Townhouses / Gate / Town Hall
The two-story town-gate tower was built in 1526. It received its castellated top in the 17th century. To meet the requirements of modern car traffic, in 1967 the archway has been extended. On this occasion a thorough restoration of the tower was carried out by the graduated restorer Ludwig Peyscha. Onto the new ceiling of the archway he painted a copy of the painting from 1693 which previously was destroyed in the course of the works on the Upper Town Gate. The paintings show the Coat of Arms of the emperor, of the City of Weitra and of the Fürstenberg dynasty. And he again added the old saying "God preserve the city" on the east wall of the tower. The square in front of the gate was embanked only in the Seventies where before was the old city moat. The Baroque statue of St. John of Nepomuk was created in 1724 by Friedrich Wilhelm Stiller from Vienna.
Holy Trinity Column
The Holy Trinity Column (2) was built from 1747 to 1748 by Johann Walser from Budweis. Besides the Immaculata, the column carries statues of the three Roman Catholic saints Sebastian, Florian and Rochus. A statue of the Holy Trinity crowns the beautiful baroque column. The successfully restored house in Kirchengasse (church lane) #93 shows a flat bay resting on two corbels.
The magnificent “sgraffito”-house at the main square (Rathausplatz 4) deserves special attention.
Built in the Renaissance period, its facade is covered with ornaments and picture stories – among them are scenes from legendary early Roman history as presented by Livy. This Roman poet lived from 59 until 17 b.C.. The term “sgraffito” describes a technique of scratching pictures and ornaments out of two-layer facade plaster. The representations on the second floor come with two inscription lines (one above it, one below), whilst to the pictures in the first floor one line of inscriptions refers (below the images). Top left we see Horatius Cocles defending the Tiber bridge alone against attacking Etruscans. Meanwhile the Romans demolish the bridge to block the way. The second illustration shows how the brave armed Marcus Curtius jumps on horseback into a deep gap which has opened up right in the Roman Forum; according to an oracle it will disappear as soon as the Romans would donate the most valuable item they possess. The third picture shows the murder of the Roman king Tarquinius Priscus. He had seized the throne by usurpation.
Two hired shepherds have provoked a dispute with the intention to be sent to the king's court for trial; they want to use this occasion to kill him. The right-side representations of both floors were unfortunately destroyed in later times by the insertion of windows. On the left side of the first floor we see the death of King Hieronymus of Syracuse during the Second Punic War (218-201 b.C.). He had bolted from Rome and then became a victim of military conspiracy. In addition, the story of the treacherous schoolmaster of Falerii is told. This city is besieged by the Romans. The schoolmaster has resorted to a ruse, bringing the sons of citizens of Falerii into the enemy's town. He wants the enemy to take them as hostages. After the Romans have rejected this shameful offer, the students chase the schoolmaster with rods blows back to Falerii. The next picture shows Lucius Verginius, who murdered his own daughter to keep Appius Claudius from molesting her. The bottom series of images shows us this man in each decade of his life and compares him in each phase with an animal: the 10 years' old boy is compared to a goat, the young chap of 20 years is compared to a veal, the man of 30 years to an ox, the 40 years' old to a lion, the man of 50 to a fox . The 60 years' old man is represented by a wolf, the man of 70 by a dog, the 80 years' old by a cat, the old man of 90 years by a donkey, and finally the 100 years old man by a goose.
All motives from Livy's tales presented on the facade of the “sgraffito”-house are based on illustrations from the hand of the artists Johann Bocksberger, Jun. and Jost Amman which were first published in a Latin and German edition of Livy's tales but were published as a picture book a second time in 1573; and this year is the terminus post quem for the sgraffito decorations at Weitra. Accordingly, the date 1540 inscribed on the facade would have to be corrected. The above-mentioned illustrations of Bockberger and Amman were frequently quoted in sgraffito decorations, paintings and stucco work in Austria, but especially in neighboring Bohemia.
The town hall was built by the Weitra-based company of the master-builder Ignaz Knapp 1892-93 according to the plans of architect Josef Utz from Krems.
The ceiling fresco in this interesting building was created by Wolfram Köberl in 1956. It depicts the founding legend of the city Weitra: Vít z Prčic hands over to each of his five sons a rose which symbolizes one of the five cities he has founded: Gratzen, Trebon, Neuhaus, Krummau (all in Bohemia), and Weitra.
Cistern at the Main Square (Rathausplatz)
In the Middle Ages this water reservoir was created for the city. The early Gothic vault is fed by three sources: from rain water that seeps in from above, from groundwater, which appears despite the rocky location, and from water that used to spill over from a well at the inn which originally could be found above the cistern.
PDF-Download: Rundgang_durch_die_Stadt_bis_Stadtpfarrkirche.PDF (German)