Photo Album

Photography of Ancestral Towns & Villages

It has been several years now since Marie's father, and my friend, Standa left us. His love for the Czech Lands lives on in us, and his photographs have inspired us. These galleries are a small sample of the pictures we have taken, as we walk in his footsteps. The pictures posted here are intended to give our visitors a visual tour. Click on images to enlarge We hope that they will help you decide to visit and let us be you guides.


  1. Nature & Other Wonders
  2. Castles & Chateaus
  3. War Memorials
  4. Arts & Crafts
  5. People
  6. Events
  7. Grave Markers & Cemeteries
  8. Books & Films
  9. Churches & Religious Shrines
  10. Seasons


Nature & Other Wonders

Prague is known for it's hundreds of spires, a veritable trove of architectural wonders. Not so well known, but perhaps equally impressive the various natural landscapes. These are the products of a magnificent God and an industrious people. Thus, Nature & Other Wonders contains a pot-pourri of images that share our own fascination with this incredible landscape.

Velka Amerika - The Czech Republic's very own (man made) Grand Canyon Beronka River - The slow meandering river which cuts through the countryside West of Prague. Setting for the stories of Ota Pavel (How I came to Know Fish, and Death of Beautiful Deer)and home to Castles (Křivoklát and Karlštejn). Early 20th Century Hydro Electric on the Labe River. A truly ancient occupation, herding sheep in Slovakia. Loket - A poet's corner of Bohemia At rest in West Bohemia Luh at Branov - The remains of the day Near Mělník - A landscape full of surprises A robber's den - Kokořín - Enter a storied setting of enchantment and mystery Šarka - a fresh (cold!) water swimming hole in the Prague environs. A great place on a hot Summer day. Červene Klašter - Slovakia - where manmade meets majesty Springtime - on the road in Centralis Bohemia Crossing the Berounka River Near Bromouv, in the North, the hills near Aderšpach and Božina Němcová's youth. Prague Zoo is a wonder as well. Empty Streets of Prague...? Autumn in the country, time of turned soil and the first frost

Castles & Chateaus

These images are a small sample of the many symbols of wealth and power that castles, chateaus and parks represent. Their use varied, in times of peace and war. As well, most, if not all, have been reconstructed, some many times. They have withstood the ebb and flow of prosperity and neglect, to stand the test of time. Some, more defiant than others. Each, a symbol of towering aspirations, are windows through which we can witness the passing of time and history.

Křivoklát - Hands down, one of the most impressive castles still standing from the 13th century. Rábí - The place where Žižka lost his second eye. Hluboka Castle - Not a bad place to spend St. Valentine's evening.  Orlík - Perhaps it does not impress as much as Hluboka or Krumlov, but this one is still in the family... Helfštejn in Moravia, far from the din.... Valtice - Remarkable for wine and the surrounding park. Manětín - An attractive chateau West of Prague Česky Šternberk on the River Sazava. A great place to send off the Winter (see Čarodejnice Tour). Still home to one of the oldest families in the Czech lands. A Castle immortalized by the Poet Goethe. Let us show you why, with a hike to Karlovy Vary. The Vineyards above Troja in Prague

War Memorials

There is much to be learned from the monuments found in just about every town and village. The individual names of generations that fell on fields of battle. These monuments are a tool for family historians, useful to find death dates, and the names of relatives who died, some fighting one another. The monuments help when family names no longer remain in a place, but they can still be found here and in the cemeteries.

Punk is not dead in Stradonice. Here lays a victim of the culture wars. Nižbor on the Berounka River. A monument to the soldiers who fell in both World Wars. Čila - Even small villages have monuments to the lost generations from WW I & II. Skryje - WW I & II memorial for those who had fallen, in a quiet park beside a pond. Hradiště - A quiet little village above the Berounka River. Domažlice - WW II Memorial to US Serviceman Matt Konop Aš - Memorial to US Servicemen who fell during the Liberation of Czechoslovakia during WW II Lidice - Memorial to the children who were murdered by the fascist Nazi regime in retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich. At Koči near Chrudim. In this case the monument was created by the local Sokol. It includes a picture of the house where Jan Svoboda had been born, and the battle where he fell.     Vlčnov at Uherský Brod. Many people visit this village for an annual festival, The Ride of the Kings, which is listed by UNESCO as a Heritage Event. This monument has photos of the soldiers printed on porcelain disks.  Chlum in the Rokycany District, along the Berounka River, has its memorial in a beautiful setting, with a bench for those who wish to pay their respects. Chlum in the Rokycany District, along the Berounka River. This memorial is also unique, as it lists those young men from this village who fell by the side they fought for. Here we found two Šafraneks, from the same house, who fought on different sides. Vitkovice u Krkonoších. A mountain village, part of the Sudetenland in North Bohemia, has this three sided oblisque. A small village that lost so many young men during WWI. Kozojedi - A symbol of the grief of the widows and orphans left behind. Modrejovice - Massaryk's call to arms, Truth will Prevail Ujezd in Prague. This work by Olbram Zoubek is dedicated not only to those who were jailed or executed, but to all those whose lives were ruined by totalitarian despotism. Memorial to the Heroes of Heydrich Terror is located in underground of Ortodox cathedral of St. Cyril and Methodius in Resslova street. Massaryk Railway Station - Memorial to rail workers who fell in both wars of the 20th century. Velke Hycice - Memorials are in the center of many villages. The care of these monuments is what binds the inhabitants to the past, and hopefully to one another.

Arts & Crafts

If there is any truth to the expression, "a picture is worth a thousand words", then here is the evidence. Let these pictures speak for themselves about the masters who crafted such lasting expressions in stone, wood, mortar, clay, textile (lace), oil and ink. Indeed, if you visit just about any town, to wander through cobbled alley ways, there is no telling what your camera will find, or what stories those images will later conjure... To the patient observer, and dedicated searcher, further rewards wait inside the many galleries, old book stores, and museums.

Ceramics as Therapy - what better way to find joy and meaning, then to fill the garden with Clowns & Flowers. You may be surprised at what you may come across in the country.... A well known icon - The Prazdroj Brana The Botanical Garden & Historic Village at Ostra. A must see for families traveling with children. Easily accessible from Prague by train. There's nothing quite like shopping in the small town Bazars Noah - A proverbial family history gallery An Old Moravian Mill converted to an Inn - Art & Craft galore! Kuks - Nine of the twelve vises by Matias Braun  Shopping in Prague Nowy Sancz Poland - It is not unusual to see people dressed traditionally. Reviving an old tradition - Marionette Theater in the country There is both an art and a craft to hunting mushrooms.  Lace and Historic textiles are as good as gold (or in Bohemia - Crystal). Demonstrating the historic craft of paper making. Brewing Beer fuels the true Czech favorite pastime. No visit to the Czech Republic is complete without visiting at least a pub.


People are everywhere, in case you haven't already noticed. It's not easy to find places where you won't see them. Although we are rather averse to crowds, there is never enough time in life to spend in the company of those we love. One of our children's favorite books, "Lu and Swamp Ghost", makes the case that "you're not poor if you have family and at least one good friend". Thus, this page is dedicated to a few of the many people we are blessed to call our friends.

Randolph Stilson - The man behind the curtain... Librarian, archivist and genealogist, his role as teacher and patron cannot be overstated. Hasterman - Our renowned bicycle guide Tom & Marie - A rare moment at home together during the Summer. Hanka - Now on maternal leave (with a third child on the way), she had assisted as many families to discover lost relatives as any Pathfinder. Jan Pařez & Tom Zahn, working together since 1992 (not only in the archives...) The Children of Lidice - still living in our hearts, 
sadly no descendants will ever look for them Irena Novotna (nee Vesela) - teaching the world about dudy (Czech bagpipes) Eva & Valentina - Our first choice to hold down the fort in our absence... Richard Choleva - Ten years after guiding a wedding party through North East Slovakia (his birthplace) he continues to be a Pathfinder. Tereza - From Hradec Kralova, but in love with Moravia Very Important People - Marie and the girls... Marie at work, with patient, effective, and peaceful purpose. Truly the heart and soul of P.A.T.H. FINDERS...  Tom Zahn, Tomaš Biskup, Jan Pařez, at an all too infrequent meeting... Where's Marie? Kent Kasha - A friend who knows about beer and hockey Father's Day! Standa & Tom


In many ways events encompass all the previous pages, since events happen wherever there are mysterious Castles, wondrous Nature, playful Art & Architecture, and life loving People. This is the culmination of all the above, the events we were fortunate to participate.

Standa's dream from his earliest memories was to visit New York. For both of us, this was the event of a lifetime... Quite extraordinary street music (from Dvořak to Dixieland) just outside the Castle gates. Seasonal Festivals that celebrate the history of particular places (in this case Křivoklat Castle) Veselá vs. Novotny - Traditional Wedding near Strakonice Celebrating Easter by going door to door... Children's Camp - Just how important it is to play Praha - Prčice - an annual trek hosted by the Czech Touristic Club (the folks that mark the trails). One trail departs from Milevsko, and follows the path of many emigrants to America  Praha - Prčice take two... Looking for relatives in Ukraine Zofia, Ukraine - Everything is now Illuminated Witch Burning - April 30th - Some pagan rituals still thrive. Romance is everywhere... Ota Pavel's Hike (June)- In honor of the writer who taught me how to know fishermen in Bohemia... A film in progress - Three Musketeers

Grave Markers & Cemeteries

There are so many pictures we have taken of grave markers. When we travel to towns and villages, looking for some trace of prior generations, we regularly visit the cemetery. Here are some of the markers we have photographed, for those who are not be able to visit themselves. It is one objective of researching family history, beside finding relatives, to visit ancestral houses, and wandering through cemeteries where forebears rest. 

Teplice nad Metuji - The Czech border lands are strewn with villages, parish churches and cemeteries that had once been home to a sizable ethnic German population. After WWII the inhabitants were mostly expelled from their homes. We are touched by the porcelain photos, faces that have survived the test of time. These faces wait for their families to return and find them. Telice nad Metuji Teplice nad Metuji Teplice nad Metuji Teplice nad Metuji Albrechtice Albrechtice Albrechtice Albrechtice Vlachova Brezi - Jewish grave markers Narodní Hřbitov - Vyšehrad Prague Old Town Jewish Cemetery Franz Kafka's Grave - Prague New Town Olšanské Hřbitov Šafov Jewish Cemetery Moravia Šafov Jewish Cemetery Moravia Šafov Jewish Cemetery Moravia The Family Grave for Vaclav Havel. There are constantly lit candles, flowers and messages. The final resting place of Vaclav and Olga Have in Prague's Vinohrady Cemeteryl. Vinohrady Cemetery in Prague Budeč near Prague where the cemetery surrounds one of the oldest remaining churches in the country. The grave markers here are extraordinary. Národní Hřbitov at Vyšehrad Národní Hřbitov at Vyšehrad Národní Hřbitov at Vyšehrad Národní Hřbitov at Vyšehrad Národní Hřbitov at Vyšehrad - a quiet place to reflect on the history of the Czech nation.

Books & Films

These are titles from our library that we frequently suggest to visitors. If you're interested in learning about Czech history and heritage, through literature and film, we hope you will find something of interest here. Most of the titles can be found on line, while some are rare, as limited numbers were published (i.e., village histories). Others are useful to better understand an eclectic assortment of topics (i.e., religion, technology, architecture, politics, culture, poetry and art). For a more detailed description for some of these titles, please visit the "Library" page.

This is an example of one of many local histories in our collection. In the case of Čermna, it covers both Dolni and Horni. A number of its former inhabitants went in search of a new life in the Americas. This book is hard bound, glossy paper with B&W and color pictures, along with maps and detailed description of the history, in Czech language. Brno's History cannot possibly be contained in a book of only 120 pages. But this condensed history, in English, complimented color and B&W illustrations is a wonderful way to prepare for a visit, and further exploration of the Czech Republic's second city. Published in 2009 by K-public and Jiří Krejčí. ISBN:978-80-87028-07-0 This paperback booklet, in A4 format, contains a wealth of color photographs of the interiors, natural surroundings and festive events that portray daily life in this not so sleepy corner of Moravia. This 55 page booklet is sure to entice even those without roots in this area to visit. Czech language.  This small 47 page booklet, with B&W and color pictures, is a guide to the Museum of Puppetry in Chrudim. It contains a brief history of this theater craft, as well as a contemporary perspective. English language. Three plays by the late Vaclav Havel. Before he was President of the Czech Republic he wrote for the stage. These 3 are short, poignant, barely disguised autobiographical snapshots from the life of the author. Ota Pavel's beautiful autobiographic description of his childhood. An idyllic telling of the dark days of WWII, in a village occupied by fear of the Nazi occupation, through the eyes of a child. English language translation, suitable for children. What is to be the descendant of Czech immigrants to America? Pat Martin, one of the driving forces at the Czech Village in Cedar Rapids, helps us to answer this through pictures, recipes and description of folk arts, faith and community. Published by Penfield in 1989, 176 pages. ISBN 0-941016-61-7 Informative and beautifully illustrated book by Jiří Bloch. This was published as a catalogue to the collections of the Český Krumlov museum of architecture and crafts. Noteworthy for the passion of the author, collecting and preserving doors, windows, hinges, handles, locks, interior stencils and more.  Jaroslav Pánek, Oldřich Tůma and others pour considerable detail into 639 pages. Organized chronologically into chapters that focus on the military, socioeconomic and political events which shaped the Czech Lands. Published by Charles' University in Prague, 2009. Translated to English by Justin Quinn, Petra Key, and Lea Bennis. Zdeněk Jirotka's classic romp through the First Republic Czech upper class. Translated into English in 2006 by Mark Corner, and illustrations by Adolf Born. This is simply a fun read, also a film, that makes for a wonderful distraction into times gone by. A story full of whit and humor, and perhaps a rare glimpse into the Czech spirit. Jiří Hájíček's award winning romance/detective story about researching in the Czech archives. For readers with roots in Bohemia, they may be thrilled by the author's descriptions of sources and the mysteries of working in historical documents. Published in 2005. Translated to English by Gale A. Kirking. This is one of many recently published biographies of one of the truly great Czech athletes, perhaps of all time. Today We Die a Little by Richard Askwith is not just a story about Emil Zátopek's many awards. It is a riveting story about his life, and the fall from grace during the darkest days of Sadly, books like this are rarely ever translated to English. Novostrašecká kronika, by Václav Preinheltr for the years 1801-1834, is yet another chronicle transcribed by historian Jan Černý, unfortunately in the Czech language only. Fortunately there is a summary, but the vast majority of details that would be of interest to anyone with roots from Nové Strašecí must be translated. Nevertheless, this is another gold mine for historical data. Published in 2008 by the District Archives in Rakovnik. A local history of the small town of Jimramov in the heart of the Czech Moravian Highlands. Published on the event of the towns 650 anniversary in 2011 by a collection of authors in Czech. Hard bound, 183 pages, with a wealth of B&W and color pictures illustrating the history of the town. A book that came to us via a family we worked with. What it lacks in detail about the old country, is made up in its detailed description about community, school, church and family. These were the ingredients necessary for survival in the new world. Written by Robert Skrabanek and published by Texas A & M University Press in 1988. On the Edge is a well researched and in depth study of the war years, and in particular the years immediately following the WWII. Igor Lukes uses materials from the archives of the US Embassy in Prague to write a compelling argument that the roots for the Cold War had already found fertile ground in the chaos and lack of a clear US objective concerning the future of Czechoslovakia at the end of the war.   This is a 62 page brochure in A4 format written by Ivan Dukovicky, the Czech Cultural Attaché to the US, on the occasion of an exhibition in Prague celebrating A great historical journal of the first generation of Czechs in the Americas.

Churches & Religious Shrines

It was overwhelming, to combine so many pictures of Castles, along with Churches. We therefore created this separate category. Here, in churches and religious shrines, are the images that we found extraordinary. We respect the wishes of many locations, to not post pictures of the interiors. Otherwise, we give the names and locations of the churches, chapels, and shrines.  

Klášter servitů Rabštejn nad Střelou - A Baroque gem in the Western Region, about 1.5 hours by car from Prague Kostel Nejsvětější Trojice - Valeč, West of Prague, in the Karlovy Vary District
Nearby, there is a Calvary, with the Stations of the Cross. Sváta Horá at Přibram - A Redemptorist Pilgrimage Shrine a short distance from Prague Kostel Nejsvětější Trojice at Valeč in West Bohemia's Karlovy Vary District - A dated look at an otherwise overlooked gem. It has been very nicely reconstructed in recent years. Church of Saint Giles in Uhlířské Janovice, a gothic gem that survived the turbulent reformation and counter reformation of the Hussite wars and The 30 Years War. Milevsko - Premonstratensian (Norbertine) Monastery now in the news for the recent discovery of some precious relics (including a nail that is reported to have been from the crucifixion of Christ). Sts. Peter & Paul Rotunda at Budeč near Prague A statue on the path to Marianský Tynec, welcomes pilgrims traveling on the Way of St. James (Svatojakubska cesta).    The Cistercian Monastery, Marianský Tynec, is a Baroque masterpiece designed by Jan Blažej Santini. The Monastery and Church are recently renovated, home to a remarkable museum and an cloister garden called Paradise.    Augustinian Monastery in Brno Church of Sts. Cyril & Method in Prague's Karlin neighborhood. St. Bartholomej in Koči, Estern Bohemia Kozojedy - Western Bohemia The crypt below St. Prokop in Třebíč Church of St Vaclav in Kovanice on the Labe River


Winter - Here are some scenes, of many , from just a few years back. I will limit myself, while coincidentally reminding myself, just how the Winters fly... Winter does not come with the fall of the first flakes of snow. It starts in the home, and sometimes on the road. It is mostly the time of the year when we have time for one another. The pictures are chosen to illustrate just how warm it can really be, even if it's cold outside...

Winter - A time to take shelter. In the area of Broumy there are several churches, still standing as defiantly as the trees. Aderšpach Cliffs, with its treacherous stairs. But oh so wonderfully quiet and empty.  Görlitz - The coldest day of the year could not dampen our enthusiasm to be welcomed here. Görlitz - This is one of the few places where we feel at home, and return to as often as we can. It cannot be Winter without the many sweets. ... or Hockey Rokycany at Prague - Masopust masquerade and parade. On snowy backdrop, the colors lift everyone's spirits Speaking of spirits, we use the same tree for as many years as it can still fit our house. Then we plant it, and watch it grow... Prague Castle - Even without snow, it is majestic. Passage Antonius in Old Town - While other parts of Prague are majestic, in their own qwerky ways. Sometimes it feels just like Dublin... Year after year the birds return to our yard, where they know there is always something good for them. An annual tradition, the feast of St. Nicholas, to warm the souls of children young and old... And more hockey...