Silver-mining town in Sazava region named Czech Republic's 'Historic Town of the Year'

Prizes for individual restoration projects also went to a brick bridge near Mikulov and a bastion at the Evangelical Church in Čáslav.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 23.06.2021 13:04 (updated on 23.06.2021)

Havlíčkův Brod has been named the Historic Town of the Year for the best care of its cultural monuments in 2020. Havlíčkův Brod Deputy Mayor Libor Honzárek accepted the CZK 1 million for further care for the town’s heritage at a ceremony in the Pantheon of the National Museum in Prague.

The competition – organized by the Association of Historic Settlements of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia (SHSČMS) as well as the Ministries of Culture and Regional Development – recognizes the best use of subsidies from the Program for Regenerating Urban Monument Reserves and Zones. The program combines state, municipal and owner money for repairs.

The towns of of Kutná Hora and Žatec received the Minister for Regional Development Award, which comes with CZK 100,000.

Havlíčkův Brod Deputy Mayor Honzárek is also chairman of the SHSČMS. After receiving the award he said that he did not feel favored by his work in the association. “We started preparing for the extensive revitalization of the town center 16 years ago, and about 10 years ago, the first stage of the renovation of the main square in Havlíčkův Brod was completed,” Honzárek said.

He stressed that projects take a long time.

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“It is important to have a clear goal, to find a list of gradual tasks, to agree with all stakeholders, meaning the designer, the city that pays for it, the monument institute, the network administrator, the owners of the buildings. … It is necessary to make quality preparation and then follow the plan," he said.

“In the past 10 years or so, we have invested about CZK 300 million in the revitalization of the municipal monument zone, of which about CZK 50 million were subsidies. We gave a quarter of a billion crowns from the city's own funds,” he said.

Havlíčkův Brod (photo via iStock -
Havlíčkův Brod (photo via iStock - Janek)

Havlíčkův Brod, located in the Vysočina region on the Sazava river, has a population of about 23,000. Until 1945 was known as Německý Brod, or German Crossing. After World War II, it was renamed in honor of writer Karel Havlíček Borovský, who was born nearby and attended school there.

The discovery of silver brought German miners there starting in the 13th century, Due to the Hussite Wars, the majority of the population became Czech after 1429. A number of famous figures come from the town including ice hockey player Jan Suchý and artist Jan Zrzavý.

Finalists this year for the Historic Town of the Year included the Prague 1 district, Prachatice, Ivančice, Cheb, Opočno, Dubá, Frenštát pod Radhoštěm, Olomouc, Vysoké Mýto, Horažďovice, and Holešov.

Pavel Jerie received the Ministry of Culture Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Monument Care . He has been working in the field for over five decades, has held many leading positions, and was a professional guarantor of, among other things, the renovation of the Historical Building of the National Museum. Many renovations of historic buildings he supervised have won awards, including the Europa Nostra European Cultural Heritage Award, considered the Oscar of monument care.

Brick bridge at Letohrádek Portz. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, RomanM82, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Brick bridge at Letohrádek Portz. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, RomanM82, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The annual Monument of the Year prizes went to the renovation of a bastion by the Evangelical Church in Čáslav, Central Bohemia, and the renovation of a brick bridge at Letohrádek Portz near Mikulov, South Moravia.

The reconstructed bastion won in the category of smaller restorations costing up to CZK 2 million. The prize of CZK 50,000 was accepted by Čáslav Evangelical Church curator Václav Homolka. The restored bridge, which was completely lost in the local vegetation, won in the category of larger reconstructions costing over CZK 2 million. The CZK 100,000 prize was accepted by Mikulov Deputy Mayor Sylva Chludilová.

The prize is awarded for the best restoration of movable and immovable property that has significant monumental, architectural or urban values. Castles, chateaux, churches, town halls, theaters, residential buildings, as well as brownfields, parks, statues, organs and other arts and crafts are evaluated. This year, 46 buildings entered the competition.

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