There are four day-long field trips planned for May 19th. All field trips will leave in buses from the conference venue at 8am and return at various times in the evening. Attendees have a choice of the following tours:
1. The Loss of Nature and Culture: Land Reclamation and the Post-Mining Landscape of Most
The city of Most (Germanic name Brux) is one of the largest open-pit mines in Europe. The region was used for coal mining during the Second World War to make fuel for the Nazi war effort and mining was continued after the War throughout the socialist period to today. In order to mine as much coal as possible, in 1964 the Most Coal Company began the demolition of the historical old town of Most. Between 1964 and 1970, the town’s historic buildings were demolished, including a brewery dating from the 15th century and a theater built in 1910 and designed by Viennese architect Alexander Graf. New low-cost, standardized, multi-family housing projects (paneláky) were built.
The demolition caused a significant amount of uproar in the local community, and in an effort to appease local residents, the Communist authorities decided to preserve the Gothic Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The entire building, which was built between 1517 and 1594 and designed by Jakob Heilmann of Schweinfurt, was moved by train to the newly constructed town 2,759 feet [841 meters] away. The building is mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as the heaviest building ever moved on wheels.
The tour will follow restoration work on the former mine spoils, creating new lakes and recreational parks in the region of the mine. We will explore the remnants of an important historic site at the Lobkowicz Palace of Jezeri, and in the reconstructed old town of Most.
2. The Nature – Culture Interface in the Baroque Landscape of Valec
The Bohemian Baroque is understudied as a landscape type. While it has its roots in the Italian Baroque and less strongly in the French Formal Baroque traditions, the Bohemian Baroque landscape was reflective of the region’s culture, creating an important European style in its own right. The Baroque was replaced or obscured in most Czech palace landscapes by the later English Landscape movement since the political and religious changes that favored the later English Landscape tended to underplay the original importance of the Baroque landscape development. The tour will take a look at an intact Baroque landscape that stretches for 30 kilometers between the palace, and its associated villages and a pilgrimage church in the village of Andelska Hora. We will look at the original medieval and Baroque beer caves, the formal baroque garden, the site of the hermitage and its associated garden, and the astronomical axes that connect the various historic (neolithic) and natural features of the site.
3. Nature and Culture in the Agricultural Landscape: the Pluzina of the Central Bohemian Region
On this trip, we will visit the remnants of medieval pluzina, a historical Central European field pattern dating to the 13th or 14th century A.D. In medieval Czech, pluzina meant the crop fields, meadows, pastures and roads belonging to one village. Today, pluzinas are visible as patterns of long, narrow fields defined by hedgerows. Due to a visible pattern that’s created, pluzinas are attractive parts of farming landscapes, similar to bocage landscapes found in Northern England, Scotland or Brittany. During the last 150 years, many these landscape structures have vanished, owing either to the intensification of agriculture, or abandonment to reforestation, however the ecosystem services provided by the cultural landscape are extremely to the vitality of the Czech landscape.
4. The Landscape and Urbanscape of the Village of Slavonice
Slavonice is a Moravian town located about a kilometre from the Austrian border. A modest size, with 2700 residents, the town boasts a traditional medieval renaissance city center. The buildings are covered with Sgraffito, intricate designs produced by layering plaster of various colors to the exterior walls. These Sgraffito date as far back as 1545, making them the second oldest in the country. The renaissance character of the town arose out of a period of extreme wealth in the 14th to 16th century, as Slavonice was an important town along the route between Prague and Vienna. Later, as the route was relocated, the town’s source of wealth dried up, leaving the town preserved in this renaissance appearance.
Along with the character of the village itself, Slavonice also has an underground tunnel system dating as far back as the 12th century, as well as remnants of Second World War fortifications, providing a multi-layered landscape history.