Žehrovák - translated articles

Kladenský deník 


After all these years – the return of an "anachronism" 

Will the new chapel last any longer than the original?

Petr Sklenička 

Kamenné Žehrovice – On just about any village green, you can normally see a chapel or at least a small bell-tower. Except, that is, in Kamenné Žehrovice, where a chapel did once stand, but it was branded an anachronism by the local municipal authority at the turn of the seventies and eighties, and demolished. Work has now begun on the construction of a new one.


"There used to be a bell-tower surrounded by lime trees on what is now a meadow overlooking the bus stop and the car park. Apart from the memories of those alive at that time, a couple of faded photographs is all that now remains. It was built in the 19th century from the savings of local farmers," explained the Chairwoman of the Žehrovák Civic Association, Sylvie Kroupová.   


This is all basically in aid of renovating the disused village centre. The construction of the new chapel is one of the main objectives for which the Civic Association has been established.


Nothing is free


Architect Tomáš Kocourek, the man behind the project design, says that the construction should cost CZK 1.7 million. Thanks to the contributions of citizens and sponsors during the first half of the year, the chapel foundations have already been laid. The association has applied to the Central Bohemian Regional Authority for a grant.


"We will be trying to raise more money through public collections and sponsors. If everything works out as anticipated, the chapel could be built within three years, says restorer Mrs Kroupová.


Žehrovák members came up with the idea of rebuilding the bell-tower back in 2000, when the association did not yet even exist. They only managed to lay the foundations for the new construction this year.


Foundation stone to be consecrated


As part of today's Marian Fair, the laying ceremony for the foundation stone by sculptor Jan Brabec will take place in Kamenné Žehrovice. The consecration will be performed by auxiliary Prague bishop Karel Herbst and Father Karel Kunzl from Smečno, with the backing of the Krátochvíle Prague choir, conducted by Sylvie Kroupová Jnr.


The new chapel, which like its predecessor will be called the Chapel of our Lady, has been designed with modern features, while blending in with its village-green surroundings. 


One point of interest, for example, is that the roof will be made from blue shingle, to remind us of the blue mantle of the Virgin Mary," explained Mrs Kroupová.


Remembering wheelchair users


The entrance to the chapel will be half-moon-shaped, and even people in wheelchairs will be able to get inside easily along a slight incline. Michal Vlk, designer of the acoustic wall inside the building, says that every spoken word, musical instrument and song should be clearly audible.


There will be 22 places for sitting and some 35 places for standing inside the chapel, all possible within a construction area of 45 square metres. The foundations were laid close beside the original ones.


The chapel is not only meant to be used in future for church ceremonies, but also particularly for small-scale cultural and social activities in the village, such as weddings, baptisms and concerts, so the project will help to revive local social life.


The local council welcomes and supports the activities of the civic association.


"We very much appreciate the initiative of Žehrovák members. These people are giving up their spare time to help to improve the village, to restore and protect our heritage. So every year we remember them and they receive a contribution from the budget for their activities," said Milan Šefčík, Chairman of the Kamenné Žehrovice Municipal Council.


Points of interest:


The new chapel is to cost around CZK 1.7 million


There will be space for 22 sitting and 35 standing in an area of 45 square metres


22 cubic metres of concrete were used for the foundations of the new building


Over CZK 120,000 collected


Kamenné Žehrovice – Without the sponsorship donations and contributions of local people, the chapel would never exist. So in addition to its grant application and its search for sponsors, the Žehrovák Civic Association has announced a public collection.


"So far we have collected more than CZK 120,000, and sponsors have helped considerably in the construction of the chapel foundations," said Civic Association Chairwoman Sylvie Kroupová.


The collection officially ends on 31.12.2008. The funds raised are held in account no. 198622971/0300, where those interested may send any amount. The administration of this money is controlled in accordance with the Act on Public Collections and the association statutes.


A detailed report on the implementation of the project including its funding will be publicly available after its approval by the membership meeting in January 2007 and will be published on the Žehrovák Civic Association web site.


The fair is not a novelty but a revived tradition


Kamenné Žehrovice – For many local people, there is something new about the Marian Fair, arranged for today by the Žehrovák Civic Association, together with the municipal authority,  but it is in fact a revival of a lapsed tradition. This event used to take place during the first week of July every year in Kamenné Žehrovice. It will take place this year in a similar spirit in September, and the organizers anticipate that it will be repeated every year. One of the main reasons the fair is taking place in September is the fact that Mary has her feast day on the twelfth of this month. This association with the Chapel of Our Lady has a certain symbolism. This year the event is being held thanks to the contributions of the Central Bohemian Region and a number of sponsors.  In addition to several classic fair attractions, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. visitors will also be able to have a look at the most varied period-style stalls presenting old-time crafts, notably the ceramics, pottery, basketry, wooden products, bobbin lace, corn-husk dolls and Vizovice pastries, as well as the work of a nativity scene maker.


Mouths will start to water at the sight of the old Czech cakes, loopy pastries, pretzels and fine mead. You can come by bus or car. A car park will be available throughout the day in the centre of the village in a large lay-by area.


The truth behind the quarry


Some visitors to Kamenné Žehrovice mistakenly think that the stone quarry where žehrovák sandstone used to be excavated formed what is now the Turiňský lake, but that is not at all the case, because it is actually coal mine galleries that were under the ground there. The rock was worked in places which are now  built up with housing. The rock quarry extended as far as Doksy and was in operation until the twentieth century. Some remnants of it are visible to this day. 


Where to find žehrovák


The rock obtained from the local quarry has been used since the Middle Ages to build all the most famous heritage sites that you can bring to mind. It is also thanks to žehrovák that we have, for example, Charles Bridge, St Vitus' Cathedral, the National Museum, the National Theatre and the Rudolfinum in Prague. There is a simple answer to the question why this rock was so very much in demand. When steeped in water, it became even harder and did not disintegrate. In 1883 it was used to build the balcony staircase in the Jewish Synagogue in Prague.


From the history books

The village was first mentioned back in 1045, when it belonged to the Břevnov Monastery. It was subsequently in the possession of Jan Bořita of Martinice amongst others and associated with the altar of St Materna in St Vitus Cathedral. The early 20th century saw a boom in black coal mining in the area, and even before 1900 the Vaniek mine had been sunk in the municipality. 1956 saw the re-emergence of the old Turiňský Lake. Kamenné Žehrovice is located on the old provincial Cheb route and the village cadastre covers 905 hectares.


Kamenné Žehrovice – The construction of the chapel is the most challenging task yet to face Žehrovák, but it is by no means the first activity of the civic association, which has also organized regular Christmas and Easter concerts. Last year its members were successful in erecting a new cross in front of a listed farmstead heritage site (Land Registry No. 17), illuminated at night by spotlight to prevent it from being vandalized. The association was also behind the reproduction of a stolen statue of St Roch, patron saint of stonemasons. It was ceremonially consecrated as part of the 960th anniversary of the first historical mention of the village. Founded on 2nd November 2004, the association currently has 38 members, with specialists from all walks of life, from labourers to lawyers.