Libušín chalet reopens to public six years after being destroyed by fire
The reconstruction of Libušín, a historical chalet in the Beskydy Mountains in the east of the country, has been finally completed. The famous Art Nouveau Folk building was almost completely destroyed by fire in March 2014 and the restoration of the national heritage site cost over 117 million crowns.
The set of historical chalets, including Libušín and Maměnka, which opened at Pustevny in 1899, have become a symbol of the Beskydy Mountains.
They were designed by the famous Slovak architect Dušan Jurkovič, whose work was always strongly tied to folk art and feature frescoes and sgraffiti by Czech painter Mikoláš Aleš.
The reconstructed chalet, named after the mythical Princess Libuše, served as a dining room and is said to be one of the most valuable works by Dušan Jurkovič.
The fire, caused by negligence during repair works on the chimney, broke out in Libušín in March 2014 and destroyed around 80 percent of the building.
Jindřich Ondruš, director of the Open Air Museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, which administers the building, says the reconstruction effort aimed to preserve as many of the original features as possible.
“We started by studying all the materials available and after careful consideration we decided to return to the year 1925. So the colours are slightly different from what they were before the fire, and according to experts, they are faithful to the original design by Dušan Jurkovič.
“We also installed new fire technologies, so the chalet is now equipped with three automatic self-extinguishing systems. And there is now barrier-free access, so Libušín is finally open also to wheelchair users.”
The nearly one thousand cubic metres of timber necessary for the construction of the new Libušín was donated by the state-owned forestry firm Lesy ČR.
“One of our conditions was that the timber comes from a height of at least 600 metres above sea level, because it is thicker and more resistant, so most of the spruce and fir trees were felled nearby. What is interesting is that most of these trees started growing when the original Libušín was built.
“We also tried to use as many traditional techniques as possible. The trees were felled in November and December after a full moon, when the sap flow is said to be at a minimum, and the timber is least susceptible to decay. And it was chiselled and smoothed by hand.”
The complete cost of the reconstruction of the Libušín chalet was 117.5 million crowns. Nearly 11 million crowns were raised in a public collection. The building will first open its doors to the public on Thursday afternoon.
“For about a month, people will be able to take guided tours of Libušín. In mid-September, we want to launch a trial operation and from the beginning of October at the latest, the building should be fully open, including the restaurant and other facilities.”