The pond building and fish farming managed by social elites evolved into a phenomenon at the close of the Middle Ages and in the early centuries of the modern times.

From the 15th century onward, the country below the southern slopes of Pálava, “infested with superfluous and stagnant waters”, was gradually transformed, through a system of large and small ponds with fish nurseries, fisheries and water mills, into a colourful variety of waterways and profitable water facilities.

Although the ponds increased the economic value of the originally permanently waterlogged valleys of the brooks, covered with large wet grasslands and pools with rich water-loving vegetation, they irreversibly drained the landscape and radically changed its previous character. The construction of the impressive fishpond system in the area below the Pálava Hills is predominantly owed to the Liechtensteins, a prominent aristocratic family in control of a large part of the area around the lower river Dyje in the late Middle Ages. Six ponds were made in the Včelínek brook valley, of them three belonged to the Mikulov estate (Šibeničník, Portz/Nový and Nesyt ponds) and three to the Lednice estate (Hlohovecký, Prostřední and Mlýnský ponds). In the Mušlov brook valley, seven ponds were gradually built and some of them collected water for the Marian Mill at the northeastern edge of Holy Hill, others were located down in the warm valley, protected by the southern foot of Milovice forest. Later they became disused. The new Mikulov-Lednice fishpond system was comparable in size with that of Třeboň ponds, and the ponds in the Pálava area were even considered the most profitable in the whole of Central Europe throughout centuries, because they were supplied with runoff from the Pálava Hills, containing nutrients rich in lime, and warmed by sunrays of the warm Pannonian climate.

Historical map of the pond system on the Mühlbach stream

A historical map of the fishpond system on the Mühlbach brook (today‘s Rybniční brook), period 1773-1781. Source: 1st Military Survey, Section Lower Austria, No. 23, Austrian State Archive/Military Archive, Vienna.. Modified.