Exhibition aims to raise funds for destroyed heritage site

Pustevny, photo: Jakub Hritz, CRo

A travelling exhibition “Kdo postavil Libušín” (Who built Libušín) has just opened in the town of Valašské Meziříčí. One of its aims is to support the restoration of historical chalet in the Beskydy Mountains in the east of the country, which was seriously damaged by fire this March. The reconstruction of the national heritage site is expected to cost some 80 million crowns.

Pustevny,  photo: Jakub Hritz,  CRo
Libušín and Maměnka belong to the set of the most famous Art Nouveau Folk buildings which have become the symbol of Pustevny in the Beskydy Mountains. The Open Air Museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, which is administering the buildings declared their effort to preserve as many of the original features as possible. Ethnographer Radek Hasalík of the Open Air Museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm:

“We discovered that several of the artistic details had been changed over the past decades, especially during the reconstruction of Libušín in the 1960s. Whatever the reason was, during the current reconstruction we will to try to respect the state of the building as it was one hundred years ago.“

The chalet, named after the mythical Princess Libuše, was opened at Pustevny in 1899. The interiors featured frescoes and sgraffiti designed by Czech painter Mikoláš Aleš and the buildings were designed by famous Slovak architect Dušan Jurkovič, whose work was always strongly tied to folk art. Experts say that Libušín belongs among his most valuable works. Radek Hasalík again:

“Jurkovič grabbed the offer made by the tourist association and between the years, 1897 and 1899, he built first the Maměnka building and then the Libušín dining room. He even lived there for about a year and a half, sleeping over at local shepherds’ huts. He contributed to the construction works with his own hands, especially to the interior and the furniture.”

Jindřich Ondruš
Immediately after the fire destroyed most of the site, the Open Air Museum announced a public collection to raise money for the reconstruction. The current exhibition is aimed at drawing public interest. Jindřich Ondruš is the head of the musem in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm.

“The exhibition will feature photos depicting the life of “pohorská jednota Radhošť”, which is the oldest Czech tourist association with a history of 130 years. It was this association that triggered the construction of Libušín, Maměnka and many other beautiful buildings in the Beskydy mountains. They were the ones who asked the architect Dušan Jurkovič to design the buildings.”

The exhibition “Kdo postavil Libušín“ will travel across the Czech Republic before making its last stop in the Czech Senate on December 5.