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Telč was founded in the 14th century by the feudal lords of Hradec as a fortified settlement, with a castle separated from the town by a strong wall. The artificial ponds on each side of Telč provided security and a sure supply of fish. After a fire in 1530, Lord Zachariáš, then governor of Moravia, ordered the town and castle to be rebuilt in the Renaissance style by Italian masons.

After the death of Zachariáš in 1589, building activity ceased and the complex you see today is largely as it was then. The main square is unmarred by modern constructions, and the fire hall (náměstí Zachariáše z Hradce 28) is evidence of local concern to keep it that way.