Czech Open-Air Museums

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Category: Czech Tradition

Folk architecture showcases old buildings and structures typical in the past of some villages or even towns. Open-air museums, Skanzeny lidove architektury, gather these buildings to show their influence on the society. There are more than ten open-air museums of folk architecture in the Czech republic. They are centers of village crafts, traditions and culture. Unfortunately, what used to be traditional in many villages is now almost extinct.

Conservationists are trying to preserve these national monuments. Some of the monuments are kept in museums, while some remain outdoors. These buildings reveal the past lives of village inhabitants, the ordinary people. They were farmers who were used to doing everything by themselves. Typical activities included baking bread in a stone stove, making pottery and other crafts, carpentry, blacksmithing , weaving, and more. The lives of our ancestors comes back alive in these places, as visitors can also try these crafts themselves. Buildings often also contain expositions about folk culture.

The houses were made out of available materials in the surrounding region. The foundations were mostly created out of stones or non-absorbent wood, such as oak. The walls of some houses were built out of clay, as bricks or as a solid construction, or out of wood, where the wooden beams were laid over themselves in log or timber style, or in vertical, horizontal, and oblique beams forming a load-bearing structure, which was filled in with clay, as with a frame house. Some houses were covered with plaster, which could be decorated with paint in miscellaneous ways. The houses in the villages usually had a certain type of a layout.

Open-air museum in Roznov pod Radhostem – Valasske (Wallachian) museum
The largest open-air museum in the Czech Republic is situated in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, in Moravia. Conceived before the first World War, the project was launched in 1925 by the Jaronkovi brothers. It contains four main areas: Drevene mestecko (Wooden town), Valasske dediny (Wallachian heritage), Mlynske doliny (Mill Valley), and a nearby area in Pustevny.

Open-air museum in Prerov nad Labem – Polabske narodopisne museum
Located in the Central Bohemian Region, Polanske narodopisne is the oldest open-air museum in the Czech Republic, constructed at the end of the 19th century by Ludvík Salvator who was inspired by an exhibition in Prague. It includes timbered cottages, grain storage, lodges, and more. During Christmas and Easter, there are special exhibitions.

Open-air museum Chanovice
In western Bohemia, Chanovice was established by the Chanovsti, formerly known as the Dlouhovesky clan. It consists of timbered houses, some of which were transported to the village from regions nearby. The area is maintained through volunteer work.

Other examples of open-air museums are in Prikazy u Olomouce, Vysoky Chlumec, Kourim, and many more. These monuments truly belong to the Czech cultural heritage.