A subterranean walk of delights
The privilege issued by Emperor Friedrich lll to the town of Retz in 1458 was the primary cause for the extension of its cellar vaults. This and subsequently issued privileges granted every citizen the legal right to trade with wine.
In accordance with the privilege issued by the Hungarian king Mathias Corvinus, ten suburban villages had to submit the fermented wine by Martini (November 11th) to Retz.
Thus already in the Middle Ages (like today) the wine was fermented in the cellars of the wine-growers. The town cellars were therefore only intended for the storage and maturing of wine. Every citizen who already possessed a cellar beneath his house began enlarging it according to his requirements. The majority of these cellars were not only extended length-wise, but also branched off into tunnels of various levels, creating split-level cellars with two or three “floors”. Most of the cellars in Retz are interconnected on one level, and altogether the cellars stretch to about double the surface of the streets above ground. A dimension merely alluding to the gigantic quantities of wine previously stored here!
Part of the cellars are as old as the town itself, which was founded in 1278 after the battle at Dürnkrut – Jedenspeigen. The cellars could be dug beneath the previously built town houses due to the geological situation: The town rests on a mighty 30 meter deep sea sediment of quartz sand, as it once was the coastal area of the Eggenburg Sea which, in the early tertiary period (Miocene), washed the eastern slope of the Bohemian granite-gneiss plateau as well as the present calvary hill in our area. The cellars were originally dug directly into the sand and neither supported nor brick-lined. Above the sand deposit is a comparatively thin layer of loam, protecting the cellars from precipitation. Due to the permanently moist sand, the air humidity is constant at 88% in the cellars, whereas the temperature ranges between 8 to 10 degrees Celsius. The ideal conditions for the storage of wine.
Office of the Tourist Association
Hauptplatz 30, 2070 Retz
May – October: daily 10.30 a.m., 2.00 p.m. and 4.00 p.m.
Nov., Dec., March, April: daily at 2.00 p.m.
January, February: sat., sun. und holidays at 2.00 p.m.
per person: € 10,-
groups (15 people and more): € 8,50
students: € 3,50
children under 6 years are free accompanied by their parents