The pilot site of Usti nad Labem

Integrated tourism services

Pilot site: Integrated tourism offer in Hraničář Area

Statutory City of Ústí nad Labem identified a new location for the local Pilot Action to the City public space in front of the Hraničář multi-functional public hall building.

Context premises: the cultural and historical scenario of the Hraničář building area

The area in front of Hraničář is an historical street demarcated in 1888. It was named after a local important benefactor Anny Margarethe Dörfel as Margarethe Street (Margarethestrasse), crossing the main avenue of Ústí nad Labem. In the 1980s, it turned into an occasional parking area as part of massive and reckless demolition of historical buildings and their replacement by socialistic architecture. At that time, the street became a dead-end street.

 It was this very street where the demolition stopped and further historical buildings have been preserved, including the Hraničář cinema (in this respect, the City of Ústí nad Labem is one of the most affected cities in the Czech Republic.).

The street played an important role in the political history of the City. In the early 20th century, the first built was a “Community House”, as the headquarters of the local German Social Democrats in Bohemia, followed by “Community Halls” for societies and cultural events of the Social Democratic Party, i.e. the present Hraničář cinema.

Social democrats had a strong position in Ústí nad Labem, controlling the city for the whole period of time between the two World Wars and that is why in the 1930s Ústí nad Labem became a centre of anti-Nazi movement of some of Bohemian Germans.

Margarethe Street witnessed a number of public demonstrations against Nazism, for example, in 1936 participants of the biggest assembly of semi-military units of the Social Democratic Party (“Republic’s Defence” or in German “Republikanische Wehr”) gathered here and later, with arms in their hands, they helped the regular Czechoslovak army to defend the state borders against Nazis. In 1938, after the victory of the Nazi party in the local election, the same street witnessed violent attacks on the seat of social democrats. After occupation of the Czechoslovak borderlands by Germany, the Gestapo parked vehicles in Margarethe Street and imprisoned its political opponents in the Ústí social democrats’ seat.

The antifascist resistance movement may not be a popular topic in other EU countries anymore, but to us it continues to be a strong theme resonating even more this year, as 2018 is the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement.

Other demonstrations in Margarethe Street took place in 2014 during the fight of the civic society against malignity of the then local political representation taking the form of repression against the theatre company Činoherní studio. Hundreds of people came here to demonstrate their civic attitude, actively participating in revival of the neglected Hraničář building and its adaptation to a temporary seat of the theatre. The history of this street is thus closely connected with the history of the city and the Hraničář cinema building.

The project in collaboration with the Hraničář creative association

At present, the space in front of the Hraničář building is not properly used and correctly exploited as its public nature. There is no appropriate pavement, no urban furniture and it is not used as spaced opened to the citizenship, being used as an uncontrolled parking lot. Consequently, people transition is difficult and, moreover, the access to the Hraničář building from visitors of cultural events, projects and café is tough.

The Hraničář association proposed, with the name of "Interior in Exterior" project, the use and the management of the public area in front of the Hraničář building as an area where increase the cultural offer that the Hraničář association is implementing indoor, in order to build and improve the attractiveness for tourism, while promoting the historical identity.

The main attractive of the project will be a large-scale projection (“video-mapping”) on the whole area in front of the entrance to the Hraničář Public Hall. This will create a regular evening light show which will change over the months. Regularly, approximately bimonthly, an artist will be asked to prepare a “site-specific” projection for this area, dedicated to Ústí nad Labem main attractions. The project (named “TOP”) of Ústí nad Labem, becoming a theme for the video-mapping, will popularizes local excellences and superlatives, i.e. local personalities and sights of interest that the inhabitants of Ústí nad Labem can boast about and that will enhance the attractiveness of the City from the touristic point of view.

 They also include Jaroslav Foglar as a co-author of the “Czech most popular comic book” which is based on his novel Rychlé šípy, but also other outstanding persons connected with the history of the City, such as Richard Wagner who composed his opera Tannhäuser at the Střekov Castle, Karl May who wrote Christmas, one of his novels about Winnetou, in Ústí nad Labem or the native of this city Heinz Edelmann who made the famous film about the Beatles, Yellow Submarine. Local monuments will be also highlighted, such as the first Czech skyscraper, the largest water dam in Czechoslovakia between the two World Wars or the tallest statue of Dwarf in Europe, etc.

A proposal of cultural projects to be implemented in front of the Hraničář building:

The above-mentioned Video-mapping – every evening a “video-mapping” show will take place there; both Czech and foreign artists will be contacted; “video-mapping” is contemporary artistic means of expression using audio-visual projection.

Classical music in the street – concerts of classical and contemporary music played by rather small ensembles; frequency 4 times a year (May, June, July, September).

Summer in the Street and Indian Summer in the Street – the respective project will enable to enhance the quality and extend the offer of cultural contents of these existing projects the main purpose of which is to enliven the public space in front of the Hraničář building.

Moreover, the project will enable to improve comfort, extend the cultural offer and quality for other existing projects of the Hraničář Public Hall, such as the Family Festival, held every September; a participatory project, in cooperation with Goethe-Institute, Czech-German Cultural Spring, Europe-wide cultural project Museum Night, etc.

In “warm” months and depending on technical conditions, some of the existing projects of Hraničář, such as concerts, art and other workshops, performances, vinyl record exchange, etc., will be organised in front of the building, which will make this public space even more attractive.