Třebechovice pod Orebem - Běleč nad Orlicí

In a flat countryside on the connfluence of the rivers Orlice nad Dědina, 13 kilometres east of Hradec Králové, we can find a town of Christmas cribs, Třebechovice pod Orebem. It lies at an altitude of 243 metres and it is a home of 5, 800 people. The original settlement was established along the trade trail in the 1st half of the 14th century. Its owners were the lords of Dubá and the Trčeks from Lípa.

In the Hradec Králové Region there was a strong Hussite tradition. In 1419 representatives of the Hussite movement met in the Vinice Hill. They renamed the 260 metres high hill to Oreb and hence for they were called the Orebites. Later in the 16th century under the family of the Trčeks of Lípa a small wooden church was built here.

After the Battle of the White Mountain in 1620 the family of the Colloredos gained the domain. During their reign the counter-Reformation was particularly hard. In the 19th century the town began to recover from the war suffering, fires and oppression. Since 1849 Třebechovice has been a free town. The twentieth century brought a cultural and technological development. Nowadays, Třebechovice is a famous tourist attraction.

There is a Baroque column commemorating a plague, St. Trinity’s statue and a fountain from the year 1675 on the square. There is also a Roman Catholic St. Andrew’s Baroque Church. The old small church in Oreb was demolished and since 1835 the Church of Christ’s Body has been standing on its place.

The pride of the town is the Museum of Christmas cribs of Třebechovice. The national cultural monument Probošt’s mechanical Christmas crib of Třebechovice was built at the turn of the 19th and the 20th century and belongs among the most valuable treasures. The carved little figures can move and entire Christmas crib consists of 2,000 pieces. The museum also looks after collections and prints including rare hand written and illuminated “Writer’s Graduale“ from 1559.

Jan Theobald Held, doctor and rector of Charles University and Jan Blahoslav Čapek, Protestant literary scientist, philosopher and writer belong among the significant natives.

After the Toleration Patent was declared, the Protestants from Třebechovice and its surroundings joined the Reformed confession and at the beginning they belonged to the Klášter nad Dědinou congregation. A separate congregation in Třebechovice was founded on the 5th of May 1871.

A Neo-Romanesque Protestant church, a pride of the square in Třebechovice, was built by builder A. Nový from Rychnov nad Kněžnou in 1876–1880. The spacious church has two galleries, between two high windows in the apse there is a pulpit and the Lord’s table in front of it. The Lord’s table was made by a Třebechovice woodcarver J. Podstata. A room for prayer is nicely decorated, too. The rectory with the minister’s flat has reconstructed rooms for winter house of prayer and other rooms needed for the congregation activities. All these rooms can be found on the ground floor. Běleč nad Orlicí is a preaching station of the Třebechovice congregation.

The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) has a recreational centre here, it was founded in the 1920s at the bank of the Mlýnský pond by Hradec Králové minister Adolf Novotný and his wife. A Summer camp of Komenský was very popular among children and youth. They lived in country cottages, they could use small boats on the pond and nearby pine forests were goal for walks and games. Children spent here not only pleasant summer vacation but they also met for lectures which developed their spiritual live.

In 1951 the camp was closed by the communist authorities; and it was turned into a pioneer camp eleven years later. After November 1989 the complex was given back to the ECCB. There had been a lot of building alterations, a brick building and a dining room were built but country cottages remained. Today’s centre is used not only by children and young people including the handicapped people but also by individual families. Various courses and summer meetings of seniors are also held here.