Stadium for the Excursion of the Czechoslovak Sokol Community to Pilsen
1929 (demolice 1929)

Plzeň-Bory (Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.7282236N, 13.3431925E

In the liberal democratic conditions of the First Czechoslovak Republic (1918–1938), the Sokol sports movement experienced unprecedented development. Many Sokol communities, especially in the Czech countryside, finally got their own, long-wished-for "tabernacle", the training process boomed, nearly two dozen professional journals were published, “Slet” rallies were held as well as numerous other festivals and excursions to other communities (including foreign ones).

In the spring and summer of 1929, the Pilsen Sokol organisation hosted an excursion of the Czech Sokol community. The local organisation, founded in 1863 (i.e. just one year after the establishment of the movement by Miroslav Tyrš and Jindřich Fügner in Prague), was among the oldest ones in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was also one of the first to build a grand Neo-Renaissance gymnasium in 1896, designed by Josef Podhajský, who was working at the local technical college. Adequate training facilities for a large group, up to several-thousand-strong, were not available though. Therefore, the architect Václav Neckář designed a large temporary stadium in the Bory district, more than 300 metres long and with a capacity of up to 22,000 spectators. Its simple wooden grandstands, accompanied by a music pavilion, vending stalls and changing rooms, were characterised by simplicity and austerity, entirely in the spirit of the period Functionalist trends in architecture. Pilsen Stadium is therefore seen as one of the first Modernist buildings in Pilsen, despite its temporary character (it was dismantled shortly after the rally; the Borská Pole shopping centre stands on the site today).

The grand social event connected with a ceremonial parade through the city and a number of other accompanying events were recorded on a filmstrip and a number of photographs. The show, which presented the exercise of girls and boys, women and men, culminated in an allegorical scene to ancient motifs, The Winner’s Mother, which intensified the almost theatrical character of the festivities. As was customary, the event was also attended by many notable figures, including the Czechoslovak president and devout member of the Sokol movement, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.

 


 

Investor

Czechoslovak Sokol Community

Sources

  • Slavné dny sokolstva v Plzni, NFA, http://film.nfa.cz/portal/avrecord/0060352, vyhledáno 30. 11. 2015.
 
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