Besednice (Czech pronunciation: [ˈbɛsɛɟɲɪtsɛ]) is a market town (městys) in the Český Krumlov district in the South Bohemian region of the Czech Republic.
The city covers an area of 16.1 square kilometers (6.2 square miles) and has a population of 867 (as of August 28, 2006).
Besednice is located approximately 19 kilometers (12 miles) east of Český Krumlov, 22 km (14 miles) south of České Budějovice, and 145 km (90 miles) south of Prague.
The landscape around Besednice is also known as a site of Moldavites (an opaque olive-green or greenish glassy substance). Visitors can appreciate the typical architectural style of the common town. This style is well known as popular baroque and is distinctive in the southern Bohemian villages.
Of all the Moldavites, the Besednice (pronounced bes ed net sa) “Hedgehog” (also known as “pig”) is the most sought after. No other locality comes close to the deep sculpture of these beautiful and delicate girls. Some are wafer-thin, so delicate that you can’t believe they were mined from their dirt and sand and survived 14.5 million years intact.
The deeply and intricately sculpted pigs come from one place and one place only, Besednice. Once you have seen a real hedgehog, you will never be fooled by a fake. Other sources within sight of this small area lack this incredible detail. This pattern also holds vertically: even within this special locality, specimens to the top 3 meters or so are not as ornate. At approximately 4 meters, the water table is located, and the large volumes of water that flood the wells make further excavation difficult. It is on this level that the Besednice Moldavite was found.
The clay pits in Besednice, Czech Republic, were closed for nine years until 2004/2005, when a mechanized operation began cleaning the remaining hedgehogs; many were broken during this heavy-handed process when dirt was thrown on a tape allowing sand to fall through. Then the small stones and the remaining sand were washed and the hedgehogs were collected by hand. The mining operation was shut down as Moldavite hunters digging under the 10-foot banks were encroaching on protected forest land (and killing themselves). People who were providing additional income for their families by excavating these precious gems are now selling to their “guardians”. When they are gone, they are gone. Recent photos from Besednice show the ancient area mined behind broken fences and with brush and scrub beginning to regenerate, a sad sight considering how much wealth has been extracted from the land.
Where to buy Besednice Moldavites?
The opportunity to purchase a high quality real Besednice hedgehog is rare – we have a very small number available from private collections and we do not anticipate being able to get more. I understand that the owner of the now closed mine will not even sell anything from his private collection; He can see the value rise and so can we. These are truly a phenomenon of nature that is unlikely to be repeated anywhere else in the Czech Republic. Every hedgehog purchased will feature prominently in anyone’s collection and may never be offered on the market again. I cannot stress enough that these gems will disappear from the market forever, the only chance you will have to marvel at them is in museums and you will probably have to fly to the Czech Republic to see them there.