Náměstí Míru / Peace Square

(Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.730679N, 13.370821E

Náměstí Míru (called Královské until the year 1918, Benešovo in the inter-war period, Schillerovo during Nazi occupation and Benešovo again in the years 1945–1951) is the last of three public spaces subdividing Klatovská Avenue heading south from the historical centre. At the same time, it constitutes the most significant public space of the south part of the Jižní Předměstí / Southern Suburb and of the Bory neighbourhood which arose in the broader surroundings during the last century.

The square was founded at the site of the former Vaněk brickyard in the year 1899. It was completed by a park designed by the Chief Park Administrator A. Vašíček in the form of a botanical garden with a porcelain plate placed on each tree with the name of the species. The first part of the surrounding development was made up of almost identical houses on the north side of the square belonging to the families of Antonín Müller and Vojtěch Kapsa, the founders of the famous building company Müller & Kapsa which had its headquarters here. Part of the interior of Otto and Olga Beck’s apartment at no. 12 Klatovská Avenue, designed by Adolf Loos (C3–1076) in the years 1907–1910, was moved to house no. 2 in the year 1928. The semi-detached house of the Pilsen builders was followed by development of most of the western side of the square along present-day Klatovská Avenue. And with a touch of the famous architect too – the furnishings of part of Leo Brummel’s apartment at no. 140 Klatovská Avenue (C3–26) were made according to his designs. 

In the years 1930–1931, the modernist building of the Institute for Deaf and Dumb Children (Purkyně Pavilion since 1946, C3–1926) was built in the south-east section of the space to Hanuš Zápal’s design. The eastern side of the square – roughly in the area where the SK Olympia Pilsen football field was located previously – was gradually formed by the late functionalist complex of buildings of Czechoslovak Radio (C3–2363), based on the design of a collective led by Karel Tausenau. The first construction stage, when the west wing was built, took place in the years 1947–1953. The eastern part was finished in the year 1956. Plans for the third stage involved a concert hall, however this building has never been realised. The southern side of the square was sealed off by the building of the Secondary School for Engineering between the years 1957 and 1960, built to the design of Bohumír Fridrich and Čestmír Rypl.

As long ago as 1946, Náměstí Míru was chosen as the site of a monument to the victims of Fascism and wars in Pilsen. It was not realised until the year 1967, however, as an outcome of a competition held in 1965 with the winning design of a travertine sculpture People coming from the sculptor Slavoj Nejdl, symbolising a tight formation of figures standing up against violence. The horizontal granite pedestal, with its original typographic layout of the slogan Honour to those who defend themselves, who can give their lives for freedom, contrasts with the pronounced vertical of the sculpture, designed by the architect Hynek Gloser Sr. The monument situated at the spatial focus of the square (“at the head” of the vast area) was reconstructed after the year 2010. After the military airport in Bory district was closed in 1996, a monument to Czechoslovak pilots of the Second World War was moved to the square, which has retained its park-like character to the present day.

JČ – MK – PK


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