Through the post-industrial landscape of late capitalism: Collective housing, industrial decline, open cast mines and cultural heritage in the Czech borderlands
Post conference bus tour: Saturday November 10, 2018, 8:45 AM – 5:30 PM. Free of charge, lunch included. Registration in now closed.
The Czech-German borderlands in the area of the North Bohemian Basin represent a region profoundly altered during the last 70 years. The expulsion of German inhabitants after WWII, development of industry together with open cast mining of lignite, environmental damage, destruction of villages on the sites of lignite seams and consequent building of towns with big housing estates for workers and miners – these are the conditions that shaped the whole region prior to 1989. After 1989, the region went through industrial decline, and structural problems influence the life there even today.
Collective house in Litvínov was the first example of elaborate housing for workers in the region. Built during 1950´s, it was originally housing for employees of the local chemical plant. It offered not only a high standard of living in individual flats, but also collective services for the community: restaurants, kindergarten, laundry, shops, services, leisure time activities… Its emancipatory and disciplinary roles brought an interesting mixture of do´s and don´ts for its inhabitants. Collective house does not offer these services today, as it has now become a common apartment building. Its architectonical shape is still interesting, though. More information HERE.
Janov housing estate was built in the 1970´s and 1980´s for inhabitants from villages destroyed by open cast mining. The estate, which provided decent living conditions for workers under the Erzgebirge mountains, has changed since 1989. In the place of green vegetation is now despair and decline, as the former inhabitants, affected by dismissals, left empty houses that have attracted real estate speculators who rent to the poorest. Some parts of the housing estate are scheduled for demolition in the future.
Jezeří castle´s history dates back to the 15th century. Part of the Lobkowicz dominion until WWII, it underwent a transformation into a concentration camp for a limited number of prisoners of war during WWII. The post-war situation brought nothing but decline for the castle, as it was devastated by army garrisons and later by decades of insufficient and poor preservation. The very existence of the castle was threatened during the late 1970´s and 1980´s due to expansion of an open cast mine below the castle, with mining activities threatening the stability of the mountain slopes above. Voices from the public began to stand up for the castle already prior to 1989, and since that time there has been a slow improvement of the castle’s condition, alllowing visitors to visit the castle and its surroundings once again. There is a breathtaking view to the open cast mine from the castle viewpoint. More information HERE.
For bookings and questions concerning the tour please contact LOC member Hana Daňková at firstname.lastname@example.org