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Smetana's Litomyšl

modern architecture

Historic Litomyšl is a city abounding with modern architecture, an exceptional marriage of the past with the present.

For architecture lovers, Litomyšl’s Town Gallery has created the Litomyšl Architecture Manual, which allows you to set out along its seven recommended routes lined with interesting buildings. Highly recommended!

Daniel Brýdl, Litomyšl Town Mayor

TIP: For modern architecture, it pays to return to the city in October for Archimyšl, a weekend celebration of World Architecture Day.

the revitalization of Castle Hill

/ history in the hands of architects

The heart of historic Litomyšl, the immediate area around Litomyšl Castle, has undergone numerous necessary repairs since the start of the millennium. One by one, the castle’s utility buildings have been transformed.

The former brewery, in which František Smetana acted as brewmaster, has become a modern residence, gallery, and information center. The riding hall has been converted into a multifunctional culture hall. And a seasonal restaurant and coworking center have been created from the stables.

Not only has the castle’s park undergone transformation, but so have the nearby Monastery Gardens and the Piarist Church, with the former Piarist dormitories acquiring a modern addition to house the University’s library. The space under the remains of the Medieval fortifications has become an art studio for the Restoration Faculty of Pardubice University, and visiting the building is an experience in and of itself on account of the museum’s renovations.

the New Church

/ the chapel of the Evangelical Brethren

It’s as if a person could take off running for the heavens along the roofs of Litomyšl’s youngest church. In 2007, there was an architectural contest based on the verse, “Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” Even without a towering structure, Zdeněk Fránek’s studio was able to depict this quite literally using the sloping meadow terrain.

Works by Karel Malich and Václav Cigler add to this passage to the clouds – the tallest of the heavenly pathways bears a glass cross, which reflects the sun’s rays during the day and at night glows in the darkness, a reminder of God’s mercy.

the pool

/ the athletics complex at Černá hora

In 2011, this rippling construction to house an indoor pool earned the architecture firm DRNH the Grand Prix National Architecture Prize and the title Building of the Year. Famous for their emphasis on having a close relationship to the landscape, the architects churned up the lawn next to the city pool with breaking waves. These continue their arcs to form a spacious hall encompassing two indoor pools and a whirlpool bath.

Thanks to glass walls, the buildings of the nearby athletics complex are now an integral part of the swimming lanes. Specifically, in addition to the indoor pool, Černá hora (“Black Mountain”) is also home to a functionalist swimming complex and a modern sports stadium.

the Teacher Training College’s park for relaxing

/ a school yard transformed into a courtyard

If you stand in front of the statue of Bedřich Smetana on Smetanovo Náměstí Square, you should see a passage on the left in a corner leading to a somewhat less attractive street. Don’t be afraid to go down it. On the other side of a beautiful fence, you’ll find a relaxation spot for students of the Teacher Training College hidden there – with a fountain, benches, and recliners by the architects Burian and Křivinka. Under the pergola, there may be students playing on the piano, so don’t be shy, listen and savor this pleasant moment.

the banks of the Loučná River

/ artists take on a children’s playground

Flowing through Litomyšl, the Loučná River’s used to be the city’s natural boundary; later it was actually part of the city fortifications. This time is remembered only in the current name of the street, Vodní valy (“The River Embankments”). The concrete corridor of a throughway severed the former romantic park in two during former times, which featured a distinct lack of respect, and only recently have the banks again become a place for pleasant relaxation.

L.A.M.

/ Litomyšl Architecture Manual

Really, we haven’t even remotely come close to naming all that Litomyšl offers to delight architect lovers. We didn’t even list all that can be seen directly in the historic center – what about the Laundry Rinse, the 2ar(t) zen gardens, and the smallest public park, 1ar(t)?

Litomyšl is certainly deserving of an entire architectural guide. This enormous project was organized by Litomyšl’s Town Gallery. They have assembled impeccable documentation; you can listen to a description of the project while walking through the town and even set out directly on a number of suggested tourist routes.

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