Bolevecká náves / Bolevec Village Green

(Bolevec) Plzeň Bolevec
GPS: 49.776941, 13.376092

Prefabricated blocks of flats and two busy roads in the Pilsen Northern Suburb hide a set of rural homesteads arranged around an elongated village green and several adjacent streets. It remains the only surviving part of the core of the village, which was the largest in Bohemia with more than 5,500 inhabitants at the time of its annexation to Pilsen in 1942. Most of the other houses outside the centre of old Bolevec were replaced by construction of the Bolevec housing estate at the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s, a project that emerged according to the City of Pilsen’s technocratic urban plan starting in 1966. Demolitions were carried out in order to extend Lidická and Karlovarská Avenues. The centre of the village has been preserved mainly thanks to the efforts of Pilsen conservationists and Bolevec’s patriotic residents.

The first mention of the village of Bolevec dates back to 1382. In the 15th century it was bought by the town of Pilsen with the intention of establishing a network of ponds there, as pond management was one of the most profitable forms of business at that time. In the second half of the 19th century the original solely agricultural character of the village began to change fundamentally. There was a rapid increase in population as a result of the industrialisation of the nearby town of Pilsen, accelerating the development of local infrastructure. A new road led through the village and a railway and a tram line were created nearby. As early as 1811 a single-class school was founded in Bolevec with classes instructed in the Czech language. The school was first housed in an ordinary cottage; construction of a school building on the western edge of the village green commenced in the late 19th century. Other socially important buildings emerged at the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s – the Folk House, which became the centre of activities for local associations, the Bolevec Sokol House, which was the focal point of social life for people from various surrounding areas, and the new Masaryk Municipal School building (C16–550), designed by architect Hanuš Zápal.

The dynamically growing village gradually approached the boundaries of Pilsen’s former SaskéSuburb and was incorporated into Pilsen three years after the outbreak of World War II. The revolutionary year of 1948 marked a major turn for the local people – the nationalisation of land began and a local agricultural cooperative farm was established. The biggest intervention, however, came in the 1970s, when the whole village was nearly destroyed due to the construction of the housing estate. Historically valuable sites were to be replaced by a park, and only the "U Matoušů" farm was to remain.

However, historical-construction research by architect Jiří Škabrada recommended that the core of Bolevec be preserved. A public architecture competition was organised to make proposals on how to integrate and use this historical enclave in the context of a modern housing estate. Based on the selected project and the subsequent expert discussion, the old buildings – in contrast to the nearby blocks of flats and the "shapeless" public space – were left to serve as an area of leisure and cultural events. Paradoxically, the field of culture was the area in which the former Bolevec village suffered the greatest loss, when the Folk House was demolished at the end of the seventies due to the expansion of Plaská Avenue. In 1985, several valuable wayside crosses originally located in the surrounding area were moved to the village green. After 1989, the whole area was declared a historical conservation site.

All buildings located on an irregular trapezoidal ground plan bordered by Studentská, Plaská, Nýřanská and Kaznějovská streets are involved in the heritage conservation scheme. The green itself forms the focus and the longitudinal axis of that territory. After several dozen meters, the narrow road from which the square extends from the east splits into two arms, giving the larger part of the ground plan the shape of a triangle with its base in the west. Hynaisova, Vondruškova and U Kašny Streets lead away from this side of the village.

Most of the preserved estates date back to the 19th century when brickworks replaced the original and predominantly wooden constructions. Some of the buildings have been declared individual cultural monuments due to the value of their historical-construction development. These include buildings such as timbered house No. 10, the construction of which likely dates back to the 18th century, or the premises of house No. 7, complete with a unique granary with sgraffito decoration from the second half of the 16th century. Historically speaking, the most significant building is house No. 1, "U Matoušů", which had already been declared a cultural monument in the 1950s and in 2008 became a national cultural heritage site thanks to the extraordinarily well-preserved condition of the whole complex. The National Heritage Institute has been planning its complete reconstruction now for some time.

Today, thanks to the work of the Bolevec Natives Association, the social and cultural life in the picturesque backdrop of the Bolevec village is now being restored. In cooperation with the Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Association organises many events related to the folk traditions of the Pilsen countryside or the commemoration of historic moments in the history of the defunct village and of the whole nation. This care for intangible wealth is just as important in the fight against the loss of historical memory as the reconstruction of the buildings themselves. Bringing the atmosphere of the rural life of Bolevec’s original inhabitants back to life makes it possible to preserve at least a partially authentic memory of the once significant village of Bolevec for the next generation.
 

MR

Sources

  • Eva Aubrechtová, Bolevecká náves – místo paměti a identity v kontextu změn urbanismu (diplomová práce), katedra antropologie FF ZČU, Plzeň 2014, str. 45–49, 78–80.
  • Vyhláška č. 249/1995 Sb., Zákony pro lidi.cz, https://www.zakonyprolidi.cz/cs/1995-249, vyhledáno 17. 12. 2017.
  • Národní památkový ústav. Památkový katalog, http://www.pamatkovykatalog.cz/?mode=fulltext&region%5B0%5D=Plzeňský+kraj&county%5B0%5D=Plzeň-město&municipality%5B0%5D=Plzeň&municipalityPart%5B0%5D=Bolevec&order=relevanc
 
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