We’ve read that the Painted Cellar in Šatov is a must-see, so naturally we had to see it. The wine cellar with unique wall painting is definitely one of a kind and I dare to say that you will not find another cellar like this anywhere else in the world. The question remains, though: where is the wine?
Although the Painted Cellar (Malovaný sklep) is considered a wine cellar, there is a surprising lack of wine in this establishment. Yes, the cellar was never used for making wine, it used to be a fancy wine bar, but still… I believe that a wine cellar should primarily serve for storing or drinking of wine. The Painted Cellar does neither and, as a result, it has turned into more of a museum. Don’t get me wrong, though. It is still worth a visit!
The things we do for love…
What makes this cellar so special? As the name suggests, it is painted. The wall’s of this former VIP wine restaurant are decorated with 28 special pictures painted directly into the stone of the walls. All these pictures were made by one person, Maxmilian Appeltauer, who spent 34 years creating his masterpiece.
From 1934 until 1968, Maxmilian spent his evenings and Sundays decorating the cellar. As this was his leisure activity, Maxmilian worked completely for free. (Rumor has it that Maxmilian was in love with the owner’s daughter and wanted to impress his potential father-in-law, but it didn’t help him much. He never married the girl.) Painting the cellar certainly wasn’t easy. For starters, Maxmilian had only one arm. Also, there was no electricity in the cellar, and so he had to attach candles to his hat in order to see.
VIP guests and mysterious rooms
Visiting the Painted Cellar in Šatov is therefore mostly about admiring a man’s lifetime work. Due to the fragility of the paintings, visitors are not allowed to enter the cellar unsupervised and have to wait for a guide to take them. That is fine, because the guide can at least share a lot of gossip and stories related to the cellar’s previous owners, employees and customers. One of the cellar’s rooms decorated with pictures of naked ladies might suggest what some of these stories are about.
Our tour of the cellar was particularly interesting, because we were accompanied by several locals, who still remembered Maxmilian Appeltauer and other people associated with the cellar. One lady was especially happy to be there, because she used to visit the cellar as a child, but was never allowed to enter the aforementioned room adorned with paintings of nude women – however, at the time she didn’t know that was the reason why she wasn’t allowed to take a peek, and so she was glad the mystery of the forbidden chamber was finally solved.
No wine, please!
To sum up, going to the Painted Cellar is worth your time if you are in or near Znojmo. Unfortunately, wine isn’t one of the reasons you should visit. No wine is served in the cellar itself, which is a shame. On the other hand, maybe it is not… I tasted one glass of wine made by the current owners of the Painted Cellar and I must say it was not good, not good at all. So if you go, enjoy the view, avoid the wine and have a glass somewhere in Znojmo.