Hradec nad Moravicí, CZECH REPUBLIC — With its 5,489 people, Hradec nad Moravici is unknown even to the citizens of my country.
That, of course, is no surprise.
My town is a riddle. When you pay close attention to its name, you already know its greatest beauties and prides.
Hradec-comes from the word hrad, a castle in English.
Nad means above.
And Moravice is the name of the river that flows through my town.
A castle above the river.
There are many parts of Hradec which deserve to be adored but my heart has been significantly struck only by a few.
Many people come to my town to see our castle and just pass through its gardens. But for me, it is the gardens that comfort me. They’re not something that just surrounds the castle, adding to its beauty.
I come to the castle to spend time in the gardens, just to wander around.
The castle simply reminds me of how the air is filled with history.
There are only two statues in the gardens.
One is of Beethoven, to whom I always offer an imaginary bow. The other is of a woman at whom I always smile.
Right behind that woman is an ancient-looking bridge that can be passed by with as few as five steps.
Many people choose to walk around this bridge. But it is this place in which I most believe that a duchess could have walked the same path.
The place I love the most is also the most abandoned.
It’s hidden from the eyes of people who just slip by. It’s always in the shadow.
It has a stone bench underneath a large tree.
That’s my place for reading and single-member picnics.
Since the castle is located on a hill, there are incredible views of the river passing in the valley and all the tree-covered hills.
These views are the faithful listeners of my under-my-breath recitations of Shakespeare, Austen, Tolkien, Goethe and more.
Even though Hradec nad Moravicí is hidden from the world, there are still places that remain hidden even to most of its people.
My grandmother and grandfather live on a high spot where the sun always shines the brightest and the wind blows the strongest.
Behind their garden is a steep field. There is nothing special about this field except for one thing: At its high point, there is a single tree, my grandmother‘s and mine.
When I was little we used to have picnics there and my grandmother would always hug the tree. I think that my grandma is a part of the tree and the tree is a part of her.
From this spot, there is a view on the whole town, good and bad.
One can also see another hill which is covered with white chapels.
There’s a view of the red castle gate and its white tower.
There’s a view of the endless forests and tiny houses.
I spent the whole of last spring there reading Jane Eyre.
Rivers are often the subject of great poems, paintings and photographs. Ours is no exception.
Although Moravice is not crystal clear like the beauties of Austria, it still has its magic.
As Ted Hughes said: Everything is on its way to the river.
I’d say it’s true, at least for my town. No matter where you go, you always find yourself at the river.
The river is interwoven through the whole town. It is its vein.
I love these places dearly but the true thing that makes this little town feel like my home is my family, with its unconditional support of my grandparents, the love of my parents and the laughter of my little brother.
Viktorie Goldmannová is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.