The Moravian town of Příbor, the native town of Sigmund Freud, has been named Historic Town of the Year 2015. The prize, which comes with a one-million-crown cheque, honours towns and cities in the Czech Republic that have excelled in preserving and renewing their cultural and architectural heritage. Ruth Fraňková has more:
The town of Příbor is situated some 25 kilometres south of Ostrava and features 55 officially recognised historical sites, including the stunning gothic parish Church of Nativity of the Virgin Mary and the recently renovated Piarist College. Every year, thousands of people come to the town to visit the native house of its most famous son, the founder of modern psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, who was born there in 1856.
Příbor earned the title of Historic Town of The Year not only for the exemplary preservation of its monuments, but also for renewing local historical traditions and involving local people and associations.
Květa Vitvarová is the head of the Association of Historic Settlements in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia and a member of the award committee:
“Příbor has already completed the renovation of its town centre and they renewed a number of historical buildings and the Piarist College. This year, they also succeeded in reconstructing the Piarist garden. And although there is still a lot of work ahead of them, we wanted to honour them for what they have already achieved and motivate them to continue in the future.”
According to the deputy mayor of Příbor, Dana Forišková, the award money will be used for preservation projects:
“We would like to invest the money into the renewal of an organ in the Church of Saint Valentine, but of course it needs to be approved by the town’s councillors. We will also use the money for other projects, such as reconstruction of streets below the castle, so we will definitely make use of them.”
The Historic Town of the Year award is part of a Ministry of Culture program aimed at revitalizing historic monuments and historic city centres across the country. To date, it has funded the renovation of nearly 15,000 monuments.
The head of the Association of Historic Settlements Mrs Vitvarová says that apart from motivating cities and towns, the program also aims to stress the importance of protecting our cultural heritage:
“Among other things, we want to promote the fact that we have inherited historical monuments from our ancestors and it is our duty to preserve them for the future. Cultural tourism is a relatively new economic sector, which brings substantial amounts of money into state coffers and we would like some of those funds to go back into the preservation of the monuments.”
Last year, the program provided a total of 140 million crowns for preservation of historic sites and this year, it should bring over 170 million.
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