 1539 a horse trader who was travelling from Hungary to Bohemia got sick and lay down. Seeing the man lying on the ground, a passing peasant from Hluboké took him home. The peasant had a daughter, and she nursed the horse trader back to health. They fell in love and swore faithfulness. The father was not very happy about this, however. The horse trader said that he would set out into the world to make some money and in a year would come back and marry the daughter. During the year the girl was forced by her parents to promise to marry another, richer man. She informed the horse trader when she would walk down the aisle with the other man. The horse trader took it very hard and plotted vengeance. He hired a helper, got a gun, chose the most suitable spot (where the crosses are today) and attacked the wedding party. The horse trader told the helper not to kill the bride. The helper ignored this instruction and murdered her as well. When the horse trader saw the bride dead, he shot the helper and then himself. All nine people involved are buried at that place. The bride lies in the middle, with her bridegrooms on either side of her.” (Ryšánek V. , 2018)
It is said that the cross immediately to the left of the bride’s – beneath which the murderer reputedly lies – often rots away and has to be replaced. People also say that the bride wanders across the motorway, which is why it is a place with so many accidents. Nobody knows if this is true because there is no conclusive evidence and no one living can testify. However, there are people who can tell us about the more recent history of the village.
The villagers went through hard times in World War II. An elderly woman, who was born at the end of the war, told me about what she and her family remember of those times. During the war, people from the village hid in a gamekeeper’s lodge in woods. When they heard that the war was over and the Russians had come to save them, the people decided to return to the village. Unfortunately, the first wave of Russian liberators was fierce and had come to plunder the village and rape its women. Those who were lucky managed to hide. She also told me that her mother, brothers and other villagers hid in a local castle. When they heard the Russians trying to get in, they were almost scared to death. At the last minute they were saved by a Russian general. Realizing what was happening, he immediately shot the soldiers who had raped women and plundered the village. She was born in their little house a few days later. The Russian women who helped deliver her said that they had seen a lot of dead babies in ditches on their way to them.
The woman has early memories of a single-classroom school at the beginning of the village. Next to the school was a flat where the teacher lived with her family. Grades 1-5 were taught in one class. As a little girl, the woman lived very close to the school. When she behaved badly at school, she was punished by her teacher, then on her way home the teacher would shout to her mother, who was waiting for her in front their house. The little girl then was punished for a second time at home. Where the school used to stand, a house of culture, a pub and a shop stand today. Nowadays the village does not have a school, only an alternative kindergarten. Women from the village used to work in a local agricultural cooperative, but nowadays the building has fallen into disrepair. Children went to play games in a playground far away from the village, A football pitch was built in the village only later. Next to it there used to be a water reservoir, which was converted to an outdoor swimming pool only a few years ago. The pool is very popular in summer over a wide area. There is also a refreshments stand and tennis courts.
The castle and the little chapel on the outskirts of the village have a history, too. For a long time, nobody took care of the castle and so it was not open to the public. Nowadays the castle has a caretaker and is being renovated little by little. It holds social occasions such as a blacksmiths’ symposium, Christmas workshops and even weddings. It provides accommodation for guests or tourists.
Nature lovers will find Lesní Hluboké a beautiful place. They can make trips in the immediate area or pick mushrooms. For those who like entertainment, the village has a swimming pool, St. Anna’s fair, events at the castle, balls at the house of culture and a pub. Those in search of mystery can visit Nine Crosses in the hope of seeing the dead bride walking.
Ryšánek, V. (2018, November 2). Dávná historie obce, pověst o 9 křížích. Retrieved from Lesní Hluboké official website: http://www.lesnihluboke.cz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48:davna-historie-obce-povst-o-9-kiich&catid=22:historie-a-socuasnost-obce&Itemid=195