Holašovice Historic Village
Holašovice Historic Village
Cultural Czechia Europe And North America South Bohemian Region

Holašovice is an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a traditional central European village. It has a large number of outstanding 18th- and 19th-century vernacular buildings in a style known as South Bohemian Folk Baroque, and preserves a ground plan dating from the Middle Ages.

The settlement was not founded until the period of large-scale colonization of the border regions of Bohemia in the first half of the 13th century. The first written record is in a 1292 document of Wenceslas II, who gave the village, along with several others, to the Cistercian Monastery at VyšsíBrod, which retained possession until 1848. Until the beginning of the 16th century the area was settled by Czechs, but the plague that ravaged Bohemia in 1521 left only two inhabitants alive. The Cistercians brought in settlers from other possessions of the order in Bavaria and Austria: all the family names listed in a monastic record of 1524-30 were German. There followed a period of prosperity that came to an end with the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), but the village quickly recovered.

The population remained predominantly German until the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918. By the time the ethnic Germans were expelled at the end of the Second World War Czechs remained in a minority. The Definitive Cadaster of 1827 reveals that all the farmsteads (with the exception of the barns) in 'Holschowitz' were of masonry, not timber-framed, as was the case in most of the villages of Bohemia at that time. Between 1840 and 1880 there was considerable rebuilding in the villages of North Bohemia, and later in South Bohemia, and the style adopted, known as 'Folk Baroque', is characteristic of this region.

Holašovice is situated in the heart of South Bohemia, 15 km west of ČeskéBudějovice and 18 km north of ČeskýKrumlov. The village consists at the present time of 120 buildings arranged round an elongated village square, with a small chapel and cross on it, and some more recent buildings on the outskirts. The historical reservation consists of the original village as surveyed in the Definitive Cadaster, which includes 23 farmsteads that are protected architectural monuments, along with their attached farm buildings (barns, stables, etc.) and gardens or tofts. The farmsteads are all built with their gable-ends facing the square. Among the others, Farmstead No. 8 is the largest in the village. The main farmhouse is a modest chamber-type structure with two rooms, and this adjoins a long cowhouse, divided into two vaulted rooms;this wing is dated on the facade to 1861. To the right of the entrance is a massive three-storey granary, the present form of which probably dates from the mid-19th century. The courtyard is closed at the rear by a spacious stone barn, built towards the end of the 19th century to replace an earlier timber structure.

In a number of cases granaries and barns were converted in the years preceding and following the Second World War into retirement dwellings;this process involved substantial reconstruction. In addition to the farmsteads there are several farm labourers' cottages that are much smaller and simpler in design. The village smithy and the smith's house are located in the middle of the village square. A facility of this kind is known to have existed in Holašovice since the beginning of the 18th century. It was originally located on the west side of the square, but was moved to its present position in 1885. Both buildings are single-storey structures with saddle roofs, and the smithy has a characteristic arched opening on the square (now closed, since it has been converted for residential use). The other architectural feature in the village square is the small Chapel of St John of Nepomuk. This is a slender structure with a tall bell-shaped front. The rectangular interior is vaulted, with two lunettes closing it. The chapel has a saddle roof hipped at one end and with a four-pillar lantern spire containing a bell in its centre. It appears to date from the mid-18th century.