60 years since communist regime passed resolution to destroy historic city of Most

 The demolition of the old town of Most

On 26 March 1964, the Czechoslovak government decided to liquidate the old city of Most to make way for new coal mines and apartments to house the miners who would be working there. The demolition of the historic centre of the town lasted 23 years, finally finishing on 1 April 1987.

The history of Most – or Brüx, as it was known by its majority German-speaking population – dates back to the mid-13th century, when the settlement received the status of a royal city. In 1273, it received the privileges of Přemysl II, which included, for example, the right to imprison debtors.

Hněvín,  Most | Photo: Regional museum Most

In old photographs of Most dating back to before the demolition, you can see elaborately decorated townhouses, an art nouveau theatre, Gothic churches, a town hall, and a local brewery dating back to 1470. But with Resolution No. 180, passed by the Czechoslovak government on 26 March 1964, all that had to make way for the mining of millions of tons of brown coal. The demolition of one of the country’s oldest cities took over two decades.

From an economic perspective, the liquidation paid off – coal mining in Most allegedly yielded a profit of three billion Czechoslovak crowns. And it has to be said that the new arrivals to the town, the miners, were very happy to move into new apartments with bathrooms, hot running water and central heating.

Towering over the city, Hněvín Castle is one of the few old buildings still standing in Most today – although it is actually a replica built at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. However, some new attractions have been created since mining ended in the area. One of these is Lake Most, a huge artificial lake – the second largest in the country – used for sports and recreation, as well as cultural events and concerts, that attracts people from all over the region. Thus, Most is nowadays seen as an example of how a landscape destroyed by coal mining can be successfully revitalised and transformed into a picturesque recreational area.