Luftova zahrada / Luft Garden

(Plzeň) Plzeň Doudlevce
GPS: 49.717052, 13.380695

Luft Garden, located on the right bank of the Radbuza River in the České údolí valley in the immediate vicinity of the Tyrš Bridge, is a valuable example of the garden art of the interwar era in Pilsen. The first ones to cultivate this place were Vilém and Juliana Burger in the years 1886-1909. Within this adaptation, two garden houses and ponds for fish farming were built here (this is where the traditional name of the place "Rybárna"/”Fish shop” comes from), fed from the adjacent stream leading into the Radbuza.

In 1912, the widowed Juliana Burger bequeathed the garden to her nephew Vilém Luft, a Pilsen based lawyer, who soon began to transform a rather utilitarian garden into a residential and ornamental one. As part of this adaptation, the space was adorned with a new octagonal gazebo and, gradually, sculptures by the Pilsen sculptor Otokar Walter, such as the statue of the water nymph Rusalka (1914) and the Mask of the Water Gnome (1926), inspired by the opera by Antonín Dvořák. The plant variety was enriched by a number of exotic woods - cypresses, rhododendrons, yews and tsugas. Vilém Luft also planned to build his own villa in the back of the garden. However, this intention, which was to accomplish the generous transformation of the place, was never approved by the Building Authority.

In 1920 Vilém Luft died and the garden was passed on to his daughter Helena. However, she died shortly afterwards as well, and after her death the garden became the possession of her mother, the Vilém’s widow, Marie Luftová. The ponds were used by Vilém's brother Stanislav Luft as an intermediate fish depot to supply the Pilsen shops of his company “Fish Luft”. Marie Luftová attempted to prevent the impending nationalisation of the garden after 1945 by donating the place to one of her relatives. However, the opposition of the state, which wanted to gain a valuable location and set up a public park with a nature reserve there, prevented it. Under the threat of expropriation, Marie Luftová finally sold the garden to the state in 1959.

The garden was then temporarily used by the House of Children and Youth, and later by the Union of Allotment and Leisure Gardens, which operated a cider mill in one of the garden houses. Nevertheless, the garden gradually fell into disrepair due to lack of necessary care. However, this saved the garden, as her original concept has not been distorted by any major interventions to this day. In 1991, the Luftovka property came into the possession of the City of Pilsen. When in 1996 the owners of the surrounding lots began to complain about the neglected condition of the garden, the city entrusted it to the Public Property Administration of the City of Pilsen (SVSMP). In the years 1996-1998, it took the most necessary steps to remedy the situation, and since 1998 has provided regular maintenance of the garden. The conceptual design for a thorough revitalisation of the site, prepared by the SVSMP in 2002, has been implemented only in gradual steps due to lack of finances.

Thus, in 2015, five years after the garden was opened to the public, a replica of an octagonal gazebo with green glazed roofing was fitted to its original location. In the garden, whose character makes the wetland and hydrophilic communities of plants and animals stand out, the original paths have been restored and new rare trees planted. The restoration of the premises also involved installation of railings with a balustrade in the form of chess figures and a replica of the Rusalka and Water Gnome Mask sculptures, created by sculptor Jakub Orava according to historical photographs. The environment was newly complemented by ceramic figural sculptures by the duo Jaroslav Pleskal – Savvas Vojatzoglu or metal heraldic signs of an angel, greyhound and camel by Ľudovít Strelka.

At present, the Luft Garden, possessing the status of an important landscape element and a part of the regional TSES wildlife corridor, hosts occasional social, cultural and educational events (including botanical and dendrological excursions or environmental education). In 2009, a proposal was filed to declare the garden as a cultural monument.


JČ – MK ­– PK

Sources

  • Jaroslav Nedvěd, Podívejte se do výjimečné Luftovy zahrady, míří tam tisíce Plzeňanů, iDNES.cz, https://plzen.idnes.cz/podivejte-se-do-vyjimecne-luftovy-zahrady-miri-tam-tisice-plzenanu-1p3-/plzen-zpravy.aspx?c=A110901_104842_plzen-zpravy_alt, vyhled
  • Luftova zahrada. Malá zahrada velkého města, Křížky a vetřelci, http://krizkyavetrelci.plzne.cz/katalog/soubor/4/, vyhledáno 19. 9. 2017.
  • Altán, Křížky a vetřelci, http://krizkyavetrelci.plzne.cz/katalog/dilo/1681/, vyhledáno 19. 9. 2017.
  • Heraldické znaky města Plzně, Křížky a vetřelci, http://krizkyavetrelci.plzne.cz/katalog/dilo/518/, vyhledáno 19. 9. 2017.
  • Maska vodníka, Křížky a vetřelci, http://krizkyavetrelci.plzne.cz/katalog/dilo/906/, vyhledáno 19. 9. 2017.
  • Zábradlí ze šachových figur, Křížky a vetřelci, http://krizkyavetrelci.plzne.cz/katalog/dilo/1524/, vyhledáno 19. 9. 2017.
  • Otevření Luftovy zahrady, Správa veřejného statku města Plzně, http://www.svsmp.cz/archiv/2010/otevreni-luftovy-zahrady.aspx, vyhledáno 19. 9. 2017.
 
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