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TECHNICAL MONUMENTS OF CZECH REPUBLIC II.

 

            1. Dobrošov
            2. Jachymov
            3. Praha
            4. Adamov
            5. Ostrava - Michalkovice
            6. Slup
 

Svatopluk ZIDEK

s&nior editor

CKAIT CSSI vicepresident

PLICKA

editor

CKAIT vicepresident

Eva DVOŘÁKOVÁ

editor

CKAIT

 

DOBROŠOV FORT

Dobrosov, Náchodi járis

Owned by: Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic

 

Increasing aggressive tendencies of Nazi Germany in the thirties were causing a well-founded fear of a war conflict. The Czechoslovak State had to make sure it would be able to defend itself. Therefore it was decided, following the French example of the Maginot Line, to defend the state border against possible attack by building a line of frontier forts. Military experts regarded as most unsafe the area between the Giant Mountains (Krkonoše) and the city of Ostrava. Their plan was to build on this stretch of 250 km forts most heavily strengthened for defence. The main line of fortifications was formed by a combination of strongly built infantry shelters (bunkers) and lightly built shelters (machine-gun nests), located in the proximity of the state border. What strengthened the line even more were artillery forts. However, only five of them were completed by September 1938. One of the fifteen forts, which were to be built in the area between Ostrava and the Giant Mountains, is the artillery fort Dobrošov near Náchod. It was supposed to have two artillery blockhouses, a mortar tower, a gun turret, two infantry blockhouses and an entrance building. The whole site of the artillery fort occupied an area of 20 hectares. Dobrošov was surveyed and the site layout plan drawn up in the days between the 16th and 20th August 1936. The fort was set out on 22nd April 1937 and in May the construction work was put out to tender. The successful bidder was a Prague building contractor Dr. Kapsa and Müller. The construction was commissioned on 27th July 1937 the work itself being started on 13th September 1937. A six-member military supervisory board headed by Captain Ing Alois Stano, later on relieved by Lieutenant Ing Frantisek Zavadil, supervised the construction work. By the end of September 1938, when all the work on the fortification system had to come to a halt, the fort had not been completed yet. All the tunnels 1 750 m long and rooms 600 m long had been dug, the soil taken to the surface, but only a little more than half of the underground area had been covered with concrete. What can be seen on the surface are just three concrete buildings out of the original complex comprising 7 buildings: the artillery blockhouse "Zelený" (Green), the command infantry blockhouse "Můstek" (Bridge) and the infantry blockhouse "Jeřáb" (Crane). The entrance building, located on the contour line not far from today's car park, the artillery blockhouse "America", the gun turret and the mortar tower are other buildings, which have not been completed, and the only thing to be found on the site today is made-up ground with natural seeding vegetation. The fort was designed for a garrison numbering up to 571 men, among them 38 officers and sergeant majors. The purpose of the state-of-the-art technological support system was to ensure particularly air filtration, cooling of fired cartridge cases and their removal; there were also generators to produce electricity. Water was to be obtained from wells bored to a depth of up to 60 m.

 
Current map                   2002
 
Fort underground. Photo by Lubomír Imlauf.
 
„Zelený" blockhouse. Entrance building. Photo by Lubomír imlauf.
 
„Jeřáb" blockhouse. Photo by Lubomír Imlauf.
 
Embrasure, Photo by Lubomír Imlauf.

The artillery blockhouse N-S/75, called Zelený is the largest of the three completed blockhouses of the fort. Its front part was concreted in August and the back part in September 1938. It is 46 m long and 16 m wide. The front wall and the ceiling thickness is 3.5 m and, in addition, the ceiling is fitted with iron plates designed to stop concrete fragments from flying off in case the shelter was hit. The strength of the concrete used for the construction was 450 kg/cm2. The purpose of the iron ladder situated on the inner side of the trench was to enable soldiers to enter or leave the blockhouse in an emergency. The entrance was to be defended by a 9 mm caliber automatic weapon with a drum magazine holding 96 cartridges. This weapon was never made in lot sizes. The upper floor of the blockhouse was a combat room. Three 100 mm caliber howitzers with a firing range of 11.8 km were to be located in the lateral casemates. The artillery blockhouse was adapted for indirect side shooting, instructed by the command blockhouse and carried out by using coordinates, as well as for direct shooting using sights. The cartridge cases fired from howitzers went down through hoses to waste cesspools on the lower floor, where they were cooled down, taken to the elevator and from there to the underground fort. The blockhouse forefield was to be defended by two light machine guns in armoured bells. The purpose of the defense trench was to make enemy's penetration more difficult. Grenade chutes leading into the trench were installed in case the enemy managed to force their way into the trench. Round the whole front side of the upper part of the structure wires with loops for camouflaging nets were embedded in concrete. On the outside the front part had a kerb and was entirely covered in earth and grass. The blockhouse lower floor is reached descending eighteen steps next to the elevator shaft. There are three waste cesspools for howitzer cartridge cases, a room for eight men of the detachment of military engineers, upper floor commander's office, auxiliary filter equipment for drawing off gaseous products of gunshots and cooled cartridge cases.

 
 
„Zelený" blockhouse section
 
„Zelený" blockhouse section
 
„Green" air-raid shelter. Layout.

Infantry blockhouse N-S-72, called Můstek, is a four-bell blockhouse built on a site of the highest altitude and designed to be the fort's command post. It took an entire weekinJuly1938 to cover it with concrete. External walls and the ceiling are 3.5 m thick. The walls were dimensioned in such a way so that they would withstand two direct hits in the same place from a 150mm caliber howitzer.

In the Infantry blockhouse N-S-73, called Jeřáb, the only one where a military garrison was stationed on its completion, wall drawings have been preserved showing high fighting morale of Czechoslovak soldiers. After having invaded France the Nazis used this blockhouse in 1940 to make a propaganda newsreel about conquering the Maginot Line. Following the border area occupation by the Germans the fortifications became meaningless.

Some of the buildings served the German Army to test the performance of firearms, metal parts were used in the armaments industry and at the time of the Soviet offensive a part of the fortification in the Ostrava region was occupied by a German garrison. After the war most of the lightly and strongly fortified buildings became meaningless as a result of the conclusion of the Warsaw Treaty. Only some of the forts were still used by the Czechoslovak Army. The remaining buildings were left abandoned as a silent symbol of our Army's readiness for action. In the seventies the Dobrošov fort was proclaimed cultural monument and opened to the public. Gradually a special trail was laid out connecting all buildings, including the ones not completed, with a permanent museum exhibition situated in the fort underground. In 1995 the fort was proclaimed national cultural monument as an unquestionable proof of our soldiers' courage and heroism as well as Czechoslovak Republic's military readiness.

 

OPEN:

Guided tours of the fort are organized for the public daily except Mondays, from 1 April to 31 October.

Address:

Správa pevnosti Dobrošov 549 21 Česká Čermná
 
 
 
Fort underground. Photo by Lubomír Imlauf.
 
Fort "Bridge"

 

JÁCHYMOV MINT

Jáchymov, Mincovní 37

Owned by: Karlovy Vary District Council

 

Jáchymov thaler minting until 1526.
 
 
Entrance from the internal courtyard. (1992)
 
Entrance before the reconstruction
 
The Mint at the time of repairs, 1992. Photo by Eva Dvořáková.      
 
The mint in 1999 after the restoration completed in November 1996. (photograph by Stanislav Wieser)

The town of Jáchymov, famous for curative radioactive springs, left its mark not only on the Czech history but the world history as well. In 1898 Marie Curie obtained radium from Jáchymov pitchblende. In the early 16th century Jáchymov mint made a coin called after its place of origin Thai, Joachimsthal, Thaler, Taler and tolar, while one of its later forms was dollar, a name applied to the currency of various countries. By the end of the 15th century, at the time of a great demand for precious metals, a search was conducted on both sides of the Ore Mountains (Krušné hory) for new deposits of gold and silver. Silver ore was found near an insignificant village of Konradsgrun, where the local estate owner, Štěpán Šlik, started extracting silver in 1516 in association with several partners. The mining activities attracted thousands of miners, labourers and other people. Silver was extracted from drifts dug right into the slopes of the surrounding valley. In 1516 there were 1 050 inhabitants and ten years later the town's population reached 14 thousand. The town of Jáchymov, called Sankt Joachimsthal, obtained a Royal Charter and the title of "a free mining town", and by 1550 had one thousand two hundred houses being the second largest town in Bohemia. Renaissance houses built in the square after the 1538 fire and the mint, the heart of the town of those times, are reminiscent of the glorious historic period of the town. At first Stepán Slik exported silver to Nuremberg but soon he realized that he could gain more by starting his own mintage. He obtained consent of the Provincial Assembly and the sovereign Ludwig Jagiello to mint a new coin, which had the royal coat of arms on one side and St Joachim's picture and the Slik family's coat of arms on the other. In 1528 the Hapsburg Emperor Ferdinand I deprived the Slik family of their minting right, appointed his own mint supervisor in Jáchymov and had a new mint built in 1534 on the site of the original Slik family's mint. The new mint construction was imposing, with high palatial windows in stone jamb. There is no reliable evidence as to how much of the older mint was incorporated while converting it to the Royal Mint. Despite its grand concept the mint wrestled with lack of funds throughout its construction. The fire of 1538, which spread all over the building as well as to other seventeen adjoining houses, also influenced its appearance. After the fire the high windows bordered with sandstone were not restored, but replaced by more modest, smaller windows bordered with burnt-clay blocks. This cost-saving reconstruction was due to the decline of silver mining, which followed after a short boom. Due to war conflicts occurring throughout the 17th century silver mining in the Ore Mountains area almost came to a halt, causing the town with a sparse population of 529 to decline. The mining industry and the town itself were revitalized over short periods of time in the early 18th century owing to the extraction of cobalt, arsenic, bismuth and lead, and then again after the Second World War as a result of uranium ore extraction. The threestorey mint building stands at the corner of the Miners' Square (Hornické náměstí) and the Mint Alley (Mincovní ulička). The mint ground floor and the upper floor are trapezoidal in shape with an inner court surrounded by four wings. The masonry is Renaissance, except for the new back staircase from the 20th century and minor construction alterations such as bricking up openings or making new ones, which are more recent and more Classicist. The mint wing facing the square is extended on the upper floor and behind it there is a second courtyard. By the wall of the northern wing, facing the second courtyard, there used to be a toilet the impression of which in the facade is still evident. A richly decorated, comer bay window is undoubtedly an adornment of the mint. The main entrance area and the adjacent rooms with a honeycomb vault are unique both from the historical and architectural point of view. The mint was one large technological complex. What still remains is the original furnace for silver melting in the back wing of the ground floor and the first floor. A tall octagon pyramidal structure, the original chimney hood for drawing off the smoke, reaching a height of 9 m between the ground floor and the attic space, rises above a square with each side measuring approximately 3.5 m and above the adjacent lateral vaulted space. Archeological exploration showed that it is a blast furnace from the early 16th century, proof of which are ladle skulls and slag with rests of coin metal, assaying jars and crucibles found on the site. A similar, rebuilt smaller furnace was discovered in the lateral wing and sometime later a double-chamber forge furnace in the cellar.

 
 
Mint restoration design, 1783, by F.T. Tippmann of Jáchymov
 
Reconstruction plan, 1783. Copper engraving
 
Marie Curie
 
 
 

 

RUDOLPH WATER TUNNEL

Royal Enclosure, Stromovka, Prague 7

Owned by: Prague Municipal Council

 

Entrance from Stromovka with Rudolph's monogram. Photo by Eva Dvořáková
 
Havírna House. Photo by Eva Dvoráková
 
Waterhouse with a pump. Photo by Eva Dvoráková

The Renaissance was a period, which brought about great changes in thinking not only in Western Europe but in our country as well; it particularly made a major contribution to the development of new scientific disciplines. It was at that time when, at the suggestion of Emperor Rudolph II, a really quaint hydraulic structure was built in Prague - a tunnel supplying water from the River Vltava to a newly built pond in the Royal Enclosure, nowadays called Stromovka. The decision to build the tunnel was made by Emperor Rudolph II in 1581. The person commissioned to supervise the work was the chief mine inspector and Prague mint chief supervisor Lazar Erckert of Schreknfeltz. Jírí Oeder of Ústí, a mining surveyor, was engaged to carry out the measurements. In the spring of 1582 he surveyed the direction of the tunnel laying out five shafts in the direction from Letná towards the Royal Enclosure. The first step was involved sinking the five shafts, numbered I. to V. in the direction from Stromovka to Letná, but the work went on very slowly. Due to flooding the sinking of shaft III came to a halt. The remaining four were sunk over the next two years. There is documentary evidence that the tunnel itself was dug from six different points. The first breakthrough between the shafts occurred in the spring of 1589. In 1592 Chief Controller Van der Varn Kojas took over the mining work supervision from Lazar Erckert of Schreknfeltz. The tunnel was completed on 17 July 1593. The final interconnection was not easy to achieve, which may be deduced from the deviation of the central part. A sluice gate and a house for the mine supervisor, responsible for the tunnel maintenance, were built at the tunnel opening on the Vltava bank. The Emperor ordered that an original plan of the hydraulic structure should be drawn. A Spaniard, Isaac Phendler, a court chamber clerk, was commissioned to make the drawing, before the tunnel had been completed at the beginning of 1593. The plan, which has been preserved, is a coloured representation of the longitudinal section of the tunnel with a description of the sequence of operations and a description of geological conditions; the construction technical equipment is marked out as well. The plan is deposited in the National Technical Museum in Prague, being one of the world's unique objects documenting the standard of mining activities at the time of the Renaissance. The tunnel opening in the Royal Enclosure was fitted with a stone bossed front, with the year MDLXXXXIII inscribed on it, together with the Royal Crown and Rudolph's monogram. When the tunnel had been completed and put into operation, complications arose concerning its maintenance. The shaft openings as well as some sections of the tunnel supported with timbering had to be renovated, since the wooden support was subject to decay as a result of atmospheric action. In 1633 Emperor Ferdinand ordered that the tunnel should be constantly maintained. It is most likely that sometimes around mid 17th century some of the short sections of the tunnel were provided with stone vaulting. At the beginning of the 18th century the tunnel was on the point of complete destruction owing to a large number of cave-ins and total neglect. It was decided to carry out an appropriate brick lining of the ventilation shafts. Another brick lining renovation of the tunnel took place around the year 1778, the renovation being so extensive that in the early 19th century the tunnel was considered protected against the danger of any immediate cave-in. However, at that time the court was gradually losing interest in holding festive and hunting events in the Enclosure, the pond was drained and the land leased. In 1804 the administration of the provincial Enclosure was taken over by the Provincial Estates and, at the recommendation of Count J. R. Chotek, a decision was made to open the Royal Enclosure to the public. Nevertheless, the park open to the public required irrigation. Therefore, a water house with a pump was built at the tunnel outlet, in order to drive water to the tanks. In the course of the 19th century several repairs were carried out, as shown by inscriptions indicating the years 1816, 1823,1870. In 1859 Romuald Bozek, son of the wellknown Czech inventor Josef Bozek, constructed a more efficient pumping device. In orderto achieve an adequate output of the wheel 4.8 m in diameter, the level of the water inflow was dammed in the tunnel so that the pump raised water to a water tank at a height of 40 m. This water was used to supply the fountains as well as other water installations in the Enclosure. The water house designed by Bozek remained in operation until 1923, when the water wheel was replaced with a turbine. Repairs to the tunnel were carried out even in the following years, as proved by records dating from 1936, when some deteriorating sections were concreted. The tunnel under Letná connects the left embankment of the River Vltava and the Royal Enclosure, nowadays called Stromovka. According to the latest measurements it is 1 102 m long. The tunnel cross-profiles are typical of the medieval style of tunnelling. What can be found here is the classic rectangular profile, slightly bent elliptic profile as well as cross sections reinforced in a standard way by brick or masonry vaults. They are between 0.7 and 1 m wide, their height ranges from 2 to 3 m. It is most likely that the measurements of the river level were not accurate, and this was the reason why the bottom of the tunnel was deepened at a later stage. The tunnel was provided with a walkway and in the last century a groove was made in the bottom. The work initially comprised five shafts of rectangular profiles approximately 1.5 x 3 m, which were used for digging the tunnel. However, the middle shaft was caved in while the work was still in progress. The tunnelling then continued using the remaining four shafts. All functional shafts were furnished with a parallel air chimney, which allowed ventilation while digging the tunnel. A fire was lit above the parallel chimney opening, in order to draw in the air from the shaft and thus ensure sufficient air change. Two shafts remain and can still be seen, in Čechova and Kostelní Streets. Rudolph tunnel is a unique medieval mining and water management work, located within the historical town reserve of the City of Prague, and as such was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.

 

OPEN:

The tunnel is not generally open to the public, just in jubilee years. What can be seen are the two tunnel fronts, one in Stromovka, the other by the River Vltava close to Cechuv Bridge.

 

Part of Phendler's Plan.
 
Havírna House. Photo by Eva Dvořáková.
 
Entrance from the Vitava embankment. Photo by Eva Dvořáková.
 
Part of the underground. Photo by Eva Dvořáková.
 
Drawing. Engraving. 1870
 
Drawing. Site plan. 1870

 

OLD IRONWORKS NEAR ADAMOV

Josefov, Blansko District

Owned by: Czech State, Brno Technical Museum

 

Iron production exhibition, cast iron pipes from the castle park at Austerlitz near Brno dating from the 18th century
 
 
Current map
 
Iron works complex, present state

The tradition of metallurgy of iron in the Moravian Karst stretches back to the period of Hallstatt culture, sometime around the 5th century B.C., which is the time the artifacts found in a nearby cave "Bull's Rock" (Býčí skála) date from. The remains of a smithy (anvil, tools, semi-finished products) are the oldest evidence of metallurgy of iron in the Moravian Karst region. Between the time prior to the formation of Great Moravian Empire and the time after its disintegration (7th - 9th century), and then again until the 12th century, there were ironworks operating in the area, always equipped with several shaft furnaces, designed to process local ores (limonites) and heated with charcoal. Charcoal was made by burning local shrubbery in charcoal heaps. The technology of coal production did not change for centuries and was used to meet the requirements of ironworks until the last century. The blast furnace in today's Josefov Valley was built sometime before the end of 1732. That year there were two blast furnaces working for the Lichtenstein ironworks. However, due to problems with supplies of raw materials the old furnace on the Svitava River was closed soon after that and thus the charcoal blast furnace was the only one that remained in operation in what today is Josefov Valley. In the 1780s the company's output amounted to 7.5% of total Moravian iron production. In 1793 the ironworks caught fire which destroyed most of the processing equipment. The facilities used for the production were renovated and, on the initiative of the ironworks administrator, Karel Rudzinsky, the furnace was rebuilt. A further expansion of the production was hindered by lack of wood, and therefore it was not until mid 19th century, when other technological innovations were introduced, that the company succeeded in increasing its production several times, as compared with the previous output. Starting from the 1840s the company became increasingly orientated towards the production of cast iron, which was in great demand since the beginning of engineering industry. In order to achieve the required quality of cast iron goods, two cupola furnaces were added to the blast furnace in mid 19th century. In 1852 the two smaller furnaces designed to make lime were built, their heating being also provided by blastfurnace gases. In 1863 a newly built rolling mill plant was put into operation, which, however, closed down after less than fouryears in service. Therefore, in the early 1870s the blast furnace operation in Josefov valley shut down not to be resumed ever again. All the manufacturing activities were transferred to Adamov, where an engineering plant was established, called Adast at a later time. What now remains of the former Lichtenstein Frantiska ironworks are torsos of the three furnaces and other production facilities, together with residential buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The charcoal blast furnace, dominating the whole complex, is the best-preserved landmark of the former Frantiska ironworks. Its gigantic structure with a base of 12 x 12 m reaches a height of almost ten meters. It underwent a lot of remodelling, as demonstrated by archive materials, period photographs as well as the furnace itself. All that now remains of the furnace body is the stone lining, the brick vaulted working alcoves and a part of the brick lining. The structure of the charcoal blast furnace with a stone lining has got four vaulted brick working alcoves of which the frontal one, the south alcove, is the largest. The missing part of the furnace top, the charging bridge and the foot- board were reconstructed after the preserved documents. At the foot of the slope, alongside the charcoal furnace, there are two lime-burning kilns to which the charging platform front wall was added. The charging platform system used the slope of the nearby valley allowing the platform to reach the level of all three furnaces. Architecturally most interesting is a two-storey building of the pattern shop made of stone masonry, called "the Stone House" (Kameňák), with a hipped saddle roof, covered with burnt roofing. On the ground floor remains the original decking ceiling supported by a beam structure, while the first floor ceilings are new. Since 1984 the building houses an exhibition documenting the history of local iron production, a part of the aboveground floorisusedasa depository. The construction dating from the 1840s still bears some Empire elements. Besides the abovedescribed facilities there are several other buildings on the site, which were not directly connected with the production function of the ironworks, but formed its integral part and as such were included in the conservation area of historic interest. They are residential houses numbered 117 and 118, already appearing on engineer Clement's map of 1794 and the only preserved residential houses of the original ironworks workers. All that remains of other now nonexistent residential buildings, along the left bank of Krtinsky brook, are just mere landscape relics.

Iron works complex, present state
 
Charcoal blast furnace
 
View of the iron works at the last stage of operation, 1 B70s
 
Iron works complex, present state
 
Site plan (present state)

The area also contains a period two-storey building with a stone ground floor and framed wall masonry first floor, called Švýcárna. It was built at the same time as the new pattern shop shortly after 1840, with the aim to open there an inn, which would offer accommodation to foreigners and slag baths.

In 1971 the ironworks complex was proclaimed conservation area and on 18 May 1984, on the occasion of the International Museum Day, an exhibition was opened in the former pattern shop covering the history of iron production in the central part of the Moravian Karst. Brno Technical Museum has installed in the building of the former pattern shop an exhibition documenting the history of iron production in the southern part of the Moravian Karst. The ground floor documents the oldest period of direct iron production, including local examples of the early days of metallurgy of iron, with a display of raw materials, fractions of furnaces as well as other items related with the production. Authentic materials are accompanied with models of individual ironworks furnaces. Indirect iron production in blast furnaces is presented on the first floor. Various iron castings, such as votive objects, kitchen utensils, stove plates, stoves, cast-iron pipes, ammunition, mortars and cannons, show the possibilities of iron production of that time. The size of Frantiska ironworks at the time of its closedown in 1877 is illustrated with a model displayed at the end of the exhibition. The former Lichtenstein Frantiska ironworks is the only one on the territory of Moravia where remains a substantial part of a pre-lndustrial Revolution charcoal blast furnace. The conservation area is part of the Moravian Karst nature reserve, lying in the valley of Krtinsky brook of interest to visitors. It was for these reasons why in 1971 the site was proclaimed conservation area, some of the facilities were renovated and an iron production exhibition opened, including the site of experimental smelting. The conservation area has been included, as a notable Moravian sight, in the international project European Iron Ways in which Brno Technical Museum is involved.

Address: Stará huť u Adamova, Josefov, 679 04 Adamov

 

 
Conservation area
 
Experimental smelting in a replica of a Slavonic iron furnace (10th - 12th century)
 
View of the iron works at the last stage of operation, 1870s
 
Charcoal blast furnace

 

MICHAL MINE IN OSTRAVA - MICHÁLKOVICE

Čs. Armády 95/413, Ostrava - Michálkovice,

Owned by: CzechState, National Office for the Conservation of Historical Monuments in Ostrava, Korejská12, 724 00 Ostrava- Přívoz

 

1913 electric piston compressor
 
1912 rotary converter Siemens Schuckert -Ward-Leonard-llgner system
 
 
Period photograph of Michał Mine after 1912-1915 reconstruction
 
 
1912 electric hoisting engine Siemens-Schuckert

 

The reason for establishing Michal Mine was the effort of the Austrian State of that time to support coal mining, which was an essential condition of development of the whole industrial sector. In 1842 the Mining Office had two pits dug in the village of Michálkovice. In 1850 one of them, until then called Michálkovice Pit No. 3, was renamed Michal Pit after the late imperial and royal councillor Michael Laier, who made a remarkable contribution to the coal mining development in the Austrian monarchy. In 1856 the mine was acquired by Emperor Ferdinand's Exclusively Privileged Northern Railway Company, which built and operated a railway line running from Vienna via Ostrava to Polish salt mines. The railway company owned the mine until its nationalization in 1945. In 1946 Michal Mine was given a new name after a left-wing political leader active in the Ostrava area and a social-democratic deputy of the Imperial Diet, Petr Cingr. The mining operations came to an end in 1993 and in the following year the ownership of the mine passed to the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, which installed here an industrial museum.

Over the long time of its existence Michal Mine underwent different technical and structural changes. An important milestone was the year 1862, when the mine was connected with a mining railway allowing a continuous dispatch of extracted coal by means of an ever-expanding railway network. In 1913 -1915 the mine Michal was completely rebuilt so that the extraction of the surrounding smaller mines called Jan, Josef, Petr and Pavel, as well as the subsequent coal preparation and dispatch would be concentrated in one pit. The concentration of extraction, taking place simultaneously in other plants owned by Emperor Ferdinand's Exclusively Privileged Northern Railway Company, was accompanied by the introduction of a lot of technical novelties, the most significant one being the use of electric drive instead of steam engines used until that time.

Contemporary Art Exhibition in the former register office
 
Present statue -2001
 
Period photograph from the years 1912-15.
 
Contemporary Art Exhibition in the former register office
 
Period photograph from the years 1912 - 15.

In order to fully electrify their mines the company built in 1912 a large and modern power plant of its own close by František Mine, later called Victorious February Mine and now Odra Mine. At the same time the different plants were being renovated. A complete reconstruction of the superficial area of Zárubek and Michal Mines was carried out on a large scale, based on the same technical and construction project. The aim of their identical architectural design and operating layout, worked out by architect František Fiala, was probably to emphasize the important economic and technical position of Emperor Ferdinand's Exclusively Privileged Northern Railway Company in the Ostrava-Karvina coalfield.

When the surrounding smaller mines were added to Michal Mine to form a single whole, the working field of Michal Pit comprised 84 simple mining claims and 12 surplus plots not designed for mining purposes. Coal could be found in 17 seams 50 200 cm thick and was extracted from a fully lined Michal working shaft 671 m deep. The shaft winding equipment used for the extraction consisted of two electric hoisting engines designed for cages carrying four mine cars each. The complementary working shaft Jan was equipped only with an older air-driven hoisting engine designed for cages carrying two mine cars. Petr and Pavel shafts as well as Josef shaft were used for ventilation. After the reconstruction and concentration, the total output of Michal plant reached an average of 300 thousand tons a year.

The mine before general reconstruction
 
František Fiala's construction drawings
 
Period photograph from the years 1912-15.
 
Contemporary Art Exhibition in the former register office
 
View of Michal Mine from Czechoslovak Army Square

The dominant construction element of the mine complex is the steel latticed head frame of the socalled German type; the adjoining operational buildings (shaft building, engine house and preparation plant) are made of steel skeleton with brick lining and large-size industrial windows. In the direction towards the park square (school, Assumption of the Virgin Church), the whole operating complex, formed by freestanding buildings, is bordered by an intricate and architecturally representative building containing a register office, bathrooms and administrative offices. The capacity of the changing rooms and bathrooms was designed for 1 512 miners. However, the number of employees fluctuated overthe time and especially in the second half of the 20th century it was twice as high as the initial staff plan.

Until 1993, when the mining operation ended, the whole complex of Michal Mine, including its technical equipment, remained basically unaltered, thus representing a unique collection of electric hoisting engines and compressors from the early times of electrification, standing in its original operating position in an entirely authentic environment, as if the people who worked here had only left yesterday leaving everything in its place, including dirty walls, worn-out handrails and stairs and peeled-off paint. A guided tour enables visitors to experience a real working environment and go along the same path used by miners every day when going to work. In addition, visitors are shown the engine house where no staff except for engine operators could enter for safety reasons. A detailed explanation of the guides, who are former mine employees, gives visitors an idea of what the mine operation was like, what functions individual engines performed and what duties had to be carried out by their operators.

For technical reasons, the subsurface part of Michal Mine was backfilled after it had been put out of operation. Visitors interested in the underground part of the mine are recommended to visit an exhibition of mining in original tunnels staged in the basement of the former engine house of Anselm Mine, later Eduard Urx Mine, of today's Mining Museum in Ostrava - Petřkovice. Owing to its notable technical, architectural and documentary value, the Michal Mine complex was proclaimed national cultural monument in 1995.

 

OPEN:

Michal Mine is open all the year round.

 
 

 

WATER MILL AT SLUP

Slup near Jaroslavice No. 94, Znojmo District

Owned by: Czech State, Brno Technical Museum, Purkyňova 105, 612 00 Brno

 

 
 
Mill location in the border area of Moravia and Austria

The appearance of a watermill in a small South Moravian village called Cule in the past ("Czulba" in Latin, "Zulb" in German) and Slup at present, was a result of the development of agricultural colonization of the Dyje river basin, which started in the 13th century. It was connected with the construction of an extensive headrace with a weir, stretching from the village of Krhovice on the Dyje River to the Austrian town of Laa an der Thaya. The headrace was one of the elements establishing the water conditions of the area, being used to feed water into ponds as well as an energy source of four mediaeval mills: Neslovice, Micmanice, Slup, Oleksovicky. The village of Slup is already mentioned in the 1228 Charter of King Přemysl I; the first reference to a miller working at Slup can be found in a preserved document of 1512 belonging to Slup manorial nobility. In the period between the 16th and 18th centuries the mill was among the largest ones in the territory of Moravia. Its ownership together with that of the village passed on to different lords of the manor and in 1810 it became a freehold estate owned by millers' families. After the Second World War, in 1946, the mill was acquired through post-war confiscation by new owners and then offered by them as their membership contribution to the assets of an agricultural cooperative. The mill was intensively used until 1951 without appropriate maintenance. In 1956 the administration of the mill, having been proclaimed cultural monument, was taken over by Brno Technical Museum. The first builders and owners of the mill were probably church dignitaries of a Cistercian Convent at Oslavany, a small town near Brno. After the convent had ceased to exist in the early 16th century, the title to the house was held by various feudal lords, proprietors of the Jaroslavice estate. These feudal lords, particularly the counts of Althan (1609-1790), take credit for rebuilding the mill and making a number of technical improvements. That is precisely the period, which the present architectural appearance dates from. Starting from 1810, when the mill became property of free millers' families, extensive construction work was carried out in the mill itself and around it (headrace, outbuildings); its technical equipment was constantly modernized the traditional Czech mill being converted approximately in mid 19th century into the so-called American mill and some time later, presumably in the 1880s, into a roller mill. Architecturally, the watermill of Slup, with its late Renaissance concept, ranks among the most notable technical structures of its kind. Originally it was apparently a Gothic building, which underwent a radical reconstruction in the first quarter of the 17th century. Subsequent alterations of the structure did not have any impact on its character, so that there remains a unique example of Renaissance utility architecture. The mill building has a rectangular ground plan, its longitudinal northern wall abutting on the headrace. Two thirds of the building ground plan, with approximate dimensions of 47 x 12 m, are occupied by the area of the former mill room, one third by the area of the former residential part of the mill. The mill roof truss was formed by the so-called German collar-beam system with upright trabeated saddles and tile roofing. The system connecting different parts of the building consisted of breezeways and entrance gates, in the interior of stone and wooden stairways, which connected the mill service area and the residential area. Two breezeways with arcades alongside both gable walls of the mill served as the entrance area for miller's customers. Access to the mill room, at the first floor level of the facade facing the center of the village, was architecturally emphasized by adding double-flight arcade stairs. The so-called Tuscan pillars round in shape support the arcade roofing and above the landing rises a prismatic tower with a pyramidal roof. The representative appearance of the mill was enhanced by the facade design. The front facade was segmented into nine oval wall arcades, lateral gables were decorated with sgraffito. The building of the mill, already as a cultural monument administered by Brno Technical Museum, was renovated during the 1970s and the Technical Museum provided the facades with additional elements - a relief of millers' coat of arms and a sundial. The mill reconstruction was accompanied by the renovation of the outbuilding, standing on the upstream side north of the mill, of which only remain the perimeter walls.

After the renovation the building was provided with such facilities as electrical and fire control rooms, a workshop and a warehouse. In 1978 - 1983 an exhibition covering the history of miller's trade was being built systematically. Milling machines, representing a technologically complete range of all stages of development, were brought here from different places and installed in the mill room. The machines are functional although they are not driven by the four renovated undershot wheels but by an electric motor. The original machinery of the mill has not been preserved. Only a historical source, the so-called gubernatorial specification of mills of the Znojmo region dating from 1704, may give us a general idea of what the mill technology was like. This document shows that the building was equipped with nine flourmills (the so-called Czech mills) and with one millet-processing mill (the so-called mash mill). The entire mill operation had to be driven by at least four or five undershot water wheels. The 17th century Renaissance mill at Slup is the only structure of this type to be found in the Czech lands, which was built during one architectural period, was not spoilt by additions and thus remains in the original condition with the mill headrace. Architecturally, Slup mill is one of European unique structures of its kind. In 1995 it was proclaimed national cultural monument.

 

OPEN:

From 1 April to 31 October

 

Brno Technical Museum installed at Slup mill an exhibition documenting miller's trade
 
Passage through arcades along the gable wall
 
Mill facade facing the village centre
 
Undershot water wheels were probably renovated after a historical work written by a mill technician Lucas Vochse, published in 1780
 
View of the main outbuilding from the headrace
 
 
The timbering of all mill room floors was richly decorated with carved volutes, dentel and coin decoration. Poiychromy was probably used to decorate the timbering.
 
Mill building

 

  
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