The History of the Town
The first written record of Mikulov dates back to 1173. The population of Mikulov was 2,500 in 1414, at which time the town was comprised of a relatively small centre enclosed by ramparts with large suburbs outside the walls. Fires in the inner town in 1536 and 1561 almost entirely destroyed the town’s Gothic buildings.
The town of Mikulov was first developed as the centre of the estate by the Liechtensteins in 1249–1560. The Dietrichsteins ruled here in the years 1575–1945 and the town enjoyed its greatest boom during this time. The new Renaissance conversion of Mikulov came to a climax after 1575. The priest, cardinal and Bishop of Olomouc Franz von Dietrichstein was a highly significant figure in the history of the town. He systematically reshaped the town architecturally, economically and culturally after he took over the estate in 1611 to create a residence worthy of his position in the state. He was responsible for Mikulov’s transformation from a small provincial town into the most important town in Moravia at that time. His love of Italian Renaissance culture and his resulting choice of architects and builders gave the town an entirely new appearance. The promising development of Mikulov was put to a halt by the town’s capture and occupation by the Swedes in 1645, followed by the negative consequences of the Turkish and Hungarian wars and the destructive fires of 1663 and 1719.
Building work in Mikulov continued, however, with architects and artists with illustrious names such as Johann Bernard Fischer of Erlach, Lukas Hildebrant and, later, Ingnác Lengelacher working here. The most destructive fire in the history of Mikulov, in which more than 350 buildings were destroyed, seriously impaired the Baroque appearance of the town in 1784. The town’s houses were adapted very slowly and modestly after the fire. Nevertheless, Mikulov had 7,440 inhabitants living in 760 houses at the end of the eighteenth century.
Construction of the railway, a new transport connection between Brno and Vienna via Břeclav, in the middle of the nineteenth century took Mikulov off the main network of trading routes which resulted in the gradual depopulation of the town. The majority of the people who left Mikulov went to Vienna. The town become home to the district office and district court following the abolition of the patrimonial authorities in 1848.
22 April 1945 was one of the saddest days in the history of the town, when Mikulov Chateau burnt down practically to the ground. The sensitive renovation of the chateau was performed from plans by architect Otakar Oplatek who also contributed to the construction of residential buildings in the town destroyed during the war.
The most severe impact of the events of the war and the approach taken to the town’s historical heritage after the war was felt by the western part of the historical centre of town with the Jewish Quarter, where the sweeping demolition of around 227 buildings, including the Lower Synagogue, was performed in the nineteen sixties. All that survived was part of the original building work in Husova Street. Mikulov continued to expand from the nineteen sixties onwards, mostly to the southwest where large-scale construction of prefabricated apartment buildings of three and four stories was performed. An industrial zone was built on a less exposed location to the west of the town. Mikulov has been a grade-three local authority since the reforms to the public administration in 2003.
The town’s geographical location made it a place where cultural and religious currents and various ethnics groups came together, and their legacy can be clearly seen in the town to this day. A significant Jewish community, which was one of the strongest in Moravia, began to emerge here from the middle of the fifteenth century alongside the Czechs and Germans. In 1526, Mikulov was the first town in the Czech Lands where almost a hundred Baptists or Anabaptists settled and lived.