Sady Pětatřicátníků / Gardens of the 35th Infantry Regiment

(Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.747709N, 13.373203E

Sady Pětatřicátníků / Gardens of the 35th Infantry Regiment – in the 19th century known as Kasern-Platz; later Štěpánovy sady; in the time of the First Republic Kramářovy sady; and in the post-war period Nejedlého sady) – spread out between the building of the Josef Kajetán Tyl Theatre (known as the Great Theatre) to the south and Pobřežní Street to the north. They comprise the western part of a former promenade circuit encircling the medieval city centre. The gardens acquired their present name from the building of the 35th Infantry Barracks, which used to stand somewhere in the area of the present-day parking lot.

Similar to other parts of the park, this area was historically occupied by the city’s fortifications, with gates which changed their positions in the course of the development of the fortification walls. Thus the Nová brána / New Gate at the end of present-day Prešovská Street replaced the Skvrňanská brána / Skvrňany Gate at the end of present-day Riegrova Street in the year 1649. The gate, sealed in the years 1645–1648, was replaced by a pentagonal fortification bastion, known as Turecký Šanc, the largest advanced construction element of Pilsen’s fortification system. Large amounts of water collected in its footing, forming one of the small ponds existing in the nearby suburbs of Pilsen at the time.

The bastion was levelled off during preparations of the plot for the construction of the barracks, probably in 1822. The barracks’ construction itself, which was decided on in the year 1820 and financed by the city (as the duty of burghers to accommodate army members was no longer tenable), occurred in the years 1823–1826. It was an unusually extensive, austere Classicist building with four wings and an inner courtyard. 

The building of the barracks was then joined by block developments to both the north and south. Together with the eastern side of the barracks and the opposite edge of the historical centre, these blocks formed the street line defining a promenade area which gradually replaced the dismantled fortification walls. In the years 1888–1892, a new dominant structure of this area was built in this line of the southern housing block, the Great Synagogue, the third largest synagogue in the world in terms of ground plan area. In the year 1889, the park was enlivened by the introduction of a tram line. The Sady Pětatřicátníků tram stop is one of the key junctions of Pilsen public transport.

The realisation of post-war local development plans resulted in significant damage to the urbanist value of the space. The north-south city thoroughfare was situated on the western part of the ring gardens. This four-lane road to this day still follows the track of Karlovarská Avenue from Lochotín past the historical centre along Klatovská Avenue and up to Bory. As part of these changes, all of the northern housing block was torn down, and on the 24th of January 1969 the dilapidated barracks building was demolished. The largest part of the premises, whose demolition had been a matter of consideration since 1948, was replaced by a car park which is still in place today.

Transit transport has affected the area in a significant way until the present. The future of the plot in the place of the former barracks remains unclear. In 2011, city representatives debated development of the space involving a parking house combined with other services. In the years 2003–2004, the street furniture, pavement and tram yard were reconstructed and the tram stops relocated to Sady Pětatřicátníků. A complex resolution of the space is, however, yet to come.